Last week at the Digita annual conference in Coventry, HM Revenue & Customs officials confirmed that the department is planning to launch its own online Corporate Tax filing system this autumn; a service specifically designed for self-employed individuals and smaller companies across the UK.

The motivation behind the planned system appears to be largely due to the tendency of many smaller, unrepresented companies and individuals to do their own accounts rather than using agents. Simultaneous to the launch of the online filing system, HMRC will also provide a new validation service, which will enable accounts to be filed using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), an electronic language which is becoming the world standard for handling business and financial data.

With the confirmation of these new initiatives HMRC continues to move steadily forward in direction of the milestones laid down by Lord Carter’s review of the online services arm of HMRC. Present plans include the mandatory online submission of in-year PAYE documents for companies with more than 50 employees – to be effective this month – and from 1st April 2010 the department intends to phase out hard-copy VAT returns for new businesses as well as all VAT-registered businesses with a turnover greater than £100,000.

HMRC officials attending the Digita annual conference also said that work on the HMRC web portal would continue with a complete re-vamp of the site, which is thought to improve the information flow both ways, also to be introduced this autumn.

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