Unable to file VAT return - error message

I am getting an error message which tells me that I am using adjustments and might need to use Bridging Software. I have been able to use QuickFile before to submit VAT returns with no problem. I do not have any other software. I am filling in the relevant boxes for 21C1 VAT return marked Open but QuickFile will not accept it. What am I doing wrong please?

Hi @James3,

If you are doing an adjustment only return then this is not allowed. To submit your return via MTD you need to have back up to your figures, so you either run the return through QuickFile and it will generate the boxes for you from the data you have entered. Or you can use the bridging module which allows you to have your accounts on a separate spreadsheet to then upload this to the VAT return.

These rules are outlined by HMRC and not a QuickFile restriction

Thank you Beth. Could you kindly define ‘adjustment only return’ ?

I am not making an adjustment for a previous return, but looking to submit a fresh VAT return for Q1 2021 ?

On the submission statement, there is an adjustment for VAT on purchases - is this the adjustment that you are referring to ?

The return is being managed through QuickFile ? Since this has never occurred before (I have previously submitted numerous returns using QuickFile), I am rather lost by this.

Thank you for your guidance. James.

You said " I am filling in the relevant boxes for 21C1 VAT return marked Open"

There are no boxes to fill in. The boxes are populated from the sales, purchases and bank transactions you input in to quickfile.

If you are filing in boxes, then you are filing in the adjustment boxes, which as it is telling you can’t be done that way under making tax digital.

Where are the figures you’re filling in to the vat return coming from? Quickfile or somewhere else?


Thanks for the note.

To submit a VAT return we need to present HMRC with -

  • The VAT due
  • The total sales over the period, excluding VAT.
  • The VAT to be claimed on purchases
  • The total purchases for the period.

Our first step is to use the QuickFile drop down option form the central toolbar, which allows us to access VAT returns. From here we move to ‘Prepare’ the VAT return. The next page presents a series of boxes (as above) that require filling in on your QuickFile software. This we have successfully managed for the past two years or so without a hitch ? Without this information, the VAT return is incomplete.

By each box, there is a pencil sign. We are required to open this, since you cant type in the figures directly into the white box. A second larger pink box appears, and this then allows you to fill in the figures required, together with comments/notes if required.

There are no other boxes available for me to populate the numbers ? Since last October, has the software changed ?

Thank you - James.

Paul - one correction from me. I am submitting a VAT return for Q4 2020, not Q1 2021. Apologies.

Hi @James3

If you’re using the pencil icon to enter the figures, these are adjustments. Unfortunately, HMRC doesn’t allow adjustment only returns under MTD.

Nothing has changed here since the launch of MTD. Do any of your figures in the VAT return come from QuickFile itself, or have you always retrieved them externally and manually input them?

Hi Matthew,

I have always entered the figures manually off an external excel spreadsheet which has never previously caused any difficulties ?

All the boxes require me to use the pencil icon/pink boxes ?

Is there a QF spreadsheet that I should be using which feeds into the VAT return - could you possibly guide me to the right area ?

Thank you in advance. James.

If you’re only using QuickFile for your VAT returns but keeping your accounting records in other software then you would need to enable the “bridging module” in QuickFile. This allows you to upload a spreadsheet where you have calculated the box 1-9 values and submit those to HMRC.

You can’t enter the figures by hand as that is not allowed under the rules of MTD - under MTD your backing records must be in some kind of digital form, and there must be an unbroken chain of digital links from the source records through to the VAT return. Exporting a spreadsheet of all your sales and purchases from your main software, writing formulas to calculate the box values, and then uploading that spreadsheet to the QuickFile bridging module would be an acceptable chain of digital links, but transferring figures around by hand is not allowed (not that they can tell up front but you’d have trouble justifying it as compliant with the rules if you ever got inspected at a later date).

Thank you Ian, much appreciated. We had actually managed to eventually work it out. This is new to use, since up until October 2020, there was never previously a requirement to import data from a third party source/spreadsheet. James.

Hi @James3

The requirement has been in place by HMRC since the launch of MTD. However, we haven’t enforced this on the older VAT forms, only the newer ones.

Using the bridging module would be the right way to go with using data from outside of QuickFile.

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