Optimise Users – Complying with Making Tax Digital for VAT

Written by Gordon Kinnear

Topics: Optimise News

For background information about Making Tax Digital (MTD) see our simple guide to Making Tax Digital for VAT.

If you hold some or all your VAT return information within the Optimise System, we have set out below what you need to do to comply with HMRC’s new Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT legislation.

Joining the HMRC Making Tax Digital Service

You will probably have received the letter below from HMRC. DO NOT join the service yet until you have everything ready as detailed below, otherwise you will be expected to submit returns digitally straight away.

Optimise Program Approval

MTD Links to the HMRC portal have been written into the Optimise program and our software is now recognised for HMRC’s MTD service. We will be rolling out the new MTD-ready version of Optimise shortly across our userbase. As you will not need to use the new MTD program until July 2019 at the earliest, there is plenty of time to get this new version installed.

Preparation for MTD

(1) Get your VAT information right in Optimise. HMRC require you to use figures direct from your software system. You need to be using the Optimise VAT Form snapshot figures unaltered to comply with HMRC’s MTD service.

(1a) If you currently use the VAT Form snapshot to submit your VAT online using the HMRC portal then you are already well prepared. Just keep doing what you do now and let our helpdesk know when your VAT quarters run so that we can schedule you to get the new Optimise MTD-ready version.

(1b) If you don’t currently use the VAT Form snapshot but are basing your VAT Return on the Optimise Nominal VAT Report then you need to check the new VAT Form snapshot to ensure it shows the same figures you have submitted for previously submitted VAT returns. If VAT Form figures do not match the Nominal VAT Report, contact our helpdesk as it is likely that there is simply some configuration of your system required. Again, just keep doing what you do now and let our helpdesk know when your VAT quarters run so that we can schedule you to get the new Optimise MTD-ready version.

(1c) If you currently use some information in the Optimise program but work out your final VAT Return “off-system”, for example in a spreadsheet, then you have some work to do. All your VAT information needs to be posted into the Optimise program in order to comply. If you contact our helpdesk, we can assess your current processes to determine what you have to do to comply and whether you might require either some training or a different version of Optimise. For example if you pay VAT on a cash accounting basis and you are not using the cash accounting version of the Optimise software. Alternatively, you could keep doing what you do now but use an approved MTD “bridging software” to submit your VAT return information from a spreadsheet. This option may not be available long-term but may be the best option if you are unable to make the necessary process adjustments quickly.

(2) Get the new (MTD-ready) Optimise version. We will be contacting you when the production version is ready. We will be providing help information on the MTD elements of the Optimise program. Important note: this version requires a minimum of SQL Server version 2012 for on-premise databases (Microsoft Azure cloud server is compatible). If running on an older version of SQL Server, contact our helpdesk for options.

(3) Check how MTD-ready your system is by running the Optimise VAT Checklist snapshot (Id 204).

(4) Join the HMRC Making Tax Digital Service. The Optimise MTD program will have a link to the HMRC website to do this. Important Note: Do not join the service until the end of your first VAT quarter that starts after 1st April. If your VAT quarter runs April-June then you do not need to join the service until July. If May-July then August. If June-August then September.  If you join before these dates then you will no longer be able to submit your VAT return by hand on the HMRC portal so make sure you have completed (1) and (2) above before joining.

To find out more about Optimise visit our website.


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