Online only, so far

Will Making Tax Digital affect you?

MAKING Tax Digital (MTD) is coming. From 5 April 2019 (the start of the new tax year,) businesses with a turnover of £85,000 or more - the threshold at which a business has to charge VAT - will have to send in quarterly tax returns online under this HMRC scheme.

Most sole-trader self-employed freelance journalists, however, are unaffected. Unfortunately, an increasingly small number of us turn over anything like £85,000. If you client have "asked" you to become a limited company for the purposes of working for them, or if you charge VAT, you may need to become part of Making Tax Digital. If you are in any doubt, seek the advice of your accountant if you have one - or contact your tax office.

It may still be possible if you qualify for mandatory Making Tax Digital, to get a deferment of having to start filing quarterly digital tax returns until October 31 this year.

The Freelance is looking into MTD in more detail and will report back on anything we learn.

Advice on Making Tax Digital is included in a forthcoming tax seminar by accountants HW Fisher, which if FREE to NUJ members. It's on 8 May in London. To book a place, see here.

HW Fisher's specialist Authors and Journalist Team also runs the free tax helpline for NUJ members on 020 7874 7875 and offers free one-hour face-to-face consultations.

MTD for absolutely everybody who is self-employed has been seen off, for now. But universal MTD has only been postponed, it might be worth getting your head round keeping quarterly accounts online now, in preparation for the eventuality of it being imposed on all of us some time soon.

Type "Making Tax Digital" into a search engine and a deluge of apps and software to help you do it, photographing and filing your receipts on your phone and all the rest of it, will come up. The Freelance is not qualified at this time to recommend any product in particular.