Important changes to non-MTD VAT filing from April 2021

Mar 26, 2021

On 7 April 2021, HMRC will be unplugging its “VAT XML” filing system for organisations that are voluntarily registered for VAT, but who are not yet signed up for Making Tax Digital (MTD).

HMRC should have written to you about this change, and, depending on your circumstances, you may have even heard from your software provider.

You will be affected by this change in one of two scenarios:

  1. You have an online account with HMRC which you log in to manually each quarter, and fill in 9 boxes ‘on screen’ as your VAT submission
  2. You use bookkeeping software to file your VAT returns electronically, but you have not registered for MTD

How to prepare for this change

In scenario 1, the only change that you should see is the layout of the screen used for keying in the figures for your VAT return.

But please be aware that this routine will change again in a year’s time when you will be obliged to register for MTD and use a completely different routine for filing your VAT returns.

In scenario 2, there may be less disruption to your routines, but you are likely to have to register for MTD and perhaps upgrade software that complies to the requirements of MTD. Submission of your VAT returns will still be electronic via your bookkeeping software, just to a different platform at HMRC’s end.

If you are about to file a February VAT return using accounting software, do so before 7 April and then register for MTD.  If your next return is for March, do not leave it until late in April to enrol for MTD – the registration process takes time to arrange.

If you have any concerns about preparing for these changes, please get in touch.

For further details, please contact John Skinner, on 01295 270200 or