Can you file a VAT Return from the ASA?

Can you file a VAT Return directly from the Agent Services Account or do you need to have software?

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Follow on from a previous thread but I have just taken on a client on the flat rate scheme who pays £400 per year for Quickbooks just to enter a couple of dozen sales invoices per year so quarterly VAT Returns can be submitted. He enters nothing else on Quickbooks. Is there not a way of just filing VAT Returns via the Agent Services Account or some cheaper system?

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John Toon
By John Toon
11th Apr 2024 12:10

No - it's MTD silly, so you need some form of software (bridging or otherwise to file). Does make you wonder why the client isn't using Quickbooks properly though... Aside from the fact there are cheaper subs they could probably hop onto as well.

Thanks (2)
By Paul Crowley
11th Apr 2024 12:20

There are hundreds of spreadsheet based bridging software solutions, quite a lot are free.
One of my clients uses 123 sheets. She is happy with it.
Only 27 per the list now. There used to be lots more, probably because they wanted clients on board for the MTD ITSA version that was going to be live soon after, so they hoped.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
By Paul Crowley
12th Apr 2024 21:26

123 sheets are now live on the MTD ITSA list, 1 of 5.

Thanks (0)
By Jason Croke
11th Apr 2024 12:38

Agree that for some clients, using accounting software is a cost they don't need.

You can't file via your ASA, you must either use accounting software like Xero/QB or you can use bridging software.

Bridging software is basically a website you go to on the internet, upload the VAT return into the website, website then asks for login details of client account, it then logs in and file the return. This is me dumbing down the process but this is basically what you do.

I like this free offering the interface is a little clunky but essentially you upload your clients Excel spreadsheet into the web page and you are then shown a VAT return with the 9 boxes, you then "map" the figures you want to appear in the boxes, you ma by clicking the cell in Excel and then pasting it into the website VAT return, repeat for each box, then the website will ask for login details, log in as client, it will then file the return.

Client still needs to keep MTD compliant records, so if using Excel for record keeping, you still need to record each sale/purchase, net VAT gross, etc.

Another good free version is which has a slicker interface but does the same thing, a web page based upload and filing process.

Pauls' suggestion of 123 Sheets is also good. They all have little nuances and are not as slick as Xero/QB and can be a bit tricky to set up but once setup, rinse and repeat for free.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Jason Croke:
By FactChecker
11th Apr 2024 14:49

All (sadly) true.

I love the fact you aren't allowed to go to an online return and 'key in the values' - but you are allowed to 'key in the mapping' (which tells the form from which cell in the spreadsheet to copy the value that you aren't allowed to key in direct')!

You can imagine just how upset HMRC were when this was first proposed ... but it has now become an accepted (and common) methodology - especially for small businesses.
Technically your spreadsheet then meets the 'keeping records in MTD compliant software' requirement ... but we all know the truth is less straightforward (which is why HMRC still believe that MTD ITSA will work and others have their doubts).

Thanks (4)
By Dougscott
11th Apr 2024 15:24

Thanks all. Looking at another thread one possibility is for him to switch to a Mettle Business Account and then he'll have access to FreeAgent software for free.

Thanks (1)