Digital VAT returns coming soon

From April 2019, the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) campaign applies to the online filing of digital VAT returns.

All VAT registered businesses with a turnover greater than the VAT threshold (including unincorporated businesses, companies, LLPs and charities) will be required to file their quarterly VAT returns online. They will also be expected to keep and maintain digital VAT records.

The first VAT return to be filed digitally will be in respect of the the first VAT return period beginning on or after 1 April 2019.

Are there any exemptions from digital VAT filing?

Yes. If turnover is below the VAT threshold, there is an automatic exemption from digital VAT filing.


HMRC is currently working with software providers over a suitable product but unlike the HMRC’s personal tax return software, it is not expected to be free.

The software will need to:

  • Keep and preserve records in a digital form
  • Produce a VAT return from these records
  • Provide VAT data to HMRC on a voluntary basis
  • Communicate with HMRC’s software in order to receive information and messages/alerts, such as reminders of filing dates etc

What information needs to be kept digitally?

It’s important to note that there will be no need to make and store invoices and receipts digitally. These can be kept in their original paper form. However, transactions will need to be stored digitally and all records should be kept for 6 years.

Other information which needs to be kept digitally for VAT includes:

  • Business name, address and VAT number
  • Supplies and purchases data – time, value, VAT % used/input tax claimed
  • Any info required to be held in the VAT account should be kept digitally

We appreciate that this represents yet more change and are here to help you understand your obligations under MTD for VAT.

If we already file your VAT returns or you would like us to do so, these changes will have minimal effect on you and your business.

If you file your own VAT return, we can support you and ensure you are complying with the new rules.

Please contact [email protected] or call 01527 558539 to discuss your VAT requirements.

Or, visit our website to find out about our other services and how we can help your business. More information can also be found on the HMRC website.

digital VAT