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Who would have predicted that the start of 2020 would have been so tumultuous?  The COVID-19 pandemic has even affected the world of VAT, with the government announcing on 20 of March that all VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June could be postponed until the end of the 2020/21 financial year.

As I write this, we have just heard that HMRC have extended the 12 month “soft landing” period in respect of digital links for a further 12 months until 31 March 2021. Businesses that benefitted from the deferred start date for MTD, also had the soft landing period extended until VAT periods commencing on or after 1 October 2020. All VAT businesses are now aligned regarding the mandation of digital links and must comply for VAT periods commencing on or after April 2021.

Before the pandemic and the changes to the VAT landscape, we created our AlphaVAT plan for 2020 with our sights firmly set on giving our customers a best of breed indirect tax compliance solution ahead of the digital links mandation.

Here is our roadmap for 2020:


We have been busy working with our customers and prospects to validate our roadmap and come up with a prioritised list of features that we will deliver in the product over the coming months.

Data cleansing

Checks over the source data will detect duplicates and the presence of unexpected VAT rates. We will then present you with a report flagging the potential issues for review and corrective action. Any correction to the data will be logged in the audit trail.

Mapping template library

Improvements to our mapping feature will include updating the user interface to make it simpler and easier to use. We will expand the functionality to present you with the option to save the mapping for use in a later period or in another VAT entity. This means that if your source data for your VAT returns is in a consistent format you will be able to reuse previous mappings, saving you time and ensuring a consistent approach.

Data handling

We will provide you with the ability to make changes to the source data within AlphaVAT. Any changes made to the source data will be