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IRIS Software is today announcing a market first with the availability of its IRIS Accountancy Suite Spring 2017 Release which brings Making Tax Digital (MTD) functionality to accountants using practice-based compliance software.

With the first mandate looming in April 2018, IRIS has included a number of functional enhancements enabling accountancy professionals to keep ahead of the latest legislative changes. The new release also delivers a number of productivity and efficiency gains across the complete suite.

The new Client Dashboards in IRIS OpenPortal show the clients’ digital tax account data currently available to agents, enabling them to see the information held in IRIS compared to that currently held by HMRC. The new functionality will go live when HMRC’s API is complete, which is expected over the next few weeks.

Sion Lewis, CEO Accountancy Division at IRIS Software, explains, “The new MTD widgets will give accountants direct access to HMRC’s Digital Tax Account system, enabling them to interrogate the data and spot any potentially erroneous information before submissions are made. The pre-population of data will also increase efficiency during the personal tax process, which in turn will free up time which can be spent adding value through high level advisory services.  Accountants have been requesting this information from HMRC since it was removed from the Electronic Lodgement Service in 1999.

“Offering this service twelve months ahead of the April 2018 mandate for businesses with turnover in excess of the VAT threshold, will also enable accountants to become accustomed with the MTD functionality. With approximately 3.1 million small businesses falling beneath this threshold, it’s vital accountants are familiar with these systems as early as possible, rather than undertaking training once MTD becomes mandatory for the entire client-base.”

Other new functionality includes IRIS Personal Tax enhancements, which allows the pre-population of client data via the Digital Tax Account, further streamlining the tax return process for accountants. This pre-populated information will include: employment records and benefits; earnings; other income sources; tax refunded or set-off by the tax office; marriage allowance and class 2 NIC, which is all the information HMRC has made available at this time. For the simplest of tax cases this makes up 80 per cent of the details required and pre-population will significantly reduce the time required to complete the return.

Sion Lewis continues, “With so few business professionals aware of the upcoming legislative changes, it is vital accountants begin educating their clients and position themselves as indispensable financial advisors to UK businesses to support their digital journey. This new functionality is the first step on this journey.

“Providing the right tools for accountants to service their clients and ensure they meet financial deadlines is why we exist. This is why IRIS is committed to building on this functionality and ensuring IRIS Accountancy Suite is fully MTD compliant by October this year, six months ahead of the initial mandate. This will enable UK accountants to ease the strain of MTD and fully prepare their clients’ accounts well in advance of the first deadline.”