Which is the best option, online or desktop tax software?

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From April 2019 the way in which companies or their agents submit their VAT returns will change and they will need to have acquired an appropriate software option.

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Similar changes to the income tax system could be in place as early as April next year and so the roll-out of Making Tax Digital (MTD) is set to affect many aspects of your accounting and related systems.


How an organisation approaches the issue of MTD will probably depend on the level of technology they already use within the business. Some companies will be able to develop their own software, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, an organisation with little technological expertise may wish to look at a spreadsheet bridging software package.

Another alternative is to look for a reputable agent who has the technology in place for submissions to HMRC. If you are looking for accountants in Cheltenham and the surrounding counties you will find many options online at sites such as https://www.randall-payne.co.uk.

When choosing tax software, you will come across desktop versions which you can install on your own computer system and online versions. In either case, you will have to ensure that your software supplier is providing MTD compatible versions of the applications.

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The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) points out that given the changes in UK legislation in recent years and those planned in the future, it may be wise to choose an internet-based option which can easily connect with other digital services providing greater flexibility. There is also an element of future-proofing your system for impending changes in the taxation regime.

From a practical point of view, the online option means you do not have to worry about compatibility with your operating system or installation issues. You will also be able to access the programme on the move wherever you have an internet connection and with a range of devices. Updates are also introduced automatically, vital in the taxation world.

Online systems are also much more secure than your own network.

The Business Application Software Developers Association has created a guide to the appropriate software and changes which can be referenced at the ICAEW website along with information and guidance on the issue.

Either option may be suitable, so carry out research.

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