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We are ceasing to offer the free VAT filing service from 1st  February 2021:

Sorry to all those clients and users who used the system - here are the reasons we have decided to stop:
  1. HMRC now require a huge amount of data embedded within the page when you log onto their portal. This means that we will have to spend about £10k to add in this data, if we were to do it.  We spent about £50k building the API and interface to operate from our system in Visual Studio (there were no vendors selling the API as a plug and play system). I have now written that off.
  2. The data (about you) the HMRC want the software to give them, is not necessary for filing data. The data required tells them who you are, where you are, how you got to their logon page, what equipment you use, and a small host of other data. Not of it is justifiable in my view.  
  3. Since the start of this journey, HMRC have not provided one single piece of code that would save developers from reinventing the wheel, to meet HMRC requirements. This insult is deeply offensive (code can be designed to be fairly straightforward and easily customisable). For me, this means that HMRC do not care one jot for small providers and the generation of competition - they simply seek an answer, and the company with the biggest resource wins.  
  4. From experience we know that the cost of obtaining one "free account user" works out at around £60 per sign up - and around £250 per active user, based on our experience of using Google Adwords (we are specialists in Google Ads Marketing).  There is no assistance (in fact there are positive road blocks) from HMRC to help make the software viable - providers are merely listed on their web site in and among the other 500+ potential suppliers. 
  5. All of this means that HMRC is pushing everyone to use one of a very small number of very large providers. In the end this will mean that the very large providers will then have lots of information concerning you the using business of their service, and be able to compete, kill your business, be difficult, hold you to ransom at will. 
So, we are stopping VAT filing as a service.

If you go to Avalara.com, and search for MTD VAT - they have a spreadsheet approach that allows you to copy data into the spreadsheet from other sources, and directly link named cells to the contents of your copied data. You can then file your VAT for free. 

As a solution it is not perfect, but it works. 

David Lynch MBA FCMA


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