Tuesday 7 January was the deadline for submitting VAT returns for periods to 30 November 2019, and at around 10.30am the MTD system which receives VAT returns went down for number of hours. This problem also affected the agent services account (ASA). The MTD system had a further “incident” on 8 January.

There is clearly an underlying problem as HMRC has announced that the MTD system will be taken down for maintenance from 11.59pm on Saturday 11 January to 2am on Sunday 12 January.

Two other persistent problems that may be fixed over the weekend concern VAT payments and repayments.

Where VAT is paid by direct debit some taxpayers have received a “VAT overdue” message before the amount due is collected by HMRC. Some direct debit instructions have not been carried over from the old system to the MTD system. Where a repayment is due the VAT repayment tracker for certain taxpayers shows the wrong amount of repayment.

The CIOT and ATT are trying to collect evidence from a wide range of accountants and tax advisers about MTD, in order to supply feedback to the government before a decision is taken on extending the scope of MTD. The further roll-out of MTD, or delay, is likely to be announced in the Budget on 11 March 2020.

If you have views on whether MTD is “working well” and therefore if the system is robust enough to be rolled out to other taxes, please complete the CIOT/ ATT survey (see link below). It only takes around 8 minutes and the answers are anonymous so can’t be traced back to individual respondents. The survey closes on Monday 13 January.