Under Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT, VAT-registered traders must keep electronic records and file their VAT returns electronically using software that is compatible with MTD for VAT. Prior to 1 April 2022, MTD for VAT was only mandatory for VAT-registered traders whose turnover for VAT purposes was above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000. VAT-registered traders whose turnover was below the VAT registration threshold could choose whether to join or not.
MTD for VAT is extended from 1 April 2022 to all registered traders. VAT-registered traders whose turnover is below the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 and who have not already joined MTD for VAT must do so from the start of their first VAT accounting period beginning on or after 1 April 2022.
John is a VAT-registered trader with turnover for VAT purposes of £50,000. His VAT quarters run to 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October. He has not yet joined MTD for VAT.
John must start complying with MTD for VAT from 1 May 2022. This is the first day of the VAT quarter to 31 July 2022 and the first day of his first VAT accounting period that begins on or after 1 April 2022.
He must file the return for the period by 7 September 2022 using MTD-compatible software.
Traders who are joining MTD for VAT from 1 April 2022 will need to sign up. They can do this via their Government Gateway Account. Alternatively, if they want to use an agent to submit their returns on their behalf, their agent can sign them up, but will need authorisation from the trader to do so.
Traders who pay by direct debit should avoid signing up too close to the return deadline as they may end up paying their VAT twice. The window to avoid is the period from seven days before the return is due until five days after the return is due.
Under MTD for VAT, the trader must keep their VAT records electronically. This can be done via a software package. Alternatively, spreadsheets can be used. However, where spreadsheets are used, these must be linked to the return – figures should not be entered manually.
VAT returns must be filed using software that is compatible for MTD for VAT. HMRC publish details of software packages that can be used (see www.gov.uk/guidance/find-software-thats-compatible-with-making-tax-digital-for-vat). However, it should be noted that HMRC do not recommend particular products. Traders should find a product that they are happy with in advance of the deadline
Traders whose turnover is under the VAT registration threshold may wish to review whether, in light of the need to comply with MTD for VAT, it remains beneficial to be VAT-registered.