The "challenge" continues.
Just a reminder - EVERY UK VAT REGISTERED COMPANY (that has to be registered) must be using the new "Making Tax Digital" API to submit VAT returns from April 2019. Do not forget!
We have s/w for this (Onion Accounts), tested, and approved, yay!
So we are trying to put the company (A&A) on the "pilot" so we can actually submit our own VAT return using the new system, before it is all mandatory. A final double check that all is working as it should.
We get to authorise it all, using OAUTH, and get an access token for the read:vat and write:vat access. But it does not work, we are told we are not authorised!
Checking the government gateway VAT pages it seems we have to "sign up" for the pilot. That may explain things, except if we are not signed up then why allow us to "authorise" the access? Surely the OAUTH process should be saying "You are not signed up for MTD VAT" rather than giving the access token and the failing when we try and get the VAT obligations? Crazy...
So, let's try and sign up.... Nope. We get "This service is only available to some limited companies, sole traders, partnerships and VAT groups." which is not that helpful.
We also get "You will be able to sign up for this service from April 2019."
Hang on?!?! This is "Sign up for the pilot". Why would I be able to sign up for a pilot in April 2019 when the pilot is surely over (as MTD VAT is mandatory from April 2019)? Surely they are not making people "sign up" for the mandatory process (they call it a "service" which I dislike).
A bit more digging and we find "You will not be able to take part in the pilot at the moment if you:" ... "currently trade with, or have traded with the EU".
Two issues with this...
Firstly, surely you want people on the pilot with the complex edge cases, not the "simple" cases. You want things to break (if they are going to break) in the pilot and not once the process goes live. So why exclude these edge cases?
Secondly, and this is where the mindset has got us brexit, what UK company does not trade with the EU? Hardly any, I bet. All of our customers and suppliers are in the EU! Yes, almost every single one is also in the UK, but the UK is part of the EU.
Is a Dutch company trading with a Dutch supplier, "trading with the EU"? If yes, then so is a UK company trading with a UK supplier. If no, then neither is a UK company trading with that Dutch supplier. Either the supplier (or customer) is in the EU, or they are not. They are not suddenly "not in the EU" if in the same country as the trading party. Next we'll say that trading with someone else in Bracknell is not trading with the UK, it is trading with Bracknell.
The ideas that there is the "UK", and there is this separate non-UK "EU", an idea perpetrated by HMRC in this case, is part of the problem, IMHO.
Update: Sounds like the "traded with EU" restriction goes away next week, so we may be able to make some progress!
Update: (4th Dec) We have "applied" for the trial.
Update: (5th Dec) We managed to file a VAT return, just in time.