The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling on the government to delay Making Tax Digital (MTD) until 2020, following a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub Committee.

MTD is scheduled to change the way retailers submit their VAT return from April 2019, requiring them to keep their VAT records digitally and use software to submit returns. The policy reforms aim to reduce the tax gap and help businesses have a more accurate overview of their tax affairs.

ACS is calling for the introduction to be delayed by a year until 2020 to allow businesses more time to prepare for the reforms and MTD for other taxes to be delayed until 2022.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We support the view of the Economic Affairs Committee that the government should delay the implementation of Making Tax Digital for another 12 months to give retailers more time to prepare for the change. HMRC have not allocated enough time to learn from their pilot programme and awareness among small business owners is low.”

The committee report highlighted evidence from ACS raising concerns on the lateness of the pilot process for retailers, scepticism about HMRC’s cost assessments of the policy and evidence that MTD will cause higher agency costs for retailers.

ACS has produced guidance for retailers to help them prepare for submitting quarterly tax updates under MTD. The guide is available here.