Digital Tax Returns

Tax is going mobile. The Government has announced the death of the traditional tax return, with a massive digitisation initiative that will see tax information updated and available in real time. David Gauke MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

“By early 2016 five million small businesses and ten million individuals will have access to their own digital tax account, and by the end of the next Parliament every individual and small business in the UK will have one. The digital accounts will be simple, secure, personalised to the taxpayer — and accessible through the digital device of their choice. As time goes on, they will offer more and more services.”

For accountancy practices the key phrase here is ‘digital devices’, as the Government realises that business is now transacted on the move using smartphones and tablets. The digitisation of the tax system will transform how millions of businesses manage their tax affairs, and also has a profound impact on the relationship they have with the accountancy firm that handles their tax returns.

Over the next five years the need for an annual tax return will disappear. Personalised access to tax records will move online to offer secure access to digital tax accounts. The digital tax account will show PAYE taxpayers how much tax they will pay via their employer. Even those with complex tax affairs will be able to tell HMRC about additional income online and have it reflected in their digital tax account.

The complexity of the current tax system has been consistently highlighted, with 700,000 people missing last year’s deadline to submit their tax returns. As businesses and individuals have increasingly embraced the speed and convenience of mobile banking, extending this to their tax affairs is the logical next step. For accountancy practices this means a new era where tax affairs are managed as an integrated component of a business’ financial affairs.

Five million small businesses and the first ten million individuals will have access to a secure, personalised digital tax account by 2016.

Tax returns and the App economy

For decades the desktop accountancy program reined supreme. Then in 2007 Apple released the first iPhone, creating a platform for Apps, which have since gone on to become the cornerstone of how businesses are run today. Apps dominate how business owners access information. Nearly 90 per cent of smartphone users prefer to use Apps rather than the mobile web – a propensity that all accountancy practices can support and leverage.

There is then a perfect storm that all accountancy firms need to pay close attention to. The dawn of digital personalised tax management is here. Couple this with the massive flexibility that Apps deliver to business users, all accountancy firms need to support their clients with an App strategy.

Apps continue to dominate the mobile web.

For accountancy firms, an App created by My Firms App specifically for their business offers ten formidable advantages:

  1. The only App that has passed financial compliance checks.

  2. Endorsed and recommended by financial institutions.

  3. Creates closer working relationships with clients.

  4. Develops mobile services tailored to specific business partners.

  5. Powerful services that use the native features of the smartphone or tablet.

  6. A new ‘always on’ communications channel.

  7. Differentiate from competitors.

  8. Support the new digital tax returns today via powerful App features.

  9. Offers accountancy practice’s expertise at their clients’ fingertips.

  10. Join the App economy and become a technology leader.

As the Government moves to paperless accounting and tax management, this is the perfect time for all accountancy practices to connect to their clients with an App.

The App economy is firmly established. As digital tax returns and the wider tax affairs of businesses and individuals become more digitised, only those accountancy practices that have created an App to connect these new services to their clients will thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


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