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Seriously thinking about being MTD non-compliance

What does the community think?

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I've been delaying the MTD push, in the main because of all the negative threads here on Aweb putting me off and and a consequential forlorn hope that all the issues would have been sorted by now. As I'm back from holiday and with a deadline only a month or so away, however, I had girded my loins to start the process today.

Having just read this thread https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/making-tax-difficult-for-vat, however, I am seriously put off even starting the process.

It can't just be me who thinks the Revenue are seriously taking the p*ss here. They're treating us as unpaid beta testers (actually seems more like zeta testers) and assuming that we will *somehow* make their inept systems work for them even though they apparently can't.

So, bottom line, if I were to ignore MTD and continue to use the old HMRC Online Services for my few VAT clients for the time being, then I would be non compliant on their behalf. On the other hand, the Revenue have provided a solution which is clearly not fit for purpose. It doesn't matter to my mind, as they would probably argue, that some or even perhaps most people will eventually get this to work on time, the fact is that neither myself nor my clients are software programmers / expert users and we have a reasonable expectation that something we are asked to do should work first time, every time and the same way in every case (none of which currently seems to be the situation). We also have a reasonable expectation that this should be a seamless process which doesn't require inordinate time, again something which doesn't currently seem to be the situation.

So, what do people think my chances would be if penalties were raised and this went to tribunal?

Leaving that aside, the plus side of delaying would be a) the returns will definitely go in and HMRC will definitely get its tax (not something we can be sure will happen if the current MTD sign up farrago continues), and b) the whole issue that this is the worst possible quarter to start MTD is avoided.

The downside will be that, in reality, the process will almost certainly still be a mess next month when the next stagger of returns needs to be dealt with, so I am probably just delaying the pain rather than avoiding it.

 

Replies (35)

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By mumpin
12th Jul 2019 11:47

You're being hysterical.
Its a piece of cake.
Peter Saxton is 97.

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By Duggimon
12th Jul 2019 11:55

Nobody posts about the successful filing via MTD, ergo all the posts are negative.

It's really not that hard and works fine, most of the time. Set up your ASA, wait 72 hours. Then link all your clients and wait a bit. Then sign up those for MTD who have to be signed up and wait a bit again. Then add them in your software, whatever that is and have at it.

There's not much to it, the real problem is it's a bit of a faff and a long way round for no benefit to anyone, the same data goes to HMRC as before.

There's no real reason to throw your hands up and cry defeat without even trying though, and doing so definitely opens you up for penalties, the soft landing period doesn't apply if you don't try.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By adam.arca
12th Jul 2019 12:05

You're right.

But since no one who's successfully managed all of this has bothered to post with precisely how they did it, then it's difficult for the rest of us to know what they did.

If, on the other hand, you read the thread I linked (which I'm assuming you won't have done since it's not relevant to you) or any of the preceding dozens / hundreds (??) of negative MTD threads, then you would be left wondering how anyone navigates the series of obstacles and elephant traps which it seems almost any of us could fall into.

That said, on reflection, I probably am being defeatist. It's good to have confirmation that you (and presumably others) have found the process manageable. I'll have a think over the weekend, consider the comments of anyone else kind enough to reply, and probably re-gird my loins on Monday.

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Replying to adam.arca:
By Duggimon
12th Jul 2019 12:12

While I've not posted in Peter Saxton's thread I have read it, and if you read the dozens of other ones to which you refer I've posted in a lot of those offering help and, in some cases, resolving the issues people have had.

I've been able to help by explaining what I did, which was all based on the instructions I read online. I'm not going to pretend it isn't easy to make mistakes but if you follow the instructions exactly then you should be fine.

The biggest single issue people seem to have that keep reoccurring is related to cookies and saved files. I would recommend using either private browsing mode or a different browser or computer to get through at least the initial setup of the account. If you use the same PC and browser that you would normally use to access the HMRC site you may get diverted to the wrong page.

Also Firefox definitely doesn't work with the ASA.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By johnt27
12th Jul 2019 14:05

Duggimon wrote:

Also Firefox definitely doesn't work with the ASA.

I've been using Firefox and Chrome to access the ASA with no problems.

Setting up the ASA for us hasn't been an issue - it was done for the trust nonsense a while ago.

What had been problematic was that HMRC removed (it's now back) access to VAT registration certificates so getting agent authority which needs VAT reg date was proving to be a pain.

Other than that my only gripe has been the system is a bit glitchy ie client signs up for MTD and we get authority but they don't appear on our client list. If you go back through the authorisation process you get told you're already registered but this seems to kick them onto the list.

As for software we predominantly use Xero and haven't had any problems, we're also using bridging software with no issues and the only complaints I've had internally were with regard to Sage 50 being set up then losing authorisations and having to be redone, which also seems to have been resolved. The software houses have implemented MTD in differing ways - for some it's on by default, for others there's a checkbox or toggle to switch it on, occasionally buried in menu. Sometimes this is also linked to needing to change user permissions as well.

