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Sage asking for authorisation for every MTD return

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We're using Sage for one of our monthly VAT returns. When we did the first MTD return (April 2019) the GOV.UK screens appeared asking for authorisation and codes sent to our mobile phone. The screen said that once in place the authroisation will last for 18 months. We've just done the May 2019 MTD return and had to go through all the authorisation screens again. I wasn't expecting to have to do this for 18 months. Has anyone else submitted their second MTD return? Did you have to go through the authorsation again? What software are you using?

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By adam.arca
01st Jul 2019 18:02

Yes!

I've been doing some emergency bookkeeping for a client and have so far submitted 3 monthly returns, Feb to April, all under MTD.

They're on Sage 50cloud and this has happened every time. Haven't yet had the opportunity to get to the bottom of this issue.

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By johnhemming
01st Jul 2019 18:52

Are you doing this through your ASA or via clients credentials.?

I have seen some issues with authorisations, but as far as I can tell that settled down about 6 months ago.

What you should do is to look at the list of authorised software using the government gateway. The only route to this I have used is via authorisation, but there probably is a alternative route probably using the URL directly.

I did a video looking at the interface on the test HMRC server (which is the same as live) That is at the end of the video linked below, but I have put a URL which takes you just before the bit about scopes.
https://youtu.be/pyGGIRgKMfU?t=395

Since originally writing this I have tried what I thought was the URL and indeed it works.

You should find this link useful:
https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/applications-manage-authority/applications

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Replying to johnhemming:
Morph
By kevinringer
02nd Jul 2019 13:01

We always use our ASA credentials.

The client was in our old GG account and we have linked the old GG to the ASA.

I've looked at the YouTube video and the final link and confirm that Sage is one of the items listed. Sage authority is dated 03/06/19 but we were asked to do it again yesterday.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By johnhemming
02nd Jul 2019 15:28

Obviously you should be using your ASA credentials, but the question is a systems question.

My view is that this is likely to be a sage problem.

With ASA credentials there are potentially two causes:

a) That the individual clients are not properly linked to the ASA credentials in Sage so that when you do something on another client it creates a new authority with HMRC which is then not available to the first (or any other client) .... or

b) That the token refresh is not working. You can tell if it is this by doing a lookup that requires an authorisation at say 10am in the morning. Then wait over 4 hours, preferably five.

If you find it needs reauthorising then the refresh is not working.

Both, however, look like issues within Sage.

You could, of course, authorise a second set of MTD software and try looking things up with that and see what happens. If the same thing happens with a second set of MTD software then it looks like something with HMRC, but I don't think it is HMRC on a first guess.

What I am suggesting is that you authorise a second set of MTD software and use that software to look at the same client (only look at things, not submit anything). That will pin down whether it is a sage issue or not. The software could be Mr Easy's or mine and neither of us will charge you for this.

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Replying to johnhemming:
Morph
By kevinringer
02nd Jul 2019 15:46

Thanks John. I don't know what you mean by 'token refresh' nor 'doing a lookup' or 'only look at things'. If you mean looking at HMRC transactions through Sage, as far as I know there is no functionality in Sage to look up anything on the HMRC account.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By johnhemming
02nd Jul 2019 15:53

The token refresh is what happens 4 hours after an access token has been obtained from HMRC. When you authorise access to HMRC's servers you get both an access token and a refresh token. The access token expires after 4 hours and then the refresh has to get new tokens. If that does not work then the system goes through authorisation again.

Hence if the authorisation has to be done again after 4 hours it is a bug in Sage's software (most likely).

Sage does look up the HMRC data if only when you try to find out what obligations are open. I don't, however, know what else Sage does.

By default it is possible to look up
a) What obligations there are open or fulfilled (returns)
b) Details of any return submitted
c) Details of payments
d) Details of liabilities.

You can to this with any MTD software that allows you to do this.

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Replying to johnhemming:
Morph
By kevinringer
02nd Jul 2019 16:19

Thanks for explaining all that John. I was unaware of the tokens. I'm not aware that Sage does any of the lookup other than perhaps a.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By johnhemming
02nd Jul 2019 17:19

Remember that you can use any MTD software to look up the data even if you submit via sage.

