Guidance

Use software to submit your VAT Returns

If you submit VAT Returns for a limited company, or if you’re a sole trader, you may be able to join the Making Tax Digital pilot for VAT.

HMRC is changing the way you submit your VAT Returns. From April 2019, most VAT registered businesses with a turnover above £85,000 must keep their VAT records digitally and use Making Tax Digital compatible software to submit their VAT Returns.

Instead of waiting until then, you can get compatible software now and try this new way of submitting your returns so you’re ready when the changes come in. By signing up to HMRC’s secure service, you’re helping test a new way of working as part of the Making Tax Digital pilot.

Who can use this service

You may qualify for the pilot if you use a standard accounting period, you’re up to date with your VAT, and you:

  • are a sole trader
  • currently submit the VAT Return for a limited company

Once you have signed up to take part in the pilot, you’ll have to continue to use Making Tax Digital compatible software to submit your VAT Returns.

You will not be able to take part in the pilot at the moment if you:

  • currently trade with, or have traded with the EU
  • are a partnership
  • are part of a VAT group or VAT Division
  • are based overseas
  • are a trust
  • are a not for profit organisation that is not set up as a company
  • submit annual returns
  • make VAT payments on account
  • use the VAT Flat Rate Scheme
  • are a business that is newly registered for VAT and you have not previously used your VAT online account to submit your VAT Return

If you pay your VAT by Direct Debit you will not be able to sign up in the 15 working days leading up to your submission date and the 5 working days immediately after it.

This pilot will be opened to more businesses. Check back regularly to see if it has been extended to include you.

How it works

If you qualify you can choose the right software for you. If you already use software, check with your provider to see if you can use it with this pilot. You might want to use more than one product, provided they link together digitally.

Then you can:

  • sign up for the Making Tax Digital pilot
  • use software to keep your business records, prepare your next VAT Return, and submit it to HMRC

You can still choose to:

  • get your agent to submit your VAT Returns
  • view your next VAT Return deadline in your Business Tax Account

Sign up for the pilot

You’ll need to have:

  • your Government Gateway user ID and password
  • your VAT registration number

You may also be asked to confirm your details.

Before you sign up for the pilot you must make sure that you either get compatible software, or that the software you already use is suitable for Making Tax Digital.

Sign up

Service availability

You can check the availability and any issues affecting this service.

If you need help

Check with your software provider if you need help, for example with keeping your sales and purchase records, or submitting your VAT Returns.

If you have another query about the Making Tax Digital pilot for VAT you can:

Published 16 October 2018