MTD for VAT undergoing maintenance until Tuesday

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HMRC has advised users that its MTD for VAT beta platform will be offline for maintenance over the weekend.

Existing participants in the MTD pilot scheme will be able to continue making submissions through the MTD gateway, but a service availability announcement issued on Monday explains that from 5:30pm on Friday afternoon until 8:30am on Tuesday 12 February. most elements of the service will be inaccessible, including:

  • The sign-up mechanism for the MTD for VAT pilot scheme

  • The online tax account showing previous submissions and payment details

  • Direct debit records and admin processes

  • Agent Services Account set-up.

The timing of the outage on the first weekend after self assessment season might make some sense, but as one industry source told AccountingWEB, this is exactly when a lot of accountants will be turning their attention to final preparations for the great MTD for VAT migration.

Any practitioner heeding the advice of their software developers and practice coaches might want to use this time to catch up with their MTD admin by setting up their Agent Services Account, getting clients to sign up and authorise them, and then migrating them into the pilot in time to do a test filing before the scheme becomes mandatory in April.

Those preparations will now not be possible until next week.

Opening up the pilot

A spokesperson for HMRC told AccountingWEB that the update will “release additional functionality to allow us to open up the pilot later in February to the majority of customers within the small deferral group.”

Back in October, the tax authority announced a six-month MTD deferral for a number of organisations with more complex requirements to give them “sufficient time for testing the service” before they are mandated to join.

Around 3.5% of VAT-registered entities will be mandated into MTD for VAT periods beginning 1 October 2019. These complex organisations include: trusts, not-for-profit organisations that are not companies (including some charities), VAT divisions, VAT groups, those public sector entities required to provide additional information alongside their VAT return, local authorities, public corporations, traders based overseas, those required to make payments on account and annual accounting scheme users.

Any business not in one of these groups and over the VAT reporting threshold (£85,000) will be mandated to keep their VAT records digitally and file their returns using MTD-compatible software from April 2019 as previously announced.

“We are undertaking scheduled maintenance of the service over the weekend,” continued the statement. “We’ve specifically chosen a time which will cause minimum disruption … Whilst most elements of the MTD VAT service will be closed during this maintenance period existing MTD customers will be able to make submissions through the MTD service.”

About John Stokdyk

John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight

AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.


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09th Feb 2019 16:42

Do everybody a favour and leave it switched off permanently. It doesn't achieve a benefit for anybody.

Thanks (7)
10th Feb 2019 12:02

Agreed. HMRC please keep it switched off until the day after Hell freezes over. Do everyone a big favour, not least of all yourselves when MPs realise what a white elephant you've sold them.

Thanks (5)
to mr. mischief
11th Feb 2019 12:48

As I have said before MTD for VAT (in its current form) is not going to close the tax gap due to errors on returns.

However the Treasury coffers are going to increase due all the penalties they are going to raise for non-compliance.

Thanks (0)
11th Feb 2019 10:36

getting clients to sign up and authorise them, and then migrating them into the pilot

Clients see no benefit at all in this.

We already have a system for filing VAT Returns which works.
Clients see zero benefit in signing up to this, or having their own access to their 'tax account'- it's why they appoint us in the first place.
It's all going to cost my clients a lot of money for zero benefit to them and no doubt more stupid queries from HMRC which will cost my clients even more.

Thanks (4)
11th Feb 2019 18:03

"Undergoing maintenance" probably means "it doesn't work properly".

Thanks (1)
11th Feb 2019 22:21

Note to HMRC IT:

Tuesday is a really bad day of the week to choose to bring back up MTD for VAT, so don't take the risk. Other really bad days are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Thanks (1)
to mr. mischief
12th Feb 2019 09:55

Sadly it is back open.

Overseas agents can now registers

All can join the pilot apart from overseas business (so trusts, other not for profit entities can join now).

Thanks (2)
12th Feb 2019 16:40

Whoever is in charge of this ridiculous system is as stubborn and unwilling to listen as Theresa May

Thanks (0)
to DaveyJonesLocker
12th Feb 2019 19:31

As I have said before MTD for VAT is happening. It is not being deferred again, it is certainly not being scrapped.

The HMRC are rubbing their hands in excitement at all the new penalties that can extract.

"I wasn't told about it. " Ignorance of the law is no excuse, just look at all the tribunal cases with non UK resident taxpayers (normally with no UK CGT liabilities) who have £1,300 late filing penalties for not doing a tax return 30 days after selling their UK property.

Thanks (0)
By davexyz
13th Feb 2019 16:21

So registered for for an "ASA" as an overseas agent

The Partnership has a UK office where it is registered for UK VAT but the partners are tax resident in another EU state

Entered the Business details, professional body, Membership No. Current Gateway Codes for the business which are linked to the UK address , Business Address which happens to be in the UK

BUT the system will not accept UK, Great Britain, England etc as a "valid country". So put in the EU state where the partners are tax resident.

So a London address in an EU State!!

Pressed "send"
Response is HMRC are now checking your information and will respond in 28 days . We may contact you for more details. If you are accepted then details of how to proceed will be supplied...

I imagine that a large number of overseas agents will have a UK address for correspondence etc but actually be based in a different tax jurisdiction but all HMRC codes and the Gateway is linked to the UK address.
As usual no analysis of any actual workflow, business structure has been made.
Except for "You must have a non UK address!!

HMRC software development has not progressed since the introduction of RTI which could not cope with entities registering for PAYE in the middle of a tax year . This generated fines as the first FPS of the year was not filed.!!

Thanks (0)
28th Mar 2019 16:39

What a crap idea MTD is!

As if getting it all setup is some "big secret" not so easily found out, the HMRC video showing you how to do it is wrong. As you follow each step you get a completely different result to that shown in the video.

So having enrolled clients for MTD and got the success notice today, I can no longer file any clients vat at all as they are "lost in the ether" between the old system and MTD (Error message telling me vat number is wrong!)

Meantime good luck trying to find out the mysterious phone number to the MTD team at HMRC.....

What a mess!

Thanks (0)