Thomson Reuters joins the MTD bridging charge

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Thomson Reuters has joined the ranks of Making Tax Digital-compliant software with the announcement that it has successfully used its cloud-based Onvio solution to make a full MTD for VAT submission.

Provided as an alternative to the current government gateway, which will disappear for businesses in scope of the new Making Tax Digital rules from 1 April 2019, Onvio VAT is the type of tool HMRC refers to as bridging software as it allows importing of the nine VAT boxes from an Excel (XLSX) spreadsheet.

Integrated with the Digita Professional Suite, Onvio VAT is a cloud-based tool that allows accounting firms to collect and report MTD for VAT data electronically to HMRC on behalf of their clients.

Onvio VAT uses Excel named ranges to import data, so for example when populating Box 1 (VAT due on sales), the tool will look for an Excel cell called “OnvioVATBox1” in the VAT spreadsheet and import that data.

Therefore, if an accountant has a client with an existing VAT spreadsheet, they will not have to change the data or the format in which it is recorded: whoever is responsible for the spreadsheet can create the cells and make the correct formulas to import the data are in place.

A spreadsheet template is provided as part of the Onvio VAT package, but users are free to define their own templates should they wish. A demo of the Onvio VAT product and the associated Excel template are available to watch from 2m55 into this video presented by Thomson Reuters’ Mark Purdue:

The tool supports spreadsheets in XLSX format, which is supported by Microsoft and all their products from 2007 onwards.

Onvio VAT is available for purchase as a standalone tool or integrated with other Onvio products. Pricing is available on request.

User-driven tool

According to Mark Purdue, MTD specialist at Thomson Reuters, the product was borne out of a Thomson Reuters user survey to find out what they wanted from an MTD for VAT solution.

The survey found that 93% of respondents currently did not use VAT-specific software, with the vast majority of VAT work being done on a spreadsheet or directly in bookkeeping products. 85% of users currently use the government gateway for submitting their VAT data, with 60% stating that they frequently needed to export data from their bookkeeping product and make some form of VAT adjustment in a spreadsheet.

Responding to these most-requested functionality requests, Thomson Reuters built spreadsheet integration and the ability to replicate the nine boxes for submission to HMRC into Onvio VAT.

MTD ‘accountants greatest challenge’

Commenting on the announcement Mark Purdue, MTD specialist at Thomson Reuters, said: “We believe accountants will play a vital role in helping their clients manage their VAT returns in the new era of MTD.

“However, they need to start preparing for this revolutionary change and make sure that they choose the right technology to support their clients. Onvio provides the cloud-based platform that accountants will need to automate processes and continue to provide the tax compliance services their clients expect.”

Gary Jacobs, director at Essex-based firm Eazitax, was one of the first practices to submit an electronic return using Onvio VAT. He commented: “Our practice is already planning the move to Making Tax Digital and we are excited about the opportunities this presents to streamline the compliance process and provide an improved service to our clients.”

Based on the recent Thomson Reuters Accountant of Tomorrow Survey, 65% of accountants feel that MTD is their greatest challenge, and 95% of accountants feel that their role is likely or very likely to change due to technology including MTD.

More information on the Onvio for VAT product is available here.

About Tom Herbert

Tom is editor at AccountingWEB, responsible for all editorial content on the site. If you have a story that might interest us or wish to comment on the site's coverage get in touch via the site's private message function or Twitter DM (@AWebTom)


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By Dandan
14th Dec 2018 14:40

Unless I am mistaken, a web-based tool that pulls 9 figures from Excel and connects to HMRC's API has already been created by a large number of developers, even if not made available yet.

That will only satisfy the soft-landing transition period and only applicable to those in situations such as Part exemption, Group registration , accounting software dumping VAT figures to excel or any situation which necessarily requires adjustment of figures , either by agents or taxpayer.

For those who use excel for all their bookkeeping, this is not the solution. However, they need not despair. Some developers already have the situation in hand

Thanks (1)
to Dandan
17th Dec 2018 16:56

Why this is not the solution. Is it not MTD compliant?

Thanks (0)
By Dandan
to norwichaccountant
17th Dec 2018 18:05

norwichaccountant wrote:

Why this is not the solution. Is it not MTD compliant?

It is not the solution for those that use only Excel, although it might be acceptable in the year of transition when "copy and paste" is tolerated.

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