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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet

VAT and Making Tax Digital - "VitalTax" app?

Joined:Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:02 am
VAT and Making Tax Digital - "VitalTax" app?

Postby TaxLobster » Fri Dec 17, 2021 6:48 pm

I have a personal services company and am VAT-registered (flat rate; by choice and for client-related reasons, since my turnover is below £85K).

Up until now I've been submitting my quarterly VAT returns very simply, by logging in to my HMRC account and copying over the numbers in the relevant cells in my Excel accounts spreadsheet into Boxes 1-9 at HMRC. However, after 1 April I'll need to do this process 'digitally' :roll: so am looking for a suitable way of doing this. (It would be in fact be possible for me to de-register from VAT if need be, so I'm really not interested in an expensive or arduous software solution.)

Now, I've come across an 'add-on' for Excel at called 'VitalTax', which appears to be exactly what I need - apparently it links your spreadsheet to HMRC and then for each VAT return you simply enter the spreadsheet cell address for each of the 'Boxes', and at the click of a button it uploads them to HMRC. Just like what I do now, using copy-and-paste.

So, my query! Has anyone used VitalTax; and/or have any comments? I'm wary of installing random software but I would hope that the fact that it's sanctioned by Microsoft means it ought to be fine? I'm struggling to find any real user feedback about it online, so wondered if anyone here might be able to advise?

Trevor S
Joined:Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:37 am

Re: VAT and Making Tax Digital - "VitalTax" app?

Postby Trevor S » Sat Dec 18, 2021 7:10 pm

I don't have any experience of this add-on (hopefully others here will have) - but it sounds like what HMRC refer to as "bridging software", linking an existing spreadsheet to HMRC's systems.

There is nothing wrong with using bridging software (rather than buying some small business accounting software) - but you do need to make sure that the process as a whole meets the MTD criteria. In particular:
  • you will need to hold certain information digitally - see HMRC notice 700/22 section 4.3 (and 4.6 regarding the flat rate scheme). This may mean that you'll need to add extra sheets and/or columns to your spreadsheet and input types of data that you don't currently need to.
  • you'll need to ensure that anything you do to get from the transaction data to the figures that the add-on picks up counts as a "digital link". See 4.2.1 of the same notice. If your spreadsheet needs no manual intervention each quarter (e.g. no need to copy/paste from one area to another, no need to manually input or amend formulae, etc ) you might already meet this.
Even if your spreadsheet doesn't currently meet these MTD criteria, it should still be possible for you to tweak it so that it does. It's just something that you'll need to do (and test) in time for the first return.

In case you don't already have it, here's a link to the HMRC guidance that I've referred to:

Return to “VAT & Excise Duties”