Share this content

Looking for VAT MTD Bridging Software recommends.

Making Tax Digital VAT return filing

Didn't find your answer?

Hi there

I am looking for bridging software for a number of my small companies to link excel to HMRC.  Are there any particularly good free ones out there that someone can recommend please?  Looking for a solution knowing that current way of filing VAT returns will close from April.

Many thanks

Sam

Replies (24)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

chips_at_mattersey
By Les Howard
15th Jan 2021 14:54

You could try this: www.x-vat.com/mtd.html

Thanks (0)
Replying to leshoward:
avatar
By sammywitters
15th Jan 2021 15:02

will look at that thank you!

Thanks (0)
Routemaster image
By tom123
15th Jan 2021 14:55

I am using Tax Optimiser. Think it was free for first year, now £30. pa

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
avatar
By sammywitters
15th Jan 2021 15:02

cheers will look at that!

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Sandnickel
15th Jan 2021 15:26

I used 123 sheets for an old SAGE licence, it did do excel as well.

Also used Absolute VAT, which I usually got a rounding error with.

Neither are free I'm afraid.

Thanks (1)
By jdm5454
15th Jan 2021 18:11

I have seen a client use this in the past. Seem to do what it says on the tin.

https://vitaltax.uk/

Have not checked it for a year.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By leicsred
15th Jan 2021 20:20

We use BTC, is paid for but works really well for us.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By sparkler
15th Jan 2021 21:35

I use Taxfiler, which seems to work very smoothly.

Thanks (1)
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
16th Jan 2021 10:12

We use Vital Tax. I think it was free for first year, then £10? Pa

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Jane S-D
16th Jan 2021 11:08

I use Absolute VATfiler.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By [email protected]
21st Jan 2021 09:50

We provide direct from Excel - free forever ... https://www.datadear.com/making-tax-digital-for-vat/

Thanks (1)
avatar
By JD
21st Jan 2021 09:55

Datadear which is free for MTD filing (good integration with QBO/Xero) or Taxfiler

Thanks (1)
avatar
By FD4CAST FD4CAST
21st Jan 2021 09:57

I use Bokio. I just paste the relevant journals in for each quarter from Excel and then submit to HMRC. Bokio is free.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By markabacus
21st Jan 2021 10:05

I've used Absolute's Vat filer from day 1, no problems, simple link to Excel

Not free though, circa £40 for 10 vat reg'ns

Thanks (1)
avatar
By STCCS
21st Jan 2021 10:37

Simplyaccounts.net have a desk top and web based app for bridging.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By NewACA
21st Jan 2021 11:15

Firstly, I don't think the HMRC portal is closing this April, it remains open for businesses until April 2022 that are under the VAT threshold. That is my understanding at least.

What I understand is changing, is that HMRC is taking down their XML-language vat filing API (their old VAT filing API), so any software that might still have be using that will need to use the new MTD API instead. I think most software providers have already moved over to the new MTD API in any case, so I don't think that will affect many users at all, maybe 2% of the entire market?

If for whatever reason you are still looking for bridging software, having tried a lot of them, 123 sheets I found to be the easiest and most comprehensive for my needs. It accepts Sage and QB exported VAT Returns without any manipulation (or even opening the export) what-so-ever, and has a range of features that many other bridging software providers do not have, such as deadline management, viewing historic returns and payments info to/from HMRC (some don't do that, eg: Absolute). Again, its not free. Its £20 first year, then £40 thereafter (upwards).

Please bear in mind, my own meanderings below are my own, and no doubt others have had different experiences, or requirements.

When I did my research, I found the following issues:

Free ones (eg: Avalara) a devil of a job to get many of them to work, and of course no decent support. My time is money, I'd rather spend £40 and have it set up in 10 mins, and take 5 mins for each VAT Return to file, than save £40 a year and spend hours trying to get it to work each time.

Vital tax: requires the downloading of an app from the microsoft store If I recall, to sync with Excel and I read that some users had trouble installing the app (I think that was on microsoft store?? cannot remember), so I avoided it, so I hadn't actually therefore tried it please bear in mind. I didn't want to download or install anything personally anyway and don't like Excel Add-ons, as explained for Absolute Software next.

Absolute: its an Excel add-on, and doesn't show hmrc payments and liabilities and historic returns you could download (coming from hmrc across their api into the software, at least it didn't 18 months ago - does it now? I don't know maybe it does now). It is also an excel add on, so anytime you want to do anything in Excel, Excel takes longer to open as it is installing the Add-on, even though you might be using Excel for something entirely different 99% of the time.

For me, Excel add-ons just seemed to put a second sticky plaster over the mtd thing, when bridging software already relies on one sticky plaster to start with.

Tax Filer: I didn't find the deadline management system working very well - I couldn't rely on it, and the system not as user-friendly as others.

I didn't try BTC or other software mentioned, so cannot comment.

That was all 18 months ago of course, perhaps they have changed, and maybe I misunderstood some parts...

