Crucial MTD deadline hits as UK VAT rules change

Date: 4 June 2019

A clock counts down to the Making Tax Digital deadline

Any business that is about to file its April 2019 monthly VAT return must sign up to Making Tax Digital and file its return using MTD-compliant software.

Affected businesses are being advised that they need to get up to speed with Making Tax Digital fast. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has warned that any businesses that file monthly VAT returns and which are within the scope of MTD (with a turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 and not exempt or within the October deferral group) are required to file their April 2019 VAT return using MTD software. The deadline for this is 7 June 2019 for those that pay electronically.

Making Tax Digital was introduced on 1 April 2019; as businesses reach their first VAT filing date after this point, they must by MTD-compliant. The ICAEW has said that "specific rules determine when businesses can sign up to MTD. Businesses must allow at least 24 hours after submitting their last pre-MTD VAT return before signing up; if payment is made by direct debit they must allow five working days after the submission deadline for that return. This means that, for those paying by direct debit, the window for signing up to file an April 2019 monthly return opened on 15 May 2019."

However, where payment is made by direct debit the business must sign up at least seven working days before the first MTD for VAT return is filed. This means that, for those that pay by direct debit, the window for signing up to file an April 2019 monthly return actually closed on 30 May 2019.

In addition, all businesses must ensure that they receive email confirmation from HMRC that they have signed up before they file their first MTD for VAT return; this can take up to 72 hours to arrive. The sign-up process can be completed either by the agent or the business.

For those businesses that file their VAT returns quarterly, the important upcoming deadline is 7 August 2019 - when Accountancy Age says "the biggest wave of the 1.1 million affected VAT-registered businesses are mandated to file under the new digital platform for the first time."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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