The Government has been urged to take ‘primary responsibility’ for Making Tax Digital (MTD) in terms of raising awareness of potential cyber-crime and assisting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with clearer compliance information.
The comments come from the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) amidst fears that making MTD mandatory from April 2018 will cause a catalogue of financial and administrative complications for smaller firms.
Earlier this month, Mike Cherry, policy director at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), warned that MTD was “creating a perfect storm” for SMEs. He suggested that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) should consider “a revised deadline of 2025” for the game-changing MTD project.
Now, the ATT has raised further concerns that HMRC’s speedy approach to MTD will throw smaller firms into unfamiliar territory too quickly – and leave many vulnerable to cyber-crime threats.
Yvette Nunn, Co-chair of ATT’s Technical Steering Group, said: “There are real practical concerns about the security risks and the potential for businesses becoming victims of cyber-crime.
“If taxpayers who are running businesses have to use their phones or laptops to keep details of all their business transactions, there is a major risk of data being accessed maliciously.
“Our experience suggests that many businesses are not sufficiently cyber-savvy. They are unprepared for having to keep their data safe in a digital world.
“Forcing people down the digital route when they are unprepared for it could be putting them at the highest risk of being targeted by cyber-crime and fraud.
“We believe that if HMRC is taking away the element of choice from a taxpayer over how they keep their business records and whether they engage digitally with HMRC, it needs to take the primary responsibility for educating taxpayers on cyber security.”