The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the government to extend timeframes for transferring business tax accounting onto digital platforms as part of its Making Tax Digital (MTD) proposals.

The proposals were originally published through six consultation documents in August 2016 with the intention of reducing errors in tax reporting, but the ACS said that while it supports making tax digital, the timeframes being put forward were “too ambitious”.

Giving evidence to the House of Lords Finance Bill sub-committee, ACS head of public affairs and policy Edward Woodall, said: “In the long term we are supportive of the approach to make tax affairs digital for all business, but we remain concerned about the ambitious timeframes being put forward by the government. Implementation by 2018 would put significant pressure on thousands of small stores that do not currently have sufficient connection speeds or mobile coverage.”

Key points from the ACS submission included concerns that retailers will absorb the cost of compliance with MTD reforms and subsidise account procedures within HMRC. The response continues that costs will go beyond initial software needs and greater levels of engagement will be needed between retailers and their accountants to approve quarterly submissions.

The ACS also said it was important that HMRC ensures businesses have access to comprehensive guidance and support on the MTD reforms and compliance. Research has shown that 40% of the convenience stores in the UK have no access to high-speed broadband in their business, with many experiencing similar issues around provision of mobile data.

The full submission can be found on the ACS website here.