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MTD Filing , NO VAT Returns outstanding

MTD Filing via VT, error message "According to HMRC,there are no VAT Returns outstanding"

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I am filing for a client MTD VAT Filing via VT and get the error message "According to HMRC,there are no VAT Returns outstanding"

On HMRC's old system they have a return due for 31st August.

This has not happened with the dozen or so that I have already done.

Any ideas?

Replies (19)

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By Wanderer
20th Sep 2019 09:05

Sounds like client not signed up for MTD.

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By Matrix
20th Sep 2019 09:18

Agreed, if you are able to file under the old system then the client has not registered for MTD.

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By johnhemming
20th Sep 2019 11:59

You need to distinguish between a 403 error (which probably means not joined MTD) and a 404 error (which means you have joined MTD, but the data is not there.)

Matrix is, however, right. If you can file using the old system then you have not joined MTD.

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By vtsoftware
21st Sep 2019 12:48

Hi John. For your info VT is successfully retrieving obligations but is getting an empty list back from HMRC. Hence there is no error number involved. Also, VT would only show the alpha error code and not the error number (except for CLIENT_OR_AGENT_NOT_AUTHORISED where we have our own message). Philip

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Replying to vtsoftware:
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By johnhemming
21st Sep 2019 14:55

vtsoftware wrote:

Hence there is no error number involved. Also, VT would only show the alpha error code and not the error number (except for CLIENT_OR_AGENT_NOT_AUTHORISED where we have our own message). Philip

Strictly, I should say "response code" rather than "error code". These are HTTP response codes. Those starting with a 2 tend to be success messages and those starting with a 4 are error messages. An HTTP transaction always has a response code.

When HMRC's servers don't find anything from a request they tend to end with a 404 response (error) code rather than a 200 response (success) code. I am not aware of an API (and I personally write most of my company's software and have written about 60 different API interfaces into live HMRC systems - VAT is only 5) that responds with an empty list rather than a 404 error code.

Some of the Self Assessment APIs respond with 204 messages (No Content), but I have not encountered this with VAT.

Everyone, of course, does their own thing. I take the view that is helps to have the actual error code somewhere particularly with API systems where it is difficult to tell which system is causing problems (end user, HMRC, MTD suppliers), but I am not the font of all wisdom and it is up to the end users what sort of software they want to use.

One of the most complex API response sequences is the part of Self Assessment which involves a 3 series response (error/success) code.

This, however, could be a numeric period key missing obligation error for which Red Five has the solution.

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By vtsoftware
21st Sep 2019 16:30

I stand corrected. I've just checked our software and when there are no VAT returns due HMRC returns the code 404 (NOT_FOUND). VT does not show this code to the user but raises the message "According to HMRC, there are no VAT returns due".

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Replying to vtsoftware:
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By johnhemming
21st Sep 2019 16:54

This is why I think it is worth reporting the error (response) code. It is much easier to work out what is going wrong when the error codes are reported.

Hence now there are two potential problems

a) That when the list obligations API is being called the parameters could be improved. (for example try a from date of 1st May 2019)

b) That this is the numeric period key missing obligations error.

If you could find out whether it is a numeric period key or not then that would give a good indication as to the situation.

On Monday I could run this through my diagnostics if you want to pin down the situation.

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By vtsoftware
21st Sep 2019 12:03

I was not in the office yesterday and so have only just seen your question.

You can only get that message in VT if the client is signed up for MTD and linked to your agent services account. It looks like the clients VAT records have not been correctly migrated by HMRC to their MTD system.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it is a good idea to check the VAT number set up in VT just in case there is a mix up.

Your client themselves can sign into their business taxes account at https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/business-account

If they then go to 'My VAT account>Return deadlines' that too will show that no return is due. You will then need to contact HMRC. Even if you can't get your client to access their business taxes account, the HMRC helpline ought to be able to.

See also:
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/mtd-falling-between-mtd-and-...

Philip Hodgson
VT Software

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
23rd Sep 2019 19:02

I've had this message a lot this quarter, but not last quarter. I think HMRC have taken down the whole MTD system for "maintenance", nice of them to do that within 2 weeks of the deadline.

If it does not go through this week I will simply knock out my standard HMRC mess up letter and put the problem with the numpties who created it - HMRC.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By Matrix
23rd Sep 2019 19:34

Agreed, I couldn’t submit from VT today either and the error message said it was HMRC downtime.

Given we are meant to be experts in all these APIs etc., then our MTD fees should be much higher.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By johnhemming
23rd Sep 2019 20:11

This was error 503 and was scheduled downtime. It stopped just before 4pm and was scheduled to stop at 4pm.

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By Matrix
24th Sep 2019 09:50

The whole system is down, the VAT helpline can't get into any VAT records.

I have the same error message for a client - no VAT returns outstanding.

I don't know what to tell the client. They were quite happy to submit themselves and are paying me a nominal amount and I can't even do that.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By johnhemming
24th Sep 2019 10:57

I have just now looked up some of my own personal legal entities which have both MTD VAT and MTD Self Assessment records. Both interfaces are working and are providing the correct responses

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By Matrix
24th Sep 2019 11:57

Thanks but HMRC can’t get into their own systems so can’t tell me why there is no obligation for this client. This has not happened for any other clients for the last 2 month so why are MJShone and Mr Mischief also having this problem?

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Replying to Matrix:
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By johnhemming
24th Sep 2019 12:17

I have no idea. If you want me to look at it just email me ([email protected] and we can do a diagnostic run. It is quite likely to be a numeric period key missing obligations problem. However, without looking at the detailed API responses I cannot say any more.

The systems can be a bit picky and require odd dates when calling the obligations API.

I don't know for certain why the numeric period keys seem to have problems that the alpha numeric period keys don't have. It is probably because they are on a different system.

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By Matrix
24th Sep 2019 12:58

Thanks but I am not spending any more time on this by loading onto other software. VT's message says there are no VAT returns outstanding and so it is an HMRC issue which I can't sort out today.

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By Matrix
24th Sep 2019 16:32

I just spoke to the VAT helpline and they said it is a known issue, that clients are taking longer to migrate to MTD due to the recent downtime.

So the obligation is not showing yet but should be showing by the end of the week.

Fingers crossed.

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By suepg
24th Sep 2019 17:43

We have the very same issue for one of our clients, the old system says the client has been signed up for MTD but the new system says it hasn't! I personally think he has slipped into a black hole in between.

We were told by the helpline that there has been a delay in processing the migration from old system to the new. We were advised to give it a few days then try again.
I am not convinced by this, as other clients, migrated the day later, are safely in the new system and working fine.

This article here looks like we are not alone: https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/mtd-falling-between-mtd-and-...

However, on a happy note, we are using VT Transaction+ but have today found that the free VT software add on, in Excel does the job perfectly! We have smoothly and painlessly filed using it. What is infuriating, however, is that we cannot see anywhere to view/print/save VAT returns we have submitted in MTD. We can view those previously submitted using the old HMRC agent portal, which directs us to our Agent Services log in to view the recent ones, but to no avail - not even a link! Anyone know how we can do this?

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Replying to suepg:
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By johnhemming
24th Sep 2019 17:49

If VT's implementation of MTD will not display/print submitted returns you can use some other software to do that. I can talk you through how to do this on the phone if you are interested (email me at [email protected]) it will take about 3-4 minutes if you already have chrome installed on your computer.

The way MTD works means that you can use a number of different MTD systems for the same taxpayers. Hence if there is something that one piece of software does better than another you can use it for that.

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