Maslins Accountants

How to enrol for MTD

MTD has been compulsory for most businesses for a while now, with limited exceptions. This post should help you with the sign up process. NB you’ll need to already:
– have registered for VAT,
enrolled for online VAT services,
– be using MTD compliant bookkeeping software (eg FreeAgent, other providers are available).

Overview of what needs doing

On the basis you are using MTD ready software, the hassle is modest, and change other than short term tweaks is trivial. For the time being at least, only the numbers in the VAT boxes are submitted, and only when you click the button to submit. However behind the scenes it’s being transmitted in a different way. Prior to MTD, data is submitted as/when instigated by you, with you needing to add your HMRC Gateway ID details each time, as they’ll go with the submission to show it’s from you. Post MTD, you’ll be setting up a permanent link between your bookkeeping software and HMRC portal. So when you come to submit data, it will be quicker and you won’t have to re-enter ID/password, as it’s not revalidating anything.

Steps below:

1) Make the required tweaks to your HMRC portal account. We’d strongly recommend you do this step before changing any MTD settings on your bookkeeping software. We’ve got a step by step “what to click where” guide further down.

2) There’s a button that either user or accountant can change on FreeAgent to switch the account over to MTD. I believe this is hard/impossible to reverse…so do step (1) first!

3) This will add a new settings menu to FreeAgent (NB typically your accountant cannot see/alter this bit), where you need to link FreeAgent up with your portal. Ie tell FreeAgent your HMRC gateway ID and password. If you’re confident the HMRC bit is done, click here to jump straight to the FreeAgent tweaks.

4) You’re done! Next time you go to submit a VAT return, it will look slightly different, but you’ll barely notice.

HMRC portal step by step

If there is a painful bit, it’s this. We’ve run through it recently and taken screen prints of every step. Unfortunately HMRC are constantly tweaking things, so inevitably it won’t be long until the process deviates slightly from what’s below, but hopefully you can follow it easily enough! Your HMRC portal account must already be enrolled for online VAT services. If you’re unsure what I mean by this, you’ve got some more basic bits to deal with first, discuss with your accountant.

From here we’ve used red text for our comments to help them stand out from text in the many screen prints.

1) URL to start is

2) Yes you have suitable accounting software (assuming you already use FreeAgent/equivalent):

Suitable accounting software

3) …and yes, FreeAgent is ready for MTD:

Software is MTD ready

4) Enter your gateway ID and password (hopefully you know these!). NB after entering these you may have to enter an access code/be suggested you set up security back up etc depending upon the settings in your account:

5) We’ll assume for this purpose you just have one business(!)

Just one business

6) …and it’s a Ltd Co:

Limited Company

7) Enter your Cos Hse registration number (if you’re unsure, either ask your accountant or search for your company name from

8) …and confirm it’s the right one:

Right company

9) What is your company’s Unique Taxpyer Reference number? (sometimes referred to as your corporation tax UTR, your accountant should know if you’re unsure):

MTD - Company UTR

10) Check your answers:

MTD - Check your answers

11) What’s your email address:

What's your email address

12) Check email address for typos:

Check email address

13) They send a code to your email address (may take 5-10 minutes to come through), enter that code on the next page:

MTD - Enter code from email

14) Email verified:

Email verified

15) Choose how you’d like HMRC to contact you re VAT matters:

MTD - How to contact you

16) Check your answers (again):

MTD - Check your answers2

17) Next page should be confirmation you’ve done all you need to…for now.

MTD - Confirmation page

As it suggests, patience from here. Hopefully within a few working days you’ll get a further email from HMRC confirming acceptance onto the pilot. Once you’ve got that, move on to the FreeAgent bit which is a doddle/lightning quick in comparison (other software packages will likely have something similar).


18) Hopefully you’ll get an email like the below:

Email confirming success


That’s the painful bit done!


FreeAgent settings to tweak

On FreeAgent, go to “Connections” (just under “Settings” (from top right):

Then under the menu you should see a new option “HMRC Connections”:

You should see a page like the below:

HMRC Connections page

Click the big green button, which then takes you to an HMRC page again:

Give FreeAgent authority to HMRC

Scroll to the section about you doing it for your own business, click “Continue” then provide your 12 digit HMRC gateway ID and password one more time:

Enter gateway ID/password again

Then click “Grant authority”

Grant authority

Following that, you’re done. You should revert back to FreeAgent and see:

All done!

From now on, you’ll barely notice the difference. You’ll still submit VAT returns from FreeAgent, only difference of note for you as a user is that you won’t need to put in your HMRC gateway ID and password each time, as there’s a permanent link already set up.

If you have any questions, get in touch!

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Cos Hse 07191445 - The Old Bakery, 90 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2QP VAT reg 181 2553 18
Telephone: 01892 888 010

Maslins Accountants