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Making Tax Digital

From 1 April 2021, all compulsorily VAT-registered businesses that submit electronic VAT returns are required to digitally link the business records to their VAT returns. This must be done by using HMRC approved bookkeeping software. This can include spreadsheets prepared in Microsoft Excel, or similar software, but the key point is that the data must flow automatically from the initial manual input to the VAT return. HMRC does not accept that the use of cut-and-paste or copy-and-paste to move information between software programs, or within different parts of a software program, to be a digital link.

Initially, there was a soft-landing period where these rules were not being enforced, e.g. cut-and-paste techniques were still being permitted, though HMRC were encouraging businesses to follow them as closely as possible. From 1 April 2021, HMRC will enforce the rules and penalties will be charged for non-compliance.

Businesses should refer to the information contained in VAT notice 700/22 for further information regarding the Making Tax Digital for VAT initiative and their corresponding responsibilities.

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