Research and analysis

Use of VAT software

Qualitative research to understand the use of commercially available third party software used by businesses for producing VAT returns.


Use of VAT software

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Research was carried out to understand:

  • small business use of commercially available software to produce VAT Returns, with a specific focus on the use of functionality available in some software allowing users to submit VAT Returns directly to HMRC from the software (the XML function)
  • general information on the types of software used by small businesses to complete their VAT Returns and their reasons for choosing specific software
  • the reasons why some businesses are using software but not submitting their returns using the automated XML functionality and benefits identified by those businesses who are using the XML functionality
  • any potential changes to software that could make business more likely to use the XML functionality in the future
  • the views of tax agents in relation to third party software and how businesses use it to build and submit their VAT Returns

50 depth interviews were undertaken with small businesses and agents in February and March 2015. The sample consisted of:

  • 30 businesses using third party software but not XML
  • 10 businesses using third party software and XML
  • 10 tax agents
Published 15 July 2015