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By adam.arca
02nd Jul 2019 13:37

johnhemming wrote:

Are you doing this through your ASA or via clients credentials.?

I'm not entirely sure what you're asking us to do there, John.

In my case, MTD was set up (early) by the client's bookkeeper before she went on long-term sick. So I guess that means client credentials?

The client uses Sage 50c so it is clearly authorised software and it definitely works (as in: submits returns to the new server via the API). What it doesn't seem to be doing for either Kevin or me is granting the 18 months' authority for the software to interact with the API which the blurb in the Sage message tells us we'll be getting.

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By johnhemming
02nd Jul 2019 19:36

Sorry I had not really picked up that you were different examples of the same problem.

Obviously my answers to Kevin are valid for you as well. Obviously the fact that this is happening for two firms (and is obvious when you are doing monthly returns) implies that it is a systemic problem. The fact that it does not happen with other software (and I know it doesn't happen with mine) implies that it is systemic problem relating to Sage.

You may wish to pin down if it is the refresh or a mess with the ASA credentials. That will make it easier to tell Sage how to fix their system.

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
04th Jul 2019 14:51

Given that you are paying Sage a lot of money for their software, I would moan long and hard at Sage Support.

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By North East Accountant
04th Jul 2019 15:31

We're using Sage doesn't quite pin it down.

Which Sage product are you referring to?

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Replying to North East Accountant:
Morph
By kevinringer
04th Jul 2019 15:44

Sage 50cloud Accounts v25.1.128.0

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By johnhemming
04th Jul 2019 16:35

It is probably worth doing the 4 hour test if you can find some way of doing a query with Sage software.

I think it is probably refresh tokens because that is harder to test. You have to authorise something and then wait for 5 hours to see if it works when refreshing.

It is also quite a low level part of the software. There are really two ways of writing this algorithm. One is to check the time for refresh and once it has gone over the time to do a refresh. A second is to refresh if the api call fails on authority. I use the latter which is a little unsubtle, but it does the job.

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By NewACA
04th Jul 2019 18:31

The authorisation is meant to last 18 months, but we have seen that HMRC randomly delete some authorisations when they upgrade their MTD database, so far they appear to do this on a monthly basis. So in all likelyhood I would imagine it was HMRC, not SAGE if all you did was try again a month later. You'd need to do more testing than just going in and out of the API once a month to establish where the fault lies. Yes, token refreshes are every 4 hours.

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Replying to NewACA:
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By johnhemming
04th Jul 2019 18:42

I think you are right about this up to a point, but I think they do this far less frequently than they did previously. Further more you can check when the authorisation was granted as the OP has done.

Its the sort of issue that people will notice moreso as time goes by.

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Morph
By kevinringer
04th Jul 2019 19:12

Another problem with Sage is the authorisation screen does not appear if the default browser is Chrome or Firefox. We've had to change the default browser to IE or Edge for all our PCs and clients' PC to get it to work.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By johnhemming
04th Jul 2019 19:56

I would assume that is something to do with trying to launch a browser from inside a windows program. That should not be that difficult to solve for Sage.

MTD software that runs in a browser will simply redirect the browser to a new URL.

Unlike the refresh tokens this is quite an easy thing to test, however.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By alejandra
04th Jul 2019 20:26

I use Chrome and the authorisation screen appeared OK. Sorry I can't explain why it worked for me though. Normally I am unlucky on these things.

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By alejandra
04th Jul 2019 20:24

I am also using Sage50Cloud, v25, and I had to go through authorisation again in May even though I had already done it in April. I didn't feel like calling Sage to find out why - the helpline wait is usually around 50 minutes to an hour!

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Replying to alejandra:
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By johnhemming
04th Jul 2019 20:33

To find out if it is the refresh timer you need to find a way of using sage to look things up on the API. Alternatively you could ask sage what periods are outstanding and see if it requests reauthorisation, but it may not work specifically that way.

