Monthly returns: overview: electronic returns
There are three methods by which a return might be filed electronically:
- using the internet at , or
- by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), or
- by independent third party software.
Returns filed through the HMRC website
Contractors who wish to file on line must first have signed up to Government Gateway. This is an on-line registration programme which then permits a user to access and file returns for self-assessment, End of Year or CIS over the internet.
Returns filed by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
EDI is the transfer of data from an application running on the computer of one organisation to an application running on the computer of another organisation, with no manual intervention.
There is an action guide at CISR62660 where you can find more information about EDI.
Returns filed by independent third party software
If the preferred method of contact is electronically using independent third party software, no paper returns will be issued.
Users must similarly be registered on Government Gateway to file through an independent third party software provider.
An information pack to providers is available at .
What are the benefits of filing electronically?
There are four key benefits:
- savings - it’s cheaper because there will be savings on (for example) printing costs, paper storage and office manpower
- flexibility - Filing electronically allows data to be sent to HMRC at a time that suits the contractor. However, the monthly deadlines for submitting returns do still apply
- speed - it’s a lot faster. Information is transferred in terms of hours or minutes as opposed to days for traditional ‘snail mail’. In addition, the electronic submission of forms cuts down on a lot of human intervention along the way
- quality & Accuracy – Filing electronically improves the quality of service since it enables information to go from one computer application to another with no manual intervention. So the likelihood of errors is significantly reduced. (For example, approximately 2 per cent of hand-written forms attract errors at the subsequent keying-in stage. But, by filing electronically, forms are processed at a near 100 per cent accuracy rate.).