Bob Dylan told us so back in the 1960’s. What was true then is certainly true now and in the coming months.
Here at MAS Associates we have seen a few changes over the last year. Our new website is finally active, having lay dormant for too long. We have two new staff members who have joined us this year. Michelle officially joined us at the beginning of January, following a three-month temporary assignment. She is responsible for payroll, bookkeeping and VAT returns. Alyssia also joined us in January as Administrator. She’s usually the person you will hear answering the telephone and, amongst other things, will be responsible for ensuring clients meet their filing deadlines – or at last giving them plenty of reminders!
Over the next few months we’ll tell you more about our staff, as well as keeping you up-to-date on significant changes in accountancy, tax and other areas that may affect your business.
From 25th May this year the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the UK. This will give people more control over personal data that is held about them and also aims to have identical data protection law throughout the single market (I know, only we can vote to leave the EU and then bring in EU regulations!). Under the new legislation Data Controllers must ensure personal data is processed lawfully, transparently, and for a specific purpose. Data should be deleted when it is no longer required, or when the purpose it was obtained for is complete. There are requirements to obtain consent from individuals to use their data, and Data Controllers must record how and when this consent was obtained. People have the right to access their data, correct any errors, and also have the data removed – the ‘right to be forgotten’. Any breaches of security have to be reported to the Data Protection Authority within 72 hours of becoming aware, where peoples’ rights are at risk. The individuals should also be notified. More information can be found on the Information Commissioners Office website at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/. Organisations should review their data protection policy and data security systems, including file encryption, as there can be significant fines for non-compliance.
Another significant change on the horizon will affect all VAT registered businesses that are above the VAT threshold. From April 2019 ‘Making Tax Digital’ will start to apply. We will cover this in more detail in a future post; but for now, from that date VAT returns will need to be submitted electronically to HMRC. In addition, the records from which they are prepared will need to be digital records. Where more than one system is used, these will need to link together via an Application Programming Interface (API). So, no more preparing invoices in excel or word and keying in your VAT return via the HMRC website.
And, of course, from March 2019 we will be leaving the EU and the single market. Whilst many see this as a major disaster, others will see it as a great opportunity. It waits to be seen how this will impact on tax legislation and reporting requirements.
We will keep you informed of significant developments along the way. If you don’t do so already, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and/or Linkedin to be kept up-to-date. You can also subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to ensure you get the latest information.