Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We have had a couple of instances where people have had a desire to increase the number of different VAT Registration numbers that they perform MTD Submissions for on a single machine.

There is no inherent limit to the number of separate VAT Registrations that can be submitted from a single machine, the actual number allowed is controlled by the license key (Activation Code).

If you wish to increase the number of VAT Registrations you submit for from a single machine can we ask you to make your desire known by contacting

We will ask you to make a purchase for the additional VAT Registration(s) in the normal way.

When the additional purchase comes through we will issue a new activation code which you will receive via email

You will need to register the new license activation code using the following procedure:

You need to select the Deactivate License option from the MTD Menu, to deactivate the old license:

The name on the menu will change to “Activate License” and when you select that option you can copy and paste the new license activation key into the box provided.

To activate the new VAT Registration Number you simply type the new number in the box and click “Select New”. This will take you through the Authentication Process with HMRC for the new VAT number as described in this video Making Tax Digital Solution | Authenticating with HMRC – YouTube.

If you wish to transfer your MTD license to operate on a different machine, you can take the following actions.

All the options in the steps below are available from this menu in the MTD system:

This series of steps will allow you to transfer the license and NOT have to re-authenticate with HMRC (it carries the authentication permission with it):

  1. Backup MTD VAT Details on the original machine
  2. Transfer the file created to the new machine (or save in a shared location in step 1)
  3. De-activate the MTD License on the original machine
  4. Activate the MTD License using the original activation code on the new machine.
  5. Restore the MTD VAT Details on the new machine

If these steps are followed there is no need to re-authenticate with HMRC (The necessary details are stored in the file that is backed up)

In the case of an unexpected situation arising we have to assume that it is not possible to de-activate the license key on the old machine, therefore you would have to buy a new license or request us to cancel your original activation code and re-issue a new one – for which there is a service charge of £25 plus VAT.

We would also assume that it would not be possible to backup the MTD VAT Details so you cannot restore them.

Not being able to restore from the backup would simply mean that you have to Re-Authenticate with HMRC, which is not a difficult procedure and one that you have to carry out every 18 months anyway (HMRC requirement).

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The most common reasons for this is that the User credentials for HMRC have been reset, The end-user has reset their Government Gateway password or changed the MultiFactor Authentication device associated with their account. This causes exiting agreements between our software and HMRC to be invalidated. This is far more common than we were expecting and could well be down to credential sharing/resets on shared accounts.

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It won’t but these are instructions about updates:

There could be a number of reasons as HMRC are not giving us a code to explain the true error, lets check these most common steps out first:

  • Have you registered on HMRC Gateway for Making Tax Digital for VAT?

Important: businesses should not register for MTD for VAT until they have filed their last return through the old xml route. This is because sign up migrates their record to the new HMRC MTD system and closes off the xml channel. 

You must sign up on the HMRC Gateway for this mandatory process.  HMRC say that you must sign up at least one week in advance,  The link they provide to take you through the steps is here:

  • VAT Number matches exactly with a VAT number on the account you have registered for above?
    You can authenticate the software using your existing HMRC Gateway Credentials, but HMRC do not check this with the VAT number that you entered into our software, the only check is when you start to use the VAT Number for calls to the HMRC system
  • You have selected the VAT number you want to use?
    Make sure you are using the VAT number that you require – as you will get an error back if you try to submit the incorrect VAT number, as this will not be authenticated.

This process is carried out once per VAT number and does not need to be repeated for 18 months

On an MTD enabled spreadsheet the top of the screen has a box into which you type the VAT number:

Having type in the VAT number you click the select new button and that will bring up the following box where you fill in the details relevant to the VRN. HMRC want the detail recorded but in fact the ONLY relevant piece of information is the VAT number itself – we just store the rest and do nothing else with it:

Note that the “Use the Test Sandbox” should be unticked and, for you, I believe the “Acting as Agent” should be unticked as well.

When you click “Save” you will find the prompt on the MTD form has changed:

If you click “Authorise it will take you to the relevant HMRC site for authenticating:

Clicking “Continue” takes you to the page where you enter your Gateway ID and password for the VRN (I have moved to our test gateway to demonstrate this, hence the references to test credentials):

Once successfully signed in you click the “Grant Authority” button:

HMRC will generate an authorisation code and pass you back to a screen where we display the code:

If you click the “Copy to Clipboard” button that memorises your code for entry in the MTD form, if you right click in the token input box you will get the context menu that will allow you to paste the code, equally you can type Ctrl and “V” together to paste directly:

With the code entered into the box you can then click the “Validate” button which completes the authentication by communicating the code back to HMRC:

On successful completion of the authentication process the screen will show:

At this point you can save the spreadsheet and complete the actual submission at a later date.

This process needs to be repeated for each VRN. It is allowed to happen before the registration process is complete.

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You can export to CSV or Text and then open those files in the newer versions of Excel, and still use the Making Tax Digital Solution

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I am afraid we cannot check directly with HMRC, they will quote data protections and the fact that I am not authorised as your agent. You could call yourself to check. Please be reassured that HMRC are not fining people who make a reasonable attempt to submit their VAT return on time (which you are clearly trying to do as you are reading this). They DO however expect you to pay your liabilities on time there is no special dispensation for late PAYMENT of your VAT liability.

If you open the spreadsheet you used to submit the return you should see this information in our MTD Display:

The information returned are references sent back by HMRC and cannot be made up by us.

You can also check on any spreadsheet with MTD enabled by hovering over the MTD Menu and select the VAT Details option:

This brings up a list of all the VAT Registration numbers used on the machine. If the column “Submissions” is ticked we have recorded a successful submission.

If you highlight a VAT number by clicking on the left hand column, then right click to bring up the context menu you can view submissions. This displays all the submissions that we have recorded for that VAT number.

If you have data in the Form Bundle column I would be very confident that you have successfully submitted your return. this is the HMRC confirmation code that they return to us and is your proof to them that you have submitted a return.

If ANY of this suggests that your VAT has not been submitted then please call and we can do a remote support session to watch the submission process, or repeat the steps you have already taken to understand why you may have got an error when asking for a list of liabilities. What happens if you select obligations?

In terms of your next VAT Return you can do a Save As to get a new spreadsheet. The only other step is that you need to clear the VAT Period that we record behind the scenes.  That is done by selecting the “Clear VAT Period” option from the MTD Hover Menu:

We have gone all the way back to 2008, but belive we could have gone back furthur, here is some of our testing for exporting the file:

I have just produced the attached file by running the print to file option in the VAT management part of Sage 2008. I then selected

“Comma Separated Value Files” in the “Save Report As” screen. I saved the CSV file.

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The oldest version of Excel that we support is Excel 2007 but it has to be running on Windows 7 or above to have access to the communications protocols we need to communicate with HMRC.

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