ACCA - The global body for professional accountants

Joint letter urges iXBRL deadline deferral

Six accountancy bodies have written to David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to express their concern about the forthcoming mandatory requirement that all UK companies should submit statutory accounts to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in iXBRL format.

ACCA, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (Tax Faculty) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) are concerned about HMRC's proposals for the 'transition' arrangements, which come into effect on 1 April 2011, and the fact that there are ongoing software problems.

'It's significant that the major professional bodies have come together to put the case for a deferral,' said Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA head of taxation.

'We are all recommending that plans for filing are revised to recognise the adverse impact of delays in software availability and implementation problems.'

The joint letter says that these two critical issues will 'disadvantage a substantial proportion of UK businesses, with small to medium-sized businesses and their agents being hit the hardest'.

Roy-Chowdhury added that all the organisations are keen to work with HMRC on online filing, hoping that the letter will have an impact and that action will be taken.

'HMRC should take swift action to advise taxpayers and agents of refinements to the implementation plan, and should issue clear guidance on how the current problems arising from non-delivery or late delivery of software are being addressed,' he said.

'If HMRC continues with its 1 April deadline, it will impose a significant business cost on a large number of firms that will dilute, if not destroy, the message that iXBRL should be a positive long-term step for UK businesses.'