What Is Making Tax Digital (MTD)?

Making Tax Digital is an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) initiative designed to make sure the UK tax system is effective, efficient and simpler for VAT registered businesses. FreshBooks’ MTD Portal allows you to submit your VAT Returns with the HMRC, as well as review past submissions, VAT liabilities and VAT payment history.
Once your VAT Profile is configured and signed in with the Government Gateway, you can then submit returns to the HMRC directly using the below steps:

Create your MTD Account

The below steps will allow you to connect with the Making Tax Digital app and set up your VAT Profile with your Government Gateway login, if you haven't done so already:

Connect to Making Tax Digital

If you’re an Accountant, you can access the MTD Portal via the VAT Return Report instead. Otherwise, set up your connection to the MTD Portal with these steps:
  1. In your FreshBooks account, click on the gear icon in the top corner
  2. Click on Apps
  3. Then in the FreshBooks MTD app, click on the Install Now link
  4. In the Connect to FreshBooks MTD window, click on the Allow button to authorize FreshBooks MTD to access your FreshBooks account information
  5. Proceed to the Configure your VAT Profile steps below to continue your setup.
Note: Some browsers may block the redirect during Connect to FreshBooks MTD's authorization. Ensure your browser is set to always allow pop-ups and redirects.

Configure your VAT Profile

  1. You will now see the Making Tax Digital portal, next to Step 1, click on the Configure your VAT Profile link
    Making tax digital portal with steps to complete inside account.
  2. In Edit your VAT Profile, enter your VAT Number in the field provided
    Edit vat profile screen with fields to fill out.
  3. For your VAT Scheme, choose between Standard or Flat Rate (learn more about Flat Rate schemes here)
    1. For Standard schemes, next to Accounting Method, choose between Cash or Accrual
      Standard scheme selected with Accounting Method selected on Cash.
    2. For Flat Rate schemes, next to Flat Rate to use, specify the percentage rate
      Flat Rate scheme selected with field to enter percentage.
  4. Then under Your HMRC Authorisation, click on the Authorise Now link, a new browser window will open
  5. Click Continue
  6. In the new HMRC browser window, click on the Continue button and then click on the Sign into Government Gateway button
  7. Enter your Government Gateway user ID and Password (or if you don’t have one, click on the Create sign in details link instead)
  8. Click on the Give permission button to finish setting up the connection
  9. Once authorisation has been confirmed, close the HMRC window, return to your Making Tax Digital Portal and click on Save Settings to finish setting up your VAT Profile.
In the Making Tax Digital hub, if Step 1 and Step 2 is completed with green checkboxes, your MTD Account is now set up and is ready to submit returns to HMRC directly:
Making tax digital hub setup with two green checkmarks next to links.

Access Your MTD Account

To access your MTD Account anytime after completing the setup, use the below steps:
  1. In your FreshBooks account, click on the Apps section
    App section selected in navigation.
  2. Then click on FreshBooks MTD underneath.
    FreshBooks MTD selected under Apps section in navigation.
Click on the Actions button to do any of the following:
  • Submit a Return - Upload your CSV and submit your VAT Return for your business to the HMRC directly
  • Past Submissions - View all your previously submitted VAT Returns and any responses from the HMRC
  • Liabilities - Access your current VAT liabilities
  • Payments - View your VAT payment history
  • Settings - View your VAT Profile and your HMRC Authorisation
    • Next to Reset authorisation, click on Reset Now to disconnect your HMRC account from your MTD Portal

