Making Tax Digital: Early trouble reported with VAT system

Farmers who have had to file their VAT returns using the new Making Tax Digital system have been reporting teething troubles, according to an accountancy firm.

From 1 April 2019, businesses with a turnover of more than £85,000 have been required to submit data to HMRC via accounting software, rather than calculating it by their own means and then submitting it on the website portal.

Only farmers who pay their VAT monthly will have had to make use of the new system so far.

Those with quarterly submission dates will have to be up and running by 7 August.

See also: Time running out to prepare your farm for Making Tax Digital

There have been issues with direct debits not being successfully transferred over to the new system, with a number of users having to complete and submit new direct debit mandates in order to pay their VAT bill, said Martyn Dobinson, a partner with Saffery Champness.

Unhelpful helpline

“Those encountering problems have also found it incredibly difficult to get through to the VAT helpline, with callers that do manage to get through reportedly often being cut off mid-call,” he said.

HMRC has not published a monthly customer service performance report since releasing the data for February in April.

A spokesperson failed to respond to a request for comment on why the data had not been forthcoming.

Any farmers who have suffered surcharges as a result of failed direct debits should appeal them if they had completed registration within the correct time, Mr Dobinson advised.

He reminded businesses who have not yet registered online for Making Tax Digital (MTD) to leave it until they have submitted their last return permitted under the old system.

In addition, where payment is being made by direct debit, a business cannot register in the five working days after the submission deadline for the last non-MTD VAT return and must be signed up at least seven working days before the first MTD-compliant return.

Have you had any issues with getting Making Tax Digital set up? Let deputy business editor Andrew Meredith know by email at or call him on 020 8652 4924.

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