Business type - VAT server error message - partnership to sole trader

I originally posted this query back in May and the issue has been on hold with HMRC support since then until now. HMRC have now replied and their reply has led me to suspect that the issue is that the business type in Quickfile is still Partnership (because we have simply continued the business with the same VAT number) but should now be Sole Trader. So my question now is how can I migrate the existing partnership Quickfile data into a new sole trader Quickfile account?

Original message:-

I am receiving the following error persistently (over a week) when selecting Create New VAT Return : HMRC returned a server error, this usually occurs when their service is temporarily down for maintenance. . I have filed MTD returns successfully previously but the business has recently changed from a partnership to sole trader which may be relevant - all necessary forms submitted to HMRC.
HMRC VAT Webchat confirmed that there were no issues at their end and put me onto the Digital Customer Support Team, who report they are investigating the problem. Filing deadline is today. Can you do anything to help please?

And this is the relevant part of HMRC’s reply:-

If you are still unable to submit returns, you should double -check you have selected the correct entity type for the business.

Many thanks for your help.

Hi @Susan_Appleton

The business type on QuickFile wouldn’t make a difference to the VAT submission as this isn’t checked against their records, or even supplied to HMRC. All they receive is your VAT number, authentication details and the values in the VAT return boxes.

Have you tried disconnecting your HMRC and re-linking it? More often than not, this will resolve the issue.

Hi Mathew,
Sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for getting back to me, that’s useful to know. I’ll get back to HMRC as their suggestions so far haven’t appeared to provide a solution.
I have tried several times in Quickfile to disconnect HMRC and re-link but the error remains. Just to be absolutely sure that I’m doing this correctly - in VAT Settings I am unticking the Use MTD Features box then saving, next re-ticking the Use MTD Features, selecting the HMRC Account from the dropdown box and then saving. Is this the correct procedure or am I missing anything?
Many thanks once again for your help.

Hi @Susan_Appleton

If you go to Reports >> HMRC, and click “View” next to your tax account, you will see a “Disconnect” button at the top.

This completely breaks the link between QuickFile and HMRC.

You can then go ahead and re-link it by going through the authorisation process with HMRC. And hopefully, that will fix it for you :slight_smile:

Thank you Mathew, pleased I checked, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing in my case. I have re-linked to HMRC but the server error message is still there. I’ve followed HMRC’s suggestions and they haven’t worked, so have reported back to HMRC. Not sure how long it will be before I get a response but may well be in touch again - at least to report hopefully how the issue has been resolved.

I know of someone who has written their own excel bridging module for mtd, one of its abilities is to display the type of response received from hmrc when attempting to connect. Which will allow you to narrow down the issue. For the life of me I can’t remember his name. But he’s a member of another accountancy group I belong to so I’ll try and track it down for you.

In my opinion, you probably need to escelate the issue with hmrc to the technical team, as I don’t believe the reply you’ve been given is correct and sounds more like a fob off.

Its more likely when hmrc switched your vat number over from the partnership to sole trader they failed to either update the personal info for the associated vat number. Or they failed to link the correct open vat periods.

Here it is

I’m in no way promoting this over the use of quickfile, I’m simply suggesting you use it to link. Your vat account and test whether it pulls any open vat periods. If it doesn’t it will tell you why not instead of a generic internal server error.

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