Submit a Return

If you haven't filed a VAT Return, review VAT Return Calculations below first. To submit your VAT Return, use these steps: 
  1. In your FreshBooks account, click on the Apps section
    App section selected in navigation.
  2. Then click on FreshBooks MTD underneath.
    FreshBooks MTD selected under Apps section in navigation.
  3. If not logged into your MTD Account, sign in
  4. Click on the Start a Submission button
  5. Next to Period to file, choose a Period from the dropdown
    Submit a return section with dropdown showing period to file options.
  6. Your VAT Return Report will automatically be uploaded for you - confirm that your totals look correct
    VAT Return report with fields that can be edited.
  7. If needed, click on the pencil icon next to any number to make adjustments to the total
    Edit icon next to a row.
    1. In the Notes field, specify the reason for the adjustment entry
      Make Adjustment section with fields to fill out to change totals.
    2. Next, add a positive or negative total in the Adjustment Amount field
    3. If needed, click on the + Add an Adjustment button to add additional adjustments
    4. Click Save Adjustment to finish
  8. Once you’re done reviewing your VAT Return, check off the box next to I confirm that this VAT period is finalised and includes all relevant transactions
  9. Click on the Submit button
  10. A confirmation will appear, and you can find your recent submission in the Past Submissions section under the Actions button. Viewing past submissions will also include the View PDF and Print button to save your submission offline.
Notes on Adjustments:
  • Adjustments can be made for:
    • Capital purchase of >£2,000 (Including VAT) to reclaim VAT for that purchase (on Box 4 and Box 7 for Flat Rate scheme)
    • Late claims
    • Missing information from the current period such as income from other sources not captured in your General Ledger, sales and expenses made before you created your FreshBooks account, and anything else that was not captured properly in your FreshBooks account
    • Purchases made before your VAT registration date
    • Refunds on sales made in previous quarters’ submissions
  • Only boxes 1-2, 4, and 6-9 can be directly adjusted
  • To reverse an Adjustment, enter another Adjustment for the opposite amount

VAT Return Calculations

Calculations are made based off the VAT Scheme selected:
  • Accrual - Based on Invoice Date, looks at all Invoices except draft Invoices
  • Collected - Based on Payment Date, looks at only paid Invoices, does not include partially paid Invoices
  • Flat Rate - Based on percentage of your total turnover
For more details on how to fill in each box on your return, review HMRC’s details here.
BoxDescriptionCalculation Notes
Box 1
VAT due in this period on sales
Sum of VAT collected from £GBP Invoices for all methods. 
For the Accrual method only, this also includes Other Income and Checkout Link Payments.
For Flat Rate scheme, the sum is multiplied by the Flat Rate to use percentage specified in your VAT Profile above.
Box 2VAT due in this period on acquisitions of goods made in Northern Ireland from EU Member States
Defaults to £0.
Box 3Total VAT DueSum of Box 1 and Box 2.
Box 4Total VAT reclaimed in this period on purchases (including acquisitions in Northern Ireland from EU member states)
Sum of VAT recorded from £GBP Expenses and Bills.
For Flat Rate scheme, this defaults to £0.
Box 5Total value of sales, including VAT
Total of Box 3 minus Box 4.
Box 6Total value of sales, excluding VAT
Sum of all sales from £GBP Invoices for all methods.
For the Accrual method only, this also includes Other Income and Checkout Link Payments (excluding VAT).
Box 7Total value of purchases, excluding VAT
Sum of all £GBP Expenses recorded from Expenses and Bills, excluding amounts from non-VAT Expense Categories (see section 3.8 for details).
For Flat Rate scheme, this defaults to £0.
Box 8Total value of dispatches of goods and related costs (excluding VAT) from Northern Ireland to EU Member States
Defaults to £0.
Box 9Total value of acquisitions of goods and related costs (excluding VAT) made in Northern Ireland from EU Member States
Defaults to £0.


The full list of FAQs can be found here (after signing into your MTD Portal).

Where can I find my VAT Return Report? 
To access your VAT Return Report anytime as needed, you can use the steps here.
Can I use this to file my personal income (SA100)?
The MTD Portal is for VAT/corporation tax only. Personal income can be filed using one of our apps here instead.
Why are my past filings missing and the MTD Portal is making me connect to the HMRC again?
To ensure your data is secure, the HMRC authorization expires every 18 months. You can re-authorize again with the below steps: 
  1. In your FreshBooks account, click on the Apps section
  2. Then click on FreshBooks MTD underneath
  3. Click on Submit a Return
  4. Then click on Authorize with HMRC
  5. In the new browser window on the HMRC website, click on Continue button
  6. Enter your Government Gateway User ID and Password then click Sign in
  7. Then enter your Access Code and click Continue
  8. Click on the Grant authority button to finish. Your connection will be re-authorized again and past filings will show up again in your MTD Portal if there are any.
If you've forgotten your Gateway ID, you can reach out to HMRC's Online VAT Helpdesk here.