VAT online filing - HMRC issue impacts agents
Our Liberty Accounts product supports online filing of VAT returns and is used by our partners as a convenient and accurate means of filing VAT returns for large numbers of clients.
We have been looking into an issue that was causing difficulties for one of our partners that files hundreds of VAT100s per month online. Having got to the bottom of the problem it is clear that the issue will affect all agents filing online. I am posting this to save readers the trouble of trying to get to the bottom of the issue via HMRC first line support who typically just refer callers back to the third party software supplier.
Today HMRC have admitted an issue that will impact any agent using their agent gateway credentials to file returns for businesses. This only impacts filings using agent credentials where the agent allocation occurred after 11 October 2011. It applies to ALL 3rd party software products that file VAT returns via the Gateway XML channel.
For products that support online VAT filing like Liberty Accounts, Sage, Kashflow, an online filing workaround for these cases is to use the business credentials to file the return.
For products like Xero that don't support online VAT filing for their UK customers the transposition of figures and manual filing via the HMRC portal will continue to work.
You will know you are experiencing the issue if your agent submission is rejected and you get an "Authentication Failure" error from the Gateway even though you are certain your agent id and password along with the VAT number for the business you are filing is correct.
We are informed that there is a provisional intention to apply a fix in the April Gateway Update on weekend of 7/8 April but this may be subject to change.