Guidance

When to start using Making Tax Digital for VAT if you've not before

Find out when you should sign up and start using Making Tax Digital for VAT.

All VAT-registered businesses who have not yet signed up for Making Tax Digital for VAT need to do so.

When to sign up

You must keep digital records from the start of your first Making Tax Digital accounting period.

Your last VAT accounting period before signing up to Making Tax Digital Submit your VAT Return between Do not sign up to Making Tax Digital between Sign up to Making Tax Digital from Your first Making Tax Digital accounting period
1 Jan to 31 Mar 2022 1 Apr to 7 May 2022 28 Apr to 7 May 2022 8 May 2022 1 Apr to 30 Jun 2022
1 Feb to 30 Apr 2022 1 May to 7 Jun 2022 30 May to 7 Jun 2022 8 June 2022 1 May to 31 Jul 2022
1 Mar to 30 May 2022 1 Jun to 7 Jul 2022 29 Jun to 7 July 2022 8 July 2022 1 Jun to 31 Aug 2022
1 Mar to 31 Mar (monthly submissions) 1 Apr to 7 May 2022 28 Apr to 7 May 8 May 2022 1 Apr to 30 Apr 2022
A period of 12 months starting on or after 1 April 2021 and before 1 April 2022 (annual submissions starting on the first day of a calendar month) 2 months after the last day of your accounting period The 7 working days before your Making Tax Digital VAT Return needs to be submitted The day after your VAT Return due date until 7 working days before your next VAT Return due date (almost a full year) A period of 12 months starting on or after 1 April 2022

If you already pay by Direct Debit do not sign up too close to the date your return is due, or you may pay twice.

To avoid this, do not sign up less than:

  • 7 days before your return is due
  • 5 days after your return is due

If you do not pay by Direct Debit, sign up at least 3 days before your return is due.

If you’re finding it difficult to access the service, check if there’s a technical issue or other known problem.

If 1 April comes in the middle of your VAT period

If your VAT period started before 1 April 2022, you can continue using paper records until the end of that VAT period and not sign up to Making Tax Digital. Once that period has ended you must start keeping digital records.

If you sign up to Making Tax Digital in the middle of your VAT period, you will not be able to finish processing your VAT Return on your online VAT account and may be charged a penalty.

How to start keeping digital records

If you currently keep paper records such as a notebook or paper receipts, you can continue doing so.

However, from your first accounting period starting on or after 1 April 2022, you must also keep your records digitally using Making Tax Digital compliant software such as:

  • accounting software
  • a spreadsheet

If you choose to keep digital records on a spreadsheet, then you must also use bridging software to make sure your spreadsheet is Making Tax Digital compliant.

If you’re using a spreadsheet to keep your digital records

If you’re using a spreadsheet to keep your digital records and want to carry on, you’ll need to find a software provider that offers a bridging product that’s compatible with your spreadsheet.

You will need to talk to your software provider about how to format the information on your spreadsheet, so it sends the right information to HMRC.

What to do next

First, you’ll need to get compatible software if you have not already.

If you’ve got compatible software, then you can go and sign up for Making Tax Digital for VAT as long as you’ve come to the end of your current accounting period.

Published 1 April 2022