MTD sign-up issues

An update on errors and issues, and what you need to do

Futureproofing your practice was the main theme of last December’s ACCA roadshows. Numerous courses, technical guidance, webinars and showcases have also been made available to ensure that the first quarterly MTD VAT return submission on 7 August was trouble free. However, we know there were a few teething problems, which have been reported on your behalf.

As at 7 August, 370,000 (76%) VAT-registered businesses above the threshold in stagger 1 had signed up. HMRC is currently writing to stagger 1 business that did not sign to encourage them to join as soon as possible.

There is currently no data available of how many submissions were made via the larger software providers and how many via the linked spreadsheet ‘bridging software’ option.

Sign up to MTD

  • Even is the client uses MTD-compliant software they still need to sign up to MTD and enable the software to be MTD compliant.
  • If a business’s taxable turnover is below the threshold, they do not need to sign up or apply for an exemption.
  • If a business is deferred or exempt from MTD VAT, they need a letter from HMRC confirming that this is the case. If you haven’t received the letter, please contact the VAT helpline.
  • If you are setting up as an agent services account (ASA), HMRC has provided a step-by-step guide

Common problems

Users have encountered a number of problems:

‘Signing in’ page error

This error can occur when:

  • creating an ASA
linking clients or signing clients up to MTD
recovering/setting passwords
activations code lost or expired

  • locked out of your account.

Possible solutions:

check the step-by step guide on setting up an ASA
try to reset/recover the password

  • select the link ‘Get help with this page’ on the GOV.UK page you are on. This will raise a query with HMRC IT service desk
-call HMRC’s online support helpline on 0300 200 3600.

‘Client Agent not authorised’ (error 403)

This error means that HMRC systems:

  • do not recognise that there is an authorised agent-client relationship
the agent does not have an agent services account
the customer is not fully signed up to MTD

  • incorrect credentials have been used when attempting to link software.

Possible solutions:

check that the ASA has been properly created (refer to the agent step-by-step guide)
check if the client has received the email confirmation and that they clicked on the relevant link, which provides authorisation
check that the right credentials have been used when creating software access
  • check that the granted access is to MTD for VAT and not VAT online.

Internal server error (error 500)

This error means that the clients have not been fully migrated.

Possible solutions:

  • check if the client has received the email confirmation and that they clicked on the relevant link, which provides the agent authorisation
review the API documentation

  • if none of the above applies, contact the HMRC online services helpdesk on 0300 200 3600.

Page not found (error 404)

This can happen when:

  • the request has been made before the client is fully migrated
the request is for an obligation period that predates the business joining MTD

  • the request is asking to view liabilities or payments for a period that is not within MTD (they may not yet have submitted a return so no liabilities has been generated).

Possible solutions:

  • check that the client has received their sign-up confirmation email
wait until the VAT return has been submitted

Invalid Trader VRN (error 8508)

  • Agent/client is using old software or trying to file through the portal
  • Agent/client needs to get MTD compatible software and submit through there.

Server error: The 'organisations/vat' API is currently unavailable

This happens when HMRC is updating or going through maintenance of their website/systems.

Get in touch

If anyone has encountered problems other than those given above or has any suggestions as to how the process could have been handled more effectively, please let us know and we will submit to HMRC on members' behalf.

Other issues

  • MTD does not allow the returns to be resubmitted; returns will be rejected. Amendments should be managed using the existing process. If the amendment is under £10K, the information is provided on the next return. If it is over £10K, visit GOV.UK.
  • MTD does not support the EC sales list. The agent should use their previous way of reporting.
  • Deregistration from VAT through MTD: for guidance on how to proceed, go to GOV.UK.

May-July Stagger 2 reminders

  • It takes 72 hours for businesses to be signed up.
  • You also need to wait 72 hours from a client signing up to MTD before you can ask to be authorised. If you are already authorised you do not need to do this again.
  • Businesses that pay by Direct Debit cannot sign up in the seven working days before their filling deadline and the five working days after it.
  • Businesses that pay by Direct Debit should not sign up until their final non-MTD payment has been taken.