Thanks (0)
Replying to NewACA:
avatar
By sammywitters
22nd Jan 2021 08:33

Thank you very much for such a comprehensive response. I agree it seems that April 2022 is the deadline for this. I have many companies who are VAT registered with turnover below and above £85k, but none of them have UK turnover so we haven't registered for MTD so far and are still filing the old way. With the new system from 8th April can we file without bridging software? I'm in the process of setting up an ASA.

Thanks (0)
Replying to sammywitters:
avatar
By NewACA
22nd Jan 2021 15:59

From April 2021 to April 2022, you will only be able to do without any MTD software (be it bridging or MTD compliant bookkeeping systems) if the UK turnover is below the VAT Threshold, using HMRCs online VAT manual filing facility on their website, where you enter manually the 9-box data, as no doubt you or your clients have been doing until now.

I think ultimately, you'd need to do your own research on products for your April 2022 deadline and take into consideration what you think works for you, and in particular what suits your clients, assuming like most clients, they do this themselves. Have any eye on how you want your data for year end purposes, so that the software doesn't involve making changes to the data structure that doesn't suit you. That will be more important once ITSA MTD starts.

You may also want to consider that ITSA MTD becomes mandatory only 12 months later than the April 2022 deadline you are aiming for and I imagine many bridging software providers won't get involved in ITSA MTD, as it won't be a quick 9-box solution like VAT was. So you might want to check with any vendor they have an ITSA product, at the very least in the pipe-line.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By richard.snape
21st Jan 2021 11:39

When I looked at the same issue recently I was quite impressed with 100PcVatFreeBridge: http://www.comsci.co.uk/100PcVatFreeBridge.html which I found via the HMRC search so it has been through their recognition process.

Most of the software claiming to be free is only so for a trial period and then charges kick in. This one is free for ever though it does encourage a donation to a Scout group expedition, which I am symapethetic to as a Scout group treasurer.

It only provides for extracting data from Excel spreadsheets and does not connect with any other accounting software., but I can easily export the VAT100 as an Excel sheet from my Quickbooks 2014 and go from there.

I haven't used it in anger yet but it seems to have a fairly comprehensive user manual and to be quite straight forward.

Thanks (1)
Replying to richard.snape:
Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
21st Jan 2021 15:54

Another vote for 100PcVatFreeBridge. I use it in anger for 6 clients and it works well. I did donate (my son is a scout). Only thing that is slightly confusing is when it comes to changing years (it only shows 4 quarters at a time). The developer is still actively supporting it - an updated version was released a couple of months back.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Beach Accountancy:
avatar
By comsci
28th Jan 2021 09:38

Thanks for the recommendation and the donation :-) As author of the software I can report that the generous users have raised an incredible £8,226.27 (inc gift aid) to support the Scout trip to Malawi which has now been postponed unti 2022 because of Covid-19 :-(

I have now switched the fundraising objective to support Open Source Software https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/100pcvatfreebridge which is ticking along nicely. You can also read some recommendations from happy users there.

The reason 100PcVatFreeBridge only shows 4 quarters per session is that the HMRC query API is restricted to a 12 month period. It could make several queries and stitch the results together, but then the fewer interactions with HMRC, the less chance of things going wrong. Anyway, the latest versions do now report an alert message if the active 12 month window does not include the current date.

In general, there is nothing stopping anyone from registering several MTD VAT solutions concurrently and chop and changing until they find the one that works best for them. The HMRC API will prevent you from making duplicate returns for the same period.

Thanks (3)
Morph
By kevinringer
21st Jan 2021 12:52

The existing non-MTD portal is closing but the GOV.UK interface will be switched to a new portal so non-mandated businesses that currently file through GOV.UK will continue to be able to do so until April 2022. That portal will remain open beyond April 2022 for businesses that are exempted from MTD eg because they are digitally exempt, maintain manual records and give their totals to their agent over the phone who files on GOV.UK for them.

The businesses that need to switch by April 2021 are businesses that use non-MTD software. For example I have a client who uses Sage v27 and are not mandated for MTD so use Sage's non-MTD filing process. That client won't be able to continue to use the non-MTD filing process in Sage. Because this client already maintains digital records, the easy solution is for them to sign up to MTD and file using Sage's MTD filing process. But my other clients that file through GOV.UK will continue to be able to.

Regarding bridging software, we use Absolute. We decided to go for a paid-for solution because we wanted one that would still be around next year and that had support. Absolute support is by email and is good. We buy licences and charge our clients a little extra to cover the licence cost. Absolute is filing only so you can't see payments and liabilities, nor previous returns. And it only works with Excel 2010 or newer.

Thanks (0)
Replying to kevinringer:
avatar
By sammywitters
22nd Jan 2021 08:34

Many thanks for your helpful info!

Thanks (0)
avatar
By mrshamilton
22nd Jan 2021 07:53

I use absolute and have no problems with it at all (as long as you round the VAT amounts to 2 decimal places) not free but worth it

Thanks (1)
Share this content