[GNC-dev] Gnucash and the UK's "Making Tax Digital" initiative

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[GNC-dev] Gnucash and the UK's "Making Tax Digital" initiative

Graham Leggett
Hi all,

I just learned with some shock that the UK wants to force SMEs to submit VAT returns “via external software packages” by 1 April 2019, and presents a list of some 150 packages to choose from. If you’re lucky enough to already be using one of those packages, great. If you’re not, you’re facing some disruption.

Gnucash is not on the list (that I could see).

We are not in a position to re-engineer our accounts, but we are in a position to submit patches to Gnucash.

This email is exploratory - is anyone on the gnucash dev list interested in the UK “Making Tax Digital” initiative, with the aim of getting Gnucash “on the list” of approved software? Has anyone done any work in this area?

I am still looking for concrete information on the protocols being used, if anyone has information on that it would be useful too.

Regards,
Graham


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Re: [GNC-dev] Gnucash and the UK's "Making Tax Digital" initiative

Geert Janssens-4
Op dinsdag 20 november 2018 00:30:55 CET schreef Graham Leggett:

> Hi all,
>
> I just learned with some shock that the UK wants to force SMEs to submit VAT
> returns “via external software packages” by 1 April 2019, and presents a
> list of some 150 packages to choose from. If you’re lucky enough to already
> be using one of those packages, great. If you’re not, you’re facing some
> disruption.
>
> Gnucash is not on the list (that I could see).
>
> We are not in a position to re-engineer our accounts, but we are in a
> position to submit patches to Gnucash.
>
> This email is exploratory - is anyone on the gnucash dev list interested in
> the UK “Making Tax Digital” initiative, with the aim of getting Gnucash “on
> the list” of approved software? Has anyone done any work in this area?
>
> I am still looking for concrete information on the protocols being used, if
> anyone has information on that it would be useful too.

Hi Graham,

The topic has come up a few times in the past. But as far as I know noone is
currently working on this.

You are certainly welcome to send in patches. However I seem to remember from
past discussions GnuCash stands a very small chance of getting accepted as
it's sources are freely available. That means everybody could build their own
version of gnucash with possibly important details altered. And it's not clear
how to handle this or whether the government will accept this.

So perhaps the first step is to figure out whether the effort is worth
pursuing by researching the restrictions.

If it turns out there is a practical way to support UK's digital VAT system
from within GnuCash I'll gladly accept good patches to implement them on
condition the author is also willing to support this feature long-term.

Best of luck,

Geert


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Re: [GNC-dev] Gnucash and the UK's "Making Tax Digital" initiative

David Cousens
In reply to this post by Graham Leggett
Graham,

From some discussion on various online sources the HMRC appears to have backed down considerably on some of their
initially ridiculous requirements
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-70022-making-tax-digital-for-vat/vat-notice-70022-making-tax-digital-for-vat
. It would appear that at its simplest if you had a submission platform based on their API (
https://developer.service.hmrc.gov.uk/api-documentation/docs/api/service/vat-api/1.0) which meets the requiremnets for
identifying and authorisation of access and you could "digitally" transfer data from GnuCash to that software e.g. in
the form of a JSON and/or XML nd/or CSV file exported by GnuCash which could be imported directly to that software, with
the required VAT information then that would satisfy the legal requirements. You presumably would be required to keep a
copy of this data file as part of your records. From their website, if you were using a tax agent to submit your returns
and supplied data in such a form to the tax agent who then imported it into his submission software, then that would
meet the requirements. The access program would have to meet all the authorisation requirements. These are discussed
more fully on https://developer.service.hmrc.gov.uk/api-documentation/docs/using-the-hub. There are other API's for a
variety of other tax submissions e.g. income tax etc also documented and these will also have to be digitally submitted
in the future.  The target is clearly a moving one but appears to have become a bit better defined with time. The
information on the site is complex and not that easily navigable but does make some sense.

David Cousens

On Tue, 2018-11-20 at 01:30 +0200, Graham Leggett wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I just learned with some shock that the UK wants to force SMEs to submit VAT returns “via external software packages”
> by 1 April 2019, and presents a list of some 150 packages to choose from. If you’re lucky enough to already be using
> one of those packages, great. If you’re not, you’re facing some disruption.
>
> Gnucash is not on the list (that I could see).
>
> We are not in a position to re-engineer our accounts, but we are in a position to submit patches to Gnucash.
>
> This email is exploratory - is anyone on the gnucash dev list interested in the UK “Making Tax Digital” initiative,
> with the aim of getting Gnucash “on the list” of approved software? Has anyone done any work in this area?
>
> I am still looking for concrete information on the protocols being used, if anyone has information on that it would be
> useful too.
>
> Regards,
> Graham
> —
>
> _______________________________________________
> gnucash-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-devel

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David Cousens
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Re: [GNC-dev] Gnucash and the UK's "Making Tax Digital" initiative

chazzo
In reply to this post by Graham Leggett
I'm not an accountant, a developer or even a current GnuCash user, but I can
add a bit here. As I understand things, it would be trivial to make GnuCash
work with Making Tax Digital under the current plans. Harder, but really
worthwhile, would be to get HMRC to accept open-source software.

