Now HMRC’s mandatory period for Making VAT digital has arrived, you will need to submit any VAT return which begins from 1 April 2019 using software that is Making Tax Digital (MTD) ready.
If this is all completely new to you, you can find more information about making tax digital in my older post
Timing is essential with the ‘opt-in’ process, you should wait 14 days after submitting your last ‘non MTD’ return before opting in, so the HMRC system can catch up. You will also need to make sure that you have opted in 72 hours before submitting your first MTD return, or 7 days if you pay your VAT by direct debit. The table below outlines the opt-in window:
|Last VAT return made up to||When to opt-in|
|31 March 2019||Opt in now, and before 31 July 2019|
|30 April 2019||Opt in from 19 July 2019, and before 30 August 2019|
|31 May 2019||Opt in from 21 August 2019, and before 30 September 2019|
How do I Opt-in?
Make sure you have your government gateway ID and password to hand, also if you are an LLP, partnership or sole trader you may need your self assessment UTR (Unique tax payer reference) number. If you are a company or LLP you may need your company registration number, as it is on companies house. You can look it up here: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/
These need to be for your VAT registered business which you would like to opt in, you must already be VAT registered. You must also have MTD compliant accounting software. If you dont, or are unsure we can help, even if you dont want new accounting software.
If you are preparing your VAT returns using spreadsheets, we have a ‘file only’ service which will allow you to continue, more information is here. If you are using handwritten books, then you will need to prepare on spreadsheets, or we can digitise your manual books – for more information on this service contact us.
After making sure you are Making Tax Digital ready:
The first and second questions are answered ‘Yes’:
You will then be asked to log in to your HMRC portal, you will need your government gateway ID and password:
You may be asked to set backup login information, or for a secondary signin authoriation which I will not be covering here.
Next, you will be asked if you have multiple businesses for VAT – if you do, then you may have additional steps for each business but it is not covered in this post.
Choose your business type, I am opting in for a limited company, you should choose the business type that is appropriate for your VAT registered business.
If you are a limited company, enter your company number, if you do not know your company number you can look it up here. If you are a sole trader or partnership, you will be asked for your UTR instead.
Confirm that HMRC have found the right company – you may be asked for your UTR instead, which will allow HMRC to look up your business.
Enter your business email address – this is so HMRC can confirm you are opted in/signed up to MTD.
Select how you would like HMRC to notify you about your VAT registration
Finally, accept and send all your details to HMRC. you should receive an email within 72 hours confirming you are signed up for making tax digital.
Once you are opted in to Making Tax digital, you must submit all of your VAT returns through the MTD system, using accounting software – though the HMRC VAT portal may still be accessible, HMRC will not process any submissions through it.
If you need help, please get in touch for help.