One of the things that really annoys me about the ASA and this is the same for the pre-existing agent services is that we have multiple users set up and it's a massive pain in the arse[***] to manage user access as HMRC only give you lists of clients based on their VAT number or UTR.

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By Maslins
12th Jul 2019 12:23

adam.arca wrote:

But since no one who's successfully managed all of this has bothered to post with precisely how they did it, then it's difficult for the rest of us to know what they did.


This isn't true, though I can understand why people might think it is.

A few months back I posted on an MTD related thread my frustration that for every post trying to provide useful guidance/asking genuine questions to try to help the community work through it, there were a dozen from people scoffing at how stupid it all was (of no use to anyone). I guess that's internet forums in general though.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By SXGuy
12th Jul 2019 13:21

Actually, I did post saying how easy it was.

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By legerman
12th Jul 2019 12:02

I'm setting up my ASA on Monday, then will add my 3 clients on Friday. Like you I've been putting it off but you have a duty of care to your clients and they get the nudge letters if you don't comply.

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By Tim Vane
12th Jul 2019 12:12

Given that the vast majority of people are managing to file I think your chances of winning anything at tribunal with that attitude are zero. Get a grip man.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Jul 2019 12:32

In answer to the question

"So, what do people think my chances would be if penalties were raised and this went to tribunal?"

There are no penalties. The only possible penalties around bookkeeping require a warning. So you wont get any, probably some snotty letters eventually, but so what?

We have filed some under MTD this quarter, but only a sample. To be fair its been fine once I got my head around the ridiculous fact that the same link (when bookmarked) can take you to different locations on HMRC's systems. So I have now bookmarked HMRC's launch pages, from which it works fine. But its possible too late to start now with swapping DD's over.

I would concentrate on your July quarter ends. Perhaps pick 3-5 clients, get it working, and then go fill bore by the September quarter end.

I should point out I am still doing all the normal manual adjustments I always have done, not a single process has changed at the client end or mine, just the pinging the data to HMRC is in a different manner.

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By SXGuy
12th Jul 2019 13:23

Ive signed up clients perfectly fine.

What id suggest, is you take note of every clients vat reg date, and vat number before you proceed as you wont get them back again (yet)

Once your ASA is up and running and you have linked your old agent account, its pretty simple to switch clients over.
Once confirmation is received, wait a few days, then test via your mtd software.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
12th Jul 2019 13:36

The snag with being deliberately non-compliant is that it's your clients who are taking the risk.

Have you considered Annual Accounting ?

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By johnhemming
12th Jul 2019 15:19

Some of my client have done monthly submissions since during the pilot scheme. I can see how long they use the server for and it is a couple of minutes or less. Lots of people are finding MTD quite easy and quite a few are not paying that much to do it. (Although the more expensive systems also have bigger marketing budgets).

My recommendation for agents was to put a single account through the pilot scheme to learn how to do it. That means that now they have no problems.

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By Cat's whiskers
12th Jul 2019 17:21

I've just submitted my first VAT return under MTD and all seems to have gone smoothly.

Getting set up in the first place was a bit long winded but if you follow the steps on the HMRC website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-tax-digital-for-vat-as-an-agent-step-... it is quite a simple process.

All seems to be a lot of extra hoops to provide HMRC with the same nine boxes of information. But we are just the minions doing what is required.

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By Kaylee100
13th Jul 2019 16:28

I dont agree with MTD in that it wont acheive what HMRC want it too and its a huge cost for some clients but, it is what it is, and no point going off on one. This is the brave new HMRC. Just look at the sudden reverse charge rules that were recently released. Who knows what it will be next week and thats with out a no deal Brexit.

I have a few monthly MTD clients so have filed already. Complete pains in the [***] in some cases (software not the client) but we successfully did them all. The proper quarter will be the next challenge, but Im sure we will be fine.

Just embrace it! And if you cant embrace it, get your [***] in gear!

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Replying to Kaylee100:
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By lionofludesch
13th Jul 2019 16:34

Kaylee100 wrote:
This is the brave new HMRC. Just look at the sudden reverse charge rules that were recently released.

Sudden ? I've known about the DRC since the Budget. Nothing in the press release was a surprise to me.

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By 2003bluecat
15th Jul 2019 09:39

It's been fine for us (I'm sure there is some psychological theory that people who are unhappy with something are 10 times more likely to share that feeling than those who are happy with something).

We following the HMRC guidance (as posted by someone else above) as well as the agent updates (the latest one I've linked below)

https://www.att.org.uk/sites/default/files/Making%20Tax%20Digital%20Upda...

