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Last week Thomas Westcott delivered a series of eight seminars at venues through the South West on Making Tax Digital (MTD). During that week the government announced that, due to the general election, a slimmed down version of the Finance Bill was to be debated for one day in parliament and became enacted as the Finance Act 2017 on Thursday 27th April.

Part of the slimming down was to remove the clauses relating to MTD.  This lead to some speculation that MTD was being dropped altogether or that at least significant changes, such as the removal of periodic returns was to take place.

It is worth noting that Jane Ellison MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, stated the following during the opening of the Finance Bill debate on 25 April 2017: 

 

“The Bill is progressing on the basis of consensus and therefore, at the request of the Opposition, we are not proceeding with a number of clauses. However, there has been no policy change. These provisions will make a significant contribution to the public finances, and the Government will legislate for the remaining provisions at the earliest opportunity, at the start of the new Parliament. The Government remain committed to the digital future of the tax system, a principle widely accepted on both sides of the House. We recognise the need for the House to consider such measures properly, as called for by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Mr Tyrie) and his Treasury Committee. That is why we have decided to pursue those measures in a Finance Bill in the next Parliament, in the light of the pressures on time that currently apply.”

 

Whilst there may be changes to the Finance Bill as originally drafted this statement makes it clear that the next government (of whatever colour) are likely to proceed with the implementation of MTD.  We will of course keep you informed with progress on MTD as more information becomes available.

In the meantime copies of the seminar slides and FAQ's raised on MTD at the seminars have been published here on our website.