It does look like a Sage thing as my monthly clients (for example) don't have this issue. We did have some early problems with authorisations disappearing and, of course, the simple solution is to reauthorise, but as far as I can tell that has stopped. (in fact stopped a while ago)

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By ohwhatnow
03rd Oct 2019 09:54

just following on from this thread, has anyone found a solution or know whats causing it?
we're using sage 50c.
I have to do one company on monthly vat returns and the other is quarterly.
Getting this issue every time - not a great problem to sign in each time, just a faff and frustrating !
thanks

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Replying to ohwhatnow:
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By johnhemming
03rd Oct 2019 13:01

It is not a problem with HMRC.

There are lots of reasons why it can happen. They all tend to come down to either
a) There being more than one copy of the access tokens or
b) Problems with the MTD software

I know it can work exactly as it is designed to do as I can tell when my clients need to update credentials and the authorisations are normally persistent (for VAT, not so much for the Agents API and Self Assessment).

It strikes me that your 50c probably have separate sets of credentials so when you update one you invalidate the other.

That is the problem when people use multiple desktop systems. As soon as they update one desktop system's credentials the rest become invalid.

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By djames
20th Nov 2019 19:17

I've also had this now. Bleeping SAGE, worst software I've ever had to deal with. Most of my clients are on Quickbooks and apart from a few teething problems at the beginning everything is now tickety boo with them - I prepare the VAT return, check it submit it. Easy.

Not SAGE. Have to re-verify with HMRC again (after having a nightmare with it first time round). To make matters worse, I'm working at the client's after the phones have been switched to Night Mode, so can't get the access code from HMRC. The two clients I've got on SAGE are paying 3 times the amount that my QB clients are paying so God only knows why they've stayed with SAGE, they certainly don't get 3 times the service.

I shall have another go at converting them to QB - if not, I'll be telling them to submit their own VAT returns.

Rant over!

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Replying to djames:
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By johnhemming
20th Nov 2019 21:38

You could try bridging from Sage. Then you would not have to reauthorise every time.

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Replying to johnhemming:
Morph
By kevinringer
21st Nov 2019 09:00

Personally I think it is less hassle to re-authorise than to bridge. V26 includes an option to not re-authorise. That seems to be working ok.

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By pmcgrorty
03rd Mar 2020 15:12

Hi folks

Anyone know the latest on this?

We have Sage telling us it is a HMRC problem & HMRC telling us it is a Sage problem!

What we know is that each time we submit a return of any kind we have to Grant Authority to Sage even though within the HMRC portal it says Sage is authorised.

I've just seen Quickbooks submit a return and it did not have to have Authority granted as it was already authorised.

From what we can see there is a problem with Sage but they do not appear to want to aknowledge this?

Or perhaps I have got the wrong end of the stick on this.

Patrick

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Replying to pmcgrorty:
Morph
By kevinringer
03rd Mar 2020 16:34

It is a Sage problem because it only happens with Sage. It does not happen with the other MTD software we use (QuickBooks and Abolsute). Sage v26 includes an option to not request re-authorisation.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By pmcgrorty
05th Mar 2020 12:08

kevinringer wrote:

It is a Sage problem because it only happens with Sage. It does not happen with the other MTD software we use (QuickBooks and Abolsute). Sage v26 includes an option to not request re-authorisation.

Thanks, thought it was.

Had a rather heated discussion with Sage where the lady just kept telling me this is the way it is meant to work and it should authorise every time.
Was not interested in the fact that Quickbooks does not need this or in fact why would HMRC put the ability to memorise this if it did not work.

Can you point me to the Option in Sage V26, I've not seen this and can't find anything in the options?

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Replying to pmcgrorty:
Morph
By kevinringer
05th Mar 2020 13:29

The option appeared when we first ran each MTD VAT in v26. I ticked the option and it disappeared. I can't find it but maybe it remains hidden until the 18 months have expired? Settings>MTD for VAT have a 'Store your ASA credentials' greyed out. I could make it active by selecting 'Delete stored credentials' but I don't want to do that. If you are not prompted contact Sage support.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By pmcgrorty
05th Mar 2020 22:08

kevinringer wrote:

The option appeared when we first ran each MTD VAT in v26. I ticked the option and it disappeared. I can't find it but maybe it remains hidden until the 18 months have expired? Settings>MTD for VAT have a 'Store your ASA credentials' greyed out. I could make it active by selecting 'Delete stored credentials' but I don't want to do that. If you are not prompted contact Sage support.

