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How Candice Brown tackled Making Tax Digital and kept her pub pouring through the pandemic


May 16, 2022

It’s hard to overstate how damaging the global pandemic was for local pubs. Many of these businesses are institutions – not simply a place to get a cold pint, but a home away from home, with friendly staff, possibly a sleepy dog and, if you’re lucky, a roaring fire. 

Yet, forced to shut their doors as the pandemic ripped through our lives, many struggled to cope with the restrictions that kept customers away. Candice Brown, winner of Great British Bake Off and owner of The Green Man Eversholt with her younger brother Ben, is one of the thousands of pub owners who struggled during this most trying time. 

Candice shares her tips on how she kept The Green Man pouring, and ensured the pub achieved compliance with government legislation Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT

Candice also talks about her experience over the past two years in the following video:. 

How Candice mastered MTD

While pandemic restrictions have eased, the struggle isn’t over for Candice, The Green Man and countless other pubs around the UK. 

She explains, “Every business owner, especially those in hospitality, has been hit hard by the pandemic. Even though our doors are back open, we’re still trying to recoup what we lost.”

In addition, Candice had to ensure The Green Man was compliant with MTD for VAT. As of April 2022, businesses below the £85,000 VAT threshold have been required to switch from paper-based records to filing their taxes digitally using HMRC-approved software. 

She adds, “Anything related to the financial side of the pub makes me nervous, so I can empathise with any business owner feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of filing digital VAT returns.”

Thankfully, Candice outlines her incredible relationship with her accountant, who has made adapting to this change easy. She continues, “I’m now seeing the benefits of using technology to keep on top of finances throughout the year, so tax isn’t so scary at year end.” 

Candice talks MTD compliance

Candice offers her top tips for getting MTD-compliant.

  • Find yourself a sous chef you can trust: “It’s crucial to surround yourself with trusted advisors who can provide the right expertise. My number one piece of advice is find yourself an accountant or bookkeeper to work with. They’ll not only be able to guide you through digital tax changes, but help you grow your business. I’m very close to my accountant and we  probably wouldn’t have survived the pandemic without their support.” 
  • Get the prep work done: Don’t put MTD off any longer. I was very nervous when I first heard about the impending deadline. However, after doing some researching online and speaking with my accountant, I realised how simple it can be. Although there is a soft-landing period, which means no financial penalties from HMRC until 1st January 2023, I would encourage small business owners to make the transition now. Start doing your research and find an accounting software package that works for you.”
  • Turn up the heat on technology:It’s pretty common nowadays to use social media to talk to customers, do your banking on your phone, and take payments through payment apps. Having to get your head around something new is probably the last thing you want to do. From my own experience, I know that these types of things have been crucial for me and digital tax returns are no different. Software that can help with your taxes can really help. You can also do cool things like automate invoice chasing or see a real-time view of where your money is going.”

If you’d like to find out more about MTD for VAT, you can also turn to our comprehensive FAQs, or some of our other helpful resources to ensure your business is compliant. Start reaping the rewards of digitalisation today.

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