Digital VAT and the Bar

From April 2019, the first part of the government’s Making Tax Digital (“MTD”) initiative will be rolled out.This means that all businesses above the VAT threshold of £85,000 will need to file VAT returns online using HMRC compatible software.

How we can help

We’re already preparing and filing quarterly VAT returns for a number of our barrister clients. If you’re part of that group, you don’t need to do anything at all. We will make sure that, when the time comes, you’re fully compliant without any changes to your current routine.

For the rest, who handle their quarterly VAT work themselves (often with assistance from chambers), the way in which your file your returns must change.

We’re offering our clients two different solutions:

The Intermediary service

We’re enthusiastic advocates for cloud accounting software. But we recognise that dedicated software isn’t always suitable for barristers.

Because chambers maintains an accurate record of your income, your brief is solely to keep track of your expenses. On this front, our clients tell us that the flexibility of a simple spreadsheet suits their needs best.

We don’t disagree – and we don’t think you should have to change your practices now.

The government have confirmed that spreadsheets can continue to play a role in your bookkeeping, but they must be used in conjunction with compatible software.

We’ve been working with Xero – a leader in cloud accounting and one of the HMRC-approved providers – for years. We’ll use Xero to submit your figures, in digital format, to HMRC. We’re also working with specialist Excel designers to develop spreadsheets that integrate directly with Xero.

Send us your quarterly reports from chambers, fill out our expenses spreadsheet, and we’ll take care of the rest.

The cost to you is either £24+VAT per month or £240+VAT per annum.

The Full Bookkeeping service

Some of our barrister clients tell us that bookkeeping is an unwelcome distraction from their work and personal time. And, as a result of these conversations, we’re taking on the bookkeeping burden for more and more clients.

The process is quite simple – the only documents we need to perform quarterly bookkeeping work is a combination of:

  1. Your bank statements;
  2. Reports from chambers;
  3. Invoices and/or receipts for your expenses.

All to be provided in a format that suits you – hard copy, email, or through a scanning app that we can provide.

We’ll do the rest.

It goes without saying that all of our bookkeeping clients will be compliant with MTD.

Because we’ll generate efficiencies for the annual work that we’re already performing for you, we can offer this additional service for a competitive fee. As usual, we don’t charge standard or fixed fees, as each of our clients receives a personalised service. However, if you’re interested in the full bookkeeping package, please let us know and we’ll give you a quote.