19 Feb 2018 8:11 AM

HMRC is looking for volunteer businesses to test its Making Tax Digital (MTD) pilot for VAT. The pilot should begin in April 2018, with selected businesses submitting their VAT returns via the new system.

MTD will be introduced for VAT from 1 April 2019, and then only for those businesses whose turnover meets the VAT threshold – currently £85,000 per annum. The pilot for VAT will only be open to a small number of businesses. Those chosen will submit their VAT returns using the MTD system, with HMRC monitoring progress to ensure everything is working as expected. HMRC promises access to plenty of help, and they will be able to check things are correct throughout the process.

In order to take part in the pilot, you must be using compliant software, and some products will not be ready for the April start date. If you are considering taking part, you can take advantage of the following:

  • You will have the opportunity to get used to the system before it becomes mandatory.
  • You will have access to more support.
  • HMRC will keep you up to date with what is happening as the service develops.
  • You get an opportunity to influence how the service looks and feels.

HMRC has made it clear that you will not be under greater scrutiny than normal if taking part. Any monitoring will be for testing purposes only, with no additional compliance checks. And you can leave the pilot at any time.