Spreadsheets and MTD for VAT from April 2019
Making Tax Digital (MTD) is HMRC’s plan to create an electronic link with all the accounting data of UK businesses. The ultimate goal being to draw in any data they need directly from your computer using links provided by your software.
Which is fine if you are using accounts software that can cope with this process.
The first implementation deadline for MTD is 1 April 2019, when all businesses registered for VAT, and with turnover in excess of £85,000, will need to start to submit returns using HMRC’s MTD for VAT processes.
All the accounts software that we use to prepare and submit returns for clients will be approved for MTD, and in many cases we will not require the use of spreadsheets.
However, we should clarify what clients who currently use spreadsheets to prepare data for their VAT returns will need to do in order to become MTD compliant.
There are two basic groups affected:
- Businesses who use spreadsheets in place of accounting software, generally smaller traders, and
- Larger concerns, with complex VAT issues – sometimes with multiple branches and partial exemption rules to consider – who can't make all the necessary calculations without copying summarised data from their accounts software into a spreadsheet to prepare the actual numbers for their VAT form. Second hand motor dealers of any size will also have this problem.
Thankfully HMRC have confirmed that they are happy for businesses to continue using spreadsheets in these ways as long as the submission process involves the use of “bridging software”.
Bridging software will maintain the links from a spreadsheet and the detailed transactions that make up the return.
In other words, the submitted VAT return will be electronically linked to all the underlying transactions.
We are now starting to see an increasing number of software companies offer this type of bridging functionality.
If you are VAT registered, have turnover in excess of £85,000 and use spreadsheets to prepare data for your VAT returns, please get in touch so we can help you get ready for returns to be submitted after April 2019.