As others have said , make sure you download the VAT certificates prior to signing clients up as they will no longer be available after (but HMRC have apparently said they will be introducing these to the ASA accounts at some non specified point).

All oft his of course doesn't change the fact that most (if not all) accountants feel it is a waste of time and an unnecessary burden, which then increases the likelihood of people criticising the whole thing wherever they can (and rightly so looking at some of the issues people have had).

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Replying to 2003bluecat:
By Charlie Carne
15th Jul 2019 13:57

2003bluecat wrote:

As others have said , make sure you download the VAT certificates prior to signing clients up as they will no longer be available after (but HMRC have apparently said they will be introducing these to the ASA accounts at some non specified point).


When did HMRC announce this and to what portal do they intend making the certificates available again? Will it be in the MTD-compliant software or will it be put back into the old agents' portal?
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Replying to charliecarne:
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By 2003bluecat
16th Jul 2019 09:25

charliecarne wrote:

2003bluecat wrote:

As others have said , make sure you download the VAT certificates prior to signing clients up as they will no longer be available after (but HMRC have apparently said they will be introducing these to the ASA accounts at some non specified point).

When did HMRC announce this and to what portal do they intend making the certificates available again? Will it be in the MTD-compliant software or will it be put back into the old agents' portal?

It was posted on this forum in answer to another question from someone who had spoken to HMRC (hence the "apparently" in my post). So take it as you will.

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Replying to 2003bluecat:
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By lionofludesch
16th Jul 2019 09:40

2003bluecat wrote:
So take it as you will.

Best to take anything HMRC say with a large pinch of salt.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By 2003bluecat
16th Jul 2019 09:54

lionofludesch wrote:

2003bluecat wrote: So take it as you will.

Best to take anything HMRC say with a large pinch of salt.

And tequila ideally.

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By stevec.cooperparry.com
15th Jul 2019 10:09

We signed up and have now filed numerous VAT returns with no problems at all. We just followed the instructions on the HMRC website.

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By Homeworker
15th Jul 2019 12:14

I too was seriously reluctant to get involved and last year passed on most of our business clients to a former colleague who has his own practice (we are preparing for retirement in a couple of years) but was still left with a couple that I really didn't like to pass on.
We had been using VT for accounts production and it is inexpensive and easy to use. They finally announced in March or April that they were going to add MTD to their package and having set up the ASA some time ago it was actually very easy to register the clients for MTD and to link them through the software - much easier than I expected. There is no fuss with having to use linking software, we simply entered the data and filed the return when it was ready. The bonus is that VT is actually easy enough for a relatively inexperienced client to use (a hairdresser in fact), so she makes the primary entries, we transfer the data to our program to check them and amend as necessary (no cloud accounting involved) and transfer the data file back to her when we are finished.

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Replying to Homeworker:
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By nodrogbir
15th Jul 2019 12:47

may i ask the age of the hairdresser and if any extra cost is involved ?

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Replying to nodrogbir:
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By lionofludesch
15th Jul 2019 12:52

One never asks a lady's age.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Matrix
15th Jul 2019 22:58

Other than for AML purposes...

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Matrix
15th Jul 2019 23:00

Or whatever

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By John Wheeley
15th Jul 2019 12:18

I have just done my first VAT Return using MTD . It went very smoothly, I don't know what all the fuss is about, just follow the instructions.

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7om
By Tom 7000
15th Jul 2019 15:30

Don't be silly, you cant beat the system. You look at the system and surf it to the maximum effect.

Just use bridging software -it takes 5 minutes

I have a help sheet if you want it.

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By spuddle
15th Jul 2019 16:29

Also, for those who don't register for MTD but are clearly over the MTD registration threshold for box Box 6 entries I can see that HMRC will start to apply more pressure, even though that won't be conclusive as there may be non-taxable income (for MTD registration purposes) in the box. So they will have an easy target list.....

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By spuddle
15th Jul 2019 16:29

Also, for those who don't register for MTD but are clearly over the MTD registration threshold for box Box 6 entries I can see that HMRC will start to apply more pressure, even though that won't be conclusive as there may be non-taxable income (for MTD registration purposes) in the box. So they will have an easy target list.....

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By adam.arca
16th Jul 2019 20:25

OK, as the OP of this thread, I would just like to thank everyone for the time they took to answer and to give me the @rse kicking I needed just to get on with the job.

Which doesn't mean I don't still think that my moan about the Revenue treating the accountancy profession as their b1tches / get out of jail free card / safety net to produce any old half-baked software isn't totally valid!

Anyway, I now have an ASA (well, I already had one because of TRS) and I seem to have linked / copied my clients over. What happens next? I'm following the general advice to take this re....ally slowly and go with baby steps. Anyone care to comment? If so, I've created a new thread at....
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/mtd-yet-again

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