HMRC’s September Digital Services update

Oct 01, 2018

This month’s update features the latest on Making Tax Digital.

Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDB)


We continue to make good progress on the VAT and Income Tax pilots. Our priority being the VAT pilot and getting ready for April 2019. 

The number of developers/organisations who have shown an interest in building a MTD VAT product is steadily increasing and currently stands at over 300 - almost double since we published the list of Software suppliers supporting Making Tax Digital for VAT in July.  This page now lists 45 developers who have tested their products in our test environment and already demonstrated a prototype of their software to HMRC. 

We continue to test submissions of VAT returns on new products as they are ready and once we have suitable volunteer - a business (or agent acting for them) that has used the software for a full period, and meets the eligibility criteria.  We monitor each of these test submission closely to ensure the software works as expected.

Since last month we have successfully tested the end to end journey for customers using direct debits.  This significantly increases the number of potentially eligible volunteers. 

Following publication of the VAT Notice in July the Government Digital Service (GDS) have proposed using the content of the VAT Notice to create a series of accessible guides on GOV.UK for non-specialists. 

We have also taken some of the key information from our communications pack published in July and repositioned it for businesses.  We aim to promote it over our social media channels and direct to businesses over the next month.

We will test drafts with stakeholder groups that we developed the VAT Notice with, to ensure it meets user needs.  These guides may supersede the Notice but no decision on that has been made yet.  Timing is likely to be over the next month or two.  In the meantime, we will continue to consider suggestions for improvements to the Notice and areas where additional guidance on MTD VAT might be useful.  Please feedback via the secretariat or to Heather Elliott. 


We are presenting another Talking Points Webinar on 18 or 19 September - Making Tax Digital for Business and VAT.

This session will cover information published in the Making Tax Digital VAT notice including:

  • record keeping requirements
  • making adjustments
  • what we mean by ‘digital links’
  • an explanation of the ‘soft landing’

If you are new to Making Tax Digital, you may want to review the page Help and support for Making Tax Digital before the session.  Sessions are available on: 

We will cover similar content to the last webinar - briefly recapping the key topics plus more of the frequent questions and common misunderstandings. 

Agent Services Account

Over 7000 UK agent firms have set up an agent services account and are ready to act for their VAT clients in MTD or other new digital services such as registering a trust or estate.

Alongside, the agent services account, users can:

  • link their existing agent-client relationships to their account and act for those clients without having to be re-authorised.Over 2,500 firms have used this service to date
  • complete an end to end a digital authorisation journey to create an agent-client relationship in MTD without the need for a paper form
  • break MTD relationships.

The services are delivering as designed with no issues, but we are making continuous improvements based on your feedback, and on user research.  For example, we have recently released significant updates to both the subscription and the linking agent-client relationships journey.

Over the next couple of months, the criteria for creating an agent services account will expand to non UK based agents.

For more information on the agent services account and Making Tax Digital, visit Help and support for Making Tax Digital, Making Tax Digital for VAT or the Agent Update: issue 66.

If your members are having trouble setting up an agent services account, they should use the ‘Get help with this page’ link which will be available on all relevant pages.  This will put them in contact with our Digital Customer Support Team who will be able to help.

Agents and Digital Forms

We are working on providing a better end to end experience for Agents when they use digital forms.

Volunteers wanted

iForms are planning to test the updated product (released in May 18) with Agent volunteers and would be grateful for any volunteers from VCG. Testing should take place week commencing 24 September. Agents wishing to volunteer should contact

Cyber Security

Cyber security threats are constantly evolving.  As you already know, the security of HMRC’s systems and customer data is one of our top priorities. See our Top tips to stay safe online – Tax agent blog for more information.”