From 1 April 2019, VAT returns are changing for the majority of organisations as you’ll need to keep digital VAT records and submit your VAT return electronically to HMRC, using accounting software that interacts with HMRC’s portal. This is due to the Government programme, Making Tax Digital (MTD), which is part of their move to digitise and streamline the monitoring and collection of tax.

If you run a business that’s VAT-registered and has a turnover of £85,000 or more, you’ll need to be ready to submit digital VAT returns from 1 April 2019. That includes sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and non-UK businesses registered for UK VAT with turnover above the VAT threshold. For trusts, certain charities and complex organisations, HMRC have deferred the deadline to 1 October 2019. If you are in any doubt as to what you need to do and by when, please get in touch with our team.

Simple HMRC compliant accounting packages for your business

Accounting software packages are very popular. They make it easier for you to keep your accounts in good order, and will also help your accountant do your books at the end of the financial year more efficiently. There are over 150 accounting packages that already ‘talk’ to HMRC’s portal, so in no particular order, here are 7 of the many cloud computing accounting packages on the market. We’re happy to provide information on other options available or help to make the switch. If you need help, simply ask us.

  • Sage Business Cloud

We use Sage, which is software that has been designed to offer solutions for businesses of all sizes. It will take care of your accounting and payroll needs, at the same time as helping you stay in line with UK taxes, regulations and laws. 

  • QuickBooks (Intuit)

 This package is aimed at the self-employed, small and medium sized businesses, helping you to keep track of expenses, invoices and transactions, and manage and pay the bills.

  • FreeAgent

Whether you do your own books for your accountant to review or have accountancy support from start to finish, FreeAgent online accounting software is for small business owners and freelancers and can help you keep on top of all aspects of your accounts.

  • Zoho

Cloud-based accounting software package that takes care of your bookkeeping needs, and monitors your cash and business workflows to enable you to work collectively across all departments.

  • Xero

This online accounting software connects you to accountants and bookkeepers, your bank, and a huge range of business services to allow you to digitally manage your VAT returns.

  • 123 sheets

This software is compatible with Microsoft Excel 1997 through to the latest versions and they work with business of all sizes. They are fully compliant with HMRC and allow you to view your submitted VAT returns and check how much you owe online.

  • Tax Optimiser

No software to download or plugins enables an integrated solution for MTD requirements and means you can use any spreadsheet program so you probably won’t have to start from scratch.

These are just some of the options available. HMRC has collated a list of over 250 different software choices which all include the ability to submit VAT Returns in interaction with the HMRC portal.

See the Government’s list: Find software for Making Tax Digital for VAT

Make sure you’re ready

We’re ready, are you? HB Accountants recognise that it’s demanding for people to know what to do to comply with the new MTD requirements. It’s a common misconception that businesses think they don’t have to do anything since they’re already submitting their tax returns online. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as all your online submissions, be it accounts or spreadsheets, must now directly interlink with the HMRC system.

Our list gives a good starting point for accounting software packages that do link with the HMRC system, and we can draw on our experience of using different packages to provide practical advice tailored to your specific business needs. Simply give us a call on 01992 444466 or email