I'm not going to go into great detail about what Making Tax Digital is (there are plenty of other blogs out there on the subject) but in summary, HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) require that all companies with turnover above the threshold submit their tax return digitally. This comes into force April 2019. In other words you can no longer go onto the website, fill in your 9 boxes, and hit submit.
What they want you to do is to have your ERP system (In our case Microsoft Dynamics GP) submit direct to HMRC and for you to store your tax records digitally.
This is only the first stage of HMRC's plans they have hinted there will be further requirements in the future.
So How does this effect Microsoft Dynamics GP?
Well first things first you are going to need to start using the VAT reporting functionality in Microsoft Dynamics GP. It has been my experience that a fair few companies prefer to do their VAT reporting outside of Microsoft Dynamics GP for multiple reasons. Again I wont go into all the reasons here but they include things like partial exemption and partial recovery or other such caveats that mean that the tax may not be fully determined at the point of transaction entry.
There are 2 ways of reporting on VAT in Microsoft Dynamics GP, these are the VAT Daybook and the VAT return.
The VAT return is a hangover from the old VAT100 report from the UK dictionary days and simply put, takes all of the TAX transactions that have tax details assigned to them and puts them in predetermined reporting buckets (your 9 boxes used by HMRC). This is not configurable , it simply pulls everything in.
The VAT Daybook report gives you more flexibility and control with configuration as it allows you to determine which details go to which reporting box.
Right that seems simple enough, which one should I use?
There are several things to consider here. There is less setup with the VAT return but the VAT daybook is more flexible. You also need to consider your reasons for why you were not using them in the first place. So for instance if it was because of partial recovery etc. Then you need to consider which of the 2 reporting options will work best with your chosen mechanism for dealing with the partial recovery.
Your Microsoft Dynamics GP partner should be able to help you here with some advice and there are modules for Microsoft Dynamics GP specifically designed to cope with some of these contingencies.
The advanced VAT module from Nolans Business Solutions is a good example of this (I'm not just saying that as I now work there, it is really good).
Also you will need to consider your final submission solution from Microsoft Dynamics GP to HMRC for Making Tax Digital. For instance the Microsoft hotfix released to allow digital submissions works with the VAT return. There are some caveats around this as well , so don't make your decision now as I'll discuss these later in the article.
With both of the above I would recommend running them in parallel with your current VAT reporting mechanism so you can be sure that you are getting the same results before you switch over entirely.
What submission software should I use ?
The main caveat here is it needs to be approved by HMRC, they have produced an interactive list on their website of all of the approved products. So if its not on that list you don't want it.
The interactive list allows you to specify which features you need. You don't need to digitally store your Tax (you are already doing that in Microsoft Dynamics GP). What you are after is something suitable for a business , that will do the bridging and will check what vat you owe and your payment history. Again viewing submitted returns is not necessary as you have those records in Microsoft Dynamics GP.
The next thing to consider is how the software is extracting your data from Microsoft Dynamics GP.
There are 2 basic ways of doing this. The first is a link directly into the ERP software that takes the data and submits it to HMRC. The second is an upload or a bridge where you you push data into your chosen piece of software from a csv file or spread sheet or even manually enter it and it then submits this digitally to HMRC.
You may remember that earlier in the article I hinted that there were further plans from HMRC, well we are led to believe that in the future the ability to submit from a spread sheet or csv file may well be discontinued and that the direct link will be the preferred method from HMRC. This means that if you go for a solution that only has this csv method and no direct link it may have a limited life span.
So having considered the above submission types and found and ensured that our preferred solutions are on the approved list we are ready to start making some decisions.
Microsoft have released their own solution in the February hotfix for Microsoft Dynamics GP.
This works in the direct link method mentioned above and pulls from the VAT return (its triggered when you finalise the submission), however it only works for Microsoft Dynamics GP2016 to Microsoft Dynamics GP2018 R2. So if you are on an older version of Microsoft Dynamics GP you will need a different solution for submitting to Making Tax Digital.
If you wish to submit by the CSV file method then there are several solutions available and because it is not using the direct link they are not product specific this will mean they get around the versioning issues with Microsoft Dynamics GP and the february hot fix.
However, if you wish to use the direct Link method then Nolan Business Solutions have their Nolan Cloud Services offering which will do both link and csv options and the Link will work with Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, GP 2013, GP 2015, GP 2015 R2 and upwards for making tax digital. If you are using Nolans Advanced VAT then you need to be on Microsoft Dynamics GP2015 and upwards. At the time of writing I believe this is the only other link option for Microsoft Dynamics GP that's on the HMRC List.
So In Summary
- Enable your Vat reporting in Microsoft Dynamics GP
- Ensure you have a mechanism for dealing with any different VAT requirements you may have (Partial recovery etc.)
- Make a decision on Submission type (Link or CSV)
- Ensure your chosen solution is on the HMRC List
- run in parallel with previous reporting method to ensure the accuracy of results.