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Agents may need to file non-MTD VAT returns via their ASA


Published: 04 May 2021 Updated: 11 Jun 2021 Update History

Tax agents who file their clients’ VAT returns using HMRC’s online service may find that the functionality has moved from the older agent online service portal to the newer agent services account.

HMRC has started moving the VAT records of traders who are not signed-up to Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT from an old database (VAT mainframe or VMF) to a new database (Enterprise Tax Management Platform or ETMP).

The change began in April 2021 and is being phased in over the next six months or so. Other than the look and feel of some of the screens, the change will not generally be noticed by businesses that file their own returns.

However, once a VAT record has been moved from VMF to ETMP, agents can only access the online VAT return filing service for that client through their agent services account (ASA) and not the older agent online services (AOS) portal.

Steps agents should follow

  1. Sign into the AOS to check whether the client’s VAT record is still available in that system. If it is not, a rather confusing message saying that the agent has been signed out of the AOS is displayed. Previously an incorrect message saying that the client has signed up to MTD VAT was displayed; the changes do not mean that clients have been automatically signed up to MTD by HMRC.
  2. Sign into the ASA.
  3. Select MTD for VAT.
  4. Select Manage your client's VAT details.
  5. Enter the client’s VAT reference number.
  6. Select the VAT return period and enter the data.

Once an agent knows that a client’s VAT record has been moved, they can go directly to the ASA, omitting step 1.

Delayed transfer for some DD payers

As explained in Agent Update 83 the transfer is more complicated for traders that pay by direct debit for whom HMRC does not hold a valid email address.

HMRC will not start transferring these particular records until July 2021 and will write to each business explaining what they will need to do to continue paying by direct debit.

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Changelog Anchor
  • Update History
    11 Jun 2021 (12: 00 AM BST)
    In light of further guidance from HMRC the section 'no automatic enrolment into MTD' has been replaced with the new section 'Steps agents should follow'.
    17 May 2021 (12: 00 AM BST)
    The section 'no automatic enrolment into MTD' was created in light of HMRC confirming that some agents are seeing an erroneous messaged related to their non-MTD clients.