ONE quarter of companies in Scotland believe a UK Government digital tax scheme will not be beneficial to their business, according to research by KPMG.

Two-thirds of Scottish firms approve of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, which is designed to make the process of managing taxes easier and more efficient, but said they require more support ahead of an April 1 VAT deadline.

From that date, most VAT-registered businesses above the threshold of £85,000 will have to keep digital records and submit VAT returns using compatible software. Other firms with more complex needs are deferred to October 1.

After a soft-landing period of a year, further requirements for digital links throughout the VAT return process, or a digital audit trail, will be required until the deadline of March 31, 2020.

The KPMG survey asked 1000 businesses, including 100 in Scotland, about their attitude to MTD and the VAT deadline.

In Scotland, 63% said it is a good idea but that they need more support and 24% said that it offers their business no benefit.

Only 11% were supportive and ready for the deadline, with 2% reporting that it would be damaging to their company.

Alan Turner, head of tax for KPMG in Scotland, said: “With just over a month to go until the deadline, it is worrying to see almost two-thirds of businesses believe they need more support and are still in the process of working out what they need to do. This could potentially be costly and time-consuming, depending on the changes needed.

“Although 98% of VAT registered businesses already file VAT-returns electronically, MTD will involve significant changes to existing processes. For example, keeping digital records, maintaining a digital audit trail of all business transactions, and implementing new software to submit their VAT returns digitally.

“Once businesses have made those changes, then they also need to think about the flexibility of their systems and processes to meet potential future requirements under MTD. HMRC are seeking to become the most digitally advanced tax administration in the world. We are likely to see provisions for income tax and corporation tax further down the line.”