Making Tax Digital – yet more issues!

The 2-factor authentication needed for the HMRC accounts is fine for an individual, but it is a real pain for agents, especially those with multiple offices.

In some cases, due to the problems we had recently, which you can read here, we were set up to file VAT returns as if we were the client; not something to be encouraged but “needs must” from time to time. Some of the 2-factor authentications were set to call a staff member’s mobile phone. This is not ideal especially if they are off sick for any length of time – as happened recently! Generating a code within the HMRC app on a mobile phone is also a problem for the same reason.

It was therefore necessary to reset the 2FA to the main office telephone number. A phone call to HMRC in one case was all that was needed – reset with no problem.

With the next one, it was suggested by HMRC that a new user id be issued instead which would automatically ask for a new 2FA method. They were specifically asked if this would “mess up” the MTD already in place and was assured there would not be a problem.

But, needless to say there was….!

On logging in to the client’s Gateway with the new user id, previous returns were visible but, when viewed on 26 April, there was a clear message – “There are no VAT returns due”. But this client was in MTD, a return for the quarter to 31 December 2018 had been filed, and a return to 31 March was due as far as we were concerned. It was not possible to generate a VAT report in the online software, as this links into the HMRC systems, identifies the return periods due and the report is then generated. Needless to say, it could not find a return period and an error message appeared.

Rechecking in early May the message had changed – “There may be VAT returns due”. Not helpful!

By the 7th May, this message was still appearing, so it was simply not possible to file a VAT return. A VAT report could be generated for the specific date period 1/1/2019 – 31/3/2019 – but this would not pick up prior period adjustments and could not be “locked” to prevent changes either.

The solution? HMRC sent us a spreadsheet and we entered the figures into the spreadsheet and emailed it back to them! They said it would be keyed as if it had been filed under MTD.

A few days later, the accounts software does recognise that the next VAT return due is for the quarter to 30 June. However, there is no sign of the filed return in the software itself.

Another one – a client filed a 31.3.19 VAT return early on 1 April – through the old gateway and not through the MTD gateway. A filing receipt was issued, and notice was given of the DD to be taken on 10 May. Only when the DD failed to be taken did they query what was going on. HMRC support line was not helpful. We were told it would be automatically transferred from old gateway to new – but 6 weeks had elapsed. Eventually, it transpired that HMRC could find no record of the filing on their systems – despite having the receipt! So it was filed as an MTD return (late) and paid….late!

Does anyone else have issues…or I have just been unlucky?

Anonymous