What is MTD for Income Tax
From April 2026, MTD for ITSA will apply to sole trade businesses and landlords with a total business or property income above £50,000 per year. Sole traders and landlords earning above £30,000 will follow in April 2027.
This will mean a change to the way your clients manage their tax obligations with HMRC.
Requirements of MTD for ITSA
MTD for ITSA was due to start in 2024 but was delayed to 2026. Under MTD for Income Tax, sole trade businesses and landlords will need to keep and maintain digital records and use MTD compatible software to manage, track and send updates to HMRC. Sole traders and landlords earning above £50,000 will need to comply with MTD for ITSA rules from April 2026. Sole traders and landlords earning above £30,000 will follow in April 2027.
They'll be required to send HMRC quarterly summary updates of their business income and expenditure.
Before April 2026:
- 1 annual submission
- Paper filings by 31st Oct
- Online filings by 31st Jan
- Fine to keep paper records
After April 2026:
- 4 quarterly submissions per business
- 1 annual End of Period Statement per business
- 1 annual ‘Final Declaration’ submission per individual
- Filing via MTD-compliant software
- Keeping digital records
Preparing your clients for MTD for Income Tax
At Xero, we recognise that MTD for ITSA may feel like a big change to both your practice and your clients. Many of the businesses impacted by the change won’t be formally keeping records, and if they do, they’ll be kept only for the purpose of completing a Self Assessment tax return. Typically these will be your ‘shoe box’ clients who aren’t using MTD software today, either because you’re doing the record keeping for them, or because they’re unable to find software that meets their needs.
Having your clients on bookkeeping software, rather than paper or spreadsheets, will make quarterly reporting far more efficient. It will also ensure clients are compliant with digital record keeping requirements.
Exemption from MTD for Income Tax
Clients earning below £30,000 and general partnerships are yet to be mandated for MTD for Income Tax. For now, these business types are exempt – although we can expect this to change once the MTD for Income Tax roll out begins.
Exemptions also apply for sole traders and landlords who are digitally excluded. Clients can apply for digital exemption if:
- It’s not practical for them to use software for digital record keeping or submit updates to HMRC – this could be due to age, disability, location, or another reason
- They’re a practising member of a religion or order, and their beliefs prevent them from using electronic communications or keeping electronic records
HMRC will either confirm or deny your client’s exemption request. If it’s a no, your client will be able to appeal HMRC’s decision.
Note: the process for applying for a digital exemption from MTD for Income Tax is yet to be confirmed. We’ll keep you posted here when HMRC shares an update.
Xero and MTD for ITSA
At Xero, we’re building an MTD for ITSA solution which we are testing with select customers from April 2022, as part of HMRC’s pilot.
Whilst we don’t expect all of our partners to want to adopt early, we will have a fully tested end-to-end solution well ahead of the 2026 deadline so that those who do want to be ready ahead of the deadline can do so.
We also recognise that, as an accountant or bookkeeper, you may be searching for an efficient way to manage this increased volume of reporting under MTD. As such, we’ll be adding features to support collaborative ways of working and proactive management of obligations and deadlines for you and your clients.
Explore our MTD for ITSA resource hub
We’ve created a Making Tax Digital for Income Tax resource hub to help you and your clients prepare for the new legislation. Explore our expert guides, articles and FAQs outlining everything you need to know about MTD for ITSA, from quarterly update obligations to how self-employed tax returns are changing.
Not ready for MTD yet? Use Xero Tax for personal tax today
In the meantime, accountants and bookkeepers can start the journey to being ready for MTD for ITSA by using Xero Tax. You can use it to prepare and file Self Assessment tax returns for your clients today.