Geert Janssens-4 said open source is a barrier to acceptance. That was the
case in France until recently, but I believe the French tax authorities have
now bowed to pressure to allow open source software for VAT submissions. I
think what will happen is that if you get audited they will audit your
software too. If you're found to have forked it unofficially, I guess you
get busted for that as well as for whatever figures you might have fiddled.

HMRC previously said free solutions would be available, and the House of
Lords is leaning on them to make good on that promise. Well, technically
there are free solutions -- I'm looking at Wave plus VitalTax to do the
actual submission -- but there is no open source. With hundreds of thousands
of UK micro-businesses moaning that they will have to pay monthly
subscriptions for new software, there should be a big opportunity for
GnuCash if that's what you are after.

A Belfast company called  Flax & Teal <http://flaxandteal.co.uk>   uses
GnuCash and is shouting at HMRC. They might be a good starting point if
anyone here wants to take it further.

Really irritating is the fact that all the HMRC-approved software has to do
is put data into the same nine boxes that are on the existing VAT portal. I
heard that originally HMRC planned to ask for details of each VAT
transaction, which makes sense for fighting fraud (I guess you could follow
VAT payments along the chain from one company to the next). But they’ve
abandoned this, so the amount of data transmitted is really trivial.

I've spoken with developers of the database manager FileMaker Pro, and
although it's beyond my skills I am sure the necessary authentication is
really easy if you understand OAuth. You can sign up with HMRC for a
developer account and their documentation looks pretty good.



--
Sent from: http://gnucash.1415818.n4.nabble.com/GnuCash-Dev-f1435356.html
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Re: [GNC-dev] Gnucash and the UK's "Making Tax Digital" initiative

Christopher Lam
In reply to this post by Geert Janssens-4
Hi All

I have reviewed one of pre-gnucash accounting software which I tried 10-15
years ago. VT Cashbook is free, uses double-entry internally, and is a good
solution for UK-based small traders who do not need accruals.

http://www.vtsoftware.co.uk/mtd/index.htm

A VAT return using sample data (sales = 300 + 20 VAT; purchases = 150+30
VAT) produces the following snippet.
[image: image.png]

So, gnucash may be used to store data, and the "Income&GST Statement"
report to produce numbers, which are then sent to tax office by the
bridging software. A small list of such software is maintained in the link
above. These numbers can be produced using "Income & GST Statement" as long
as the accounts are set up correctly. That's all it takes for the technical
aspects to work.

Chris

On Tue, 20 Nov 2018 at 16:52, Geert Janssens <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Op dinsdag 20 november 2018 00:30:55 CET schreef Graham Leggett:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I just learned with some shock that the UK wants to force SMEs to submit
> VAT
> > returns “via external software packages” by 1 April 2019, and presents a
> > list of some 150 packages to choose from. If you’re lucky enough to
> already
> > be using one of those packages, great. If you’re not, you’re facing some
> > disruption.
> >
> > Gnucash is not on the list (that I could see).
> >
> > We are not in a position to re-engineer our accounts, but we are in a
> > position to submit patches to Gnucash.
> >
> > This email is exploratory - is anyone on the gnucash dev list interested
> in
> > the UK “Making Tax Digital” initiative, with the aim of getting Gnucash
> “on
> > the list” of approved software? Has anyone done any work in this area?
> >
> > I am still looking for concrete information on the protocols being used,
> if
> > anyone has information on that it would be useful too.
>
> Hi Graham,
>
> The topic has come up a few times in the past. But as far as I know noone
> is
> currently working on this.
>
> You are certainly welcome to send in patches. However I seem to remember
> from
> past discussions GnuCash stands a very small chance of getting accepted as
> it's sources are freely available. That means everybody could build their
> own
> version of gnucash with possibly important details altered. And it's not
> clear
> how to handle this or whether the government will accept this.
>
> So perhaps the first step is to figure out whether the effort is worth
> pursuing by researching the restrictions.
>
> If it turns out there is a practical way to support UK's digital VAT
> system
> from within GnuCash I'll gladly accept good patches to implement them on
> condition the author is also willing to support this feature long-term.
>
> Best of luck,
>
> Geert
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> gnucash-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-devel
>

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