Thanks,must be differnet for an Agent service Account (ASA) as we do not have this option on a multi-company version.

Interesting when searching just now I found this within the Sage Help.
"Authority must be granted each time you submit an MTD VAT Return"

But HMRC say "This authority will last for 18 months"

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Replying to pmcgrorty:
Morph
By kevinringer
10th Mar 2020 12:31

It is the multi-company ASA version that we are running.

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Replying to pmcgrorty:
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By johnhemming
03rd Mar 2020 17:49

It is clearly something that works for the majority of MTD suppliers (in that authorisation lasts for 18 months unless you change things like the phone number associated with your gateway account).

I am surprised Sage cannot get this fixed it isn't exactly rocket science.

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By pmcgrorty
05th Mar 2020 12:10

johnhemming wrote:

It is clearly something that works for the majority of MTD suppliers (in that authorisation lasts for 18 months unless you change things like the phone number associated with your gateway account).

I am surprised Sage cannot get this fixed it isn't exactly rocket science.

Thanks, we have been with Sage since back in either late 80's or early 90's and the MSDos days.
Very unhappy that they are fobbing us off about this consdiering what they are charging us each month.

Seems that MTD is a very good money spinner for these companies.

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By Helen Hunt
27th Apr 2020 11:58

I completely agree with the complaint against Sage software on this. I submit VAT returns under Sage 50 cloud version 26.1.99.0 internally for several companies. I have to re-grant the "18-month" authorisation for EVERY quarterly VAT return I submit. I also submit a VAT for Quickbooks which doesn't require it. I cannot see any option to retain the grant for 18-months because I would definitely tick it and could do without the hassle!

As for sorting it out with Sage - I too do not want to spend over an hour explaining this to some helpdesk before anyone even tries to remedy it. Their "quick fix" suggestion is to ask the community. I absolutely agree - the annual software cost is so high, yet we are asked to sort it out amongst ourselves so they don't have to provide the support. Rubbish!

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Replying to Helen Hunt:
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By pmcgrorty
28th Apr 2020 12:39

It is even worse if you or on monthly returns. ;)

Just done March (year end so delayed to catch things), this is a real pain.

Will have do the same again for April next week!

Sage must know it is not correct but are happy just to keep taking money of cusotmers every month.

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By Helen Hunt
27th Apr 2020 12:04

Whilst the rant is on... In Sage when you get to the VAT submission screen the visible VAT quarter dates are for the quarter you are in, and you have to drop down the list to find the last quarter which 99.9% of people will be submitting. It is a madness default!

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Replying to Helen Hunt:
Morph
By kevinringer
27th Apr 2020 14:07

I agree Helen. This catches users out. Why did Sage design it like this? It makes no sense.

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Replying to Helen Hunt:
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By pmcgrorty
28th Apr 2020 12:40

Yes this is very silly.

Surely you would think it would default to the oldest period not yet posted.

Far too sensible probably.

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By pmcgrorty
28th Jun 2020 16:53

Just done the May return.

Once again look out the Gateway login User Name / Password and enter these again.

Same message, Grant Authority, "this will be valid 18 months......."

The more I have to do this the madder I get. :(

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Replying to pmcgrorty:
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By Helen Hunt
29th Jun 2020 08:29

In Sage City the response was that it would be amended in version 26. Yep - that's the version I am using and it is certainly not the case!

Other software packages manage it!

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Replying to Helen Hunt:
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By pmcgrorty
03rd Jul 2020 11:23

Helen Hunt wrote:

In Sage City the response was that it would be amended in version 26. Yep - that's the version I am using and it is certainly not the case!

Other software packages manage it!

Same here, I'm now about to do the June return so will have to enter everything again.

The reall annoyance for me is that Sage is brushing is off saying that is the way it is supposed to work, we all know it is not.
Old saying of mark of any true company is how they respond when thing go pear shaped and Sage have shown their colours. Their priority is to collect money through their subscription model and offer no real support to the customer.

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