Making Tax Digital (MTD) reached its first milestone on 7th August, as the first VAT filing deadline was reached.

HMRC received a staggering 900,000 VAT submissions through MTD. HMRC has also shared that as of 7th August, 76% of VAT registered businesses (with a taxable turnover of £85,000 or more) signed up to phase 1 of MTD.

In the period leading up to the stagger 1 filing deadline on 7 August the service performed well, handling high volumes of traffic.  Over 60,000 submissions were filed per day at peak times and 19 businesses even filed their returns in the minute before midnight” said Theresa Middleton, HMRC Director of the MTD Programme.

Businesses that reach the threshold and have not yet signed up should expect to hear from HMRC to encourage them to join as soon as possible. HMRC’s first strategy to get companies who meet the threshold to sign up was met with a huge 89% success rate, after they sent monthly filers for the returns that were due on 7th June.

Although MTD isn’t mandatory for all VAT registered business yet, HMRC has seen an acceleration in voluntary MTD registrations, reaching almost 180,000 sign-ups for phase 2 and 124,000 for phase 3.

While MTD is a big change for business and agents, HMRC thanked all of those that worked hard to make it a smooth transition. Those who have now switched to MTD have taken the biggest step in their VAT journey and are on the right tracks to receive all the benefits of moving to the digital age of VAT filing.

To avoid customers having to be on hold, HMRC has provided additional helpline staff through July and August as they anticipated a heightened demand as they inched closer to the August deadline. The average wait time for June and (most of) July was less than 5 minutes. The highest average wait time over this period was during two weeks in July (W/C 1st and 29th) when the average wait time rose to seven minutes.

HMRC has stated that they are pleased with the progress of MTD, but they have also acknowledged that a small proportion of customer experienced issues when trying to meet the deadline. HMRC will continue to work on the service and try to ensure that the process gets smoother as each deadline passes.

It may be one small step for man, but it is one giant step for VAT filing.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help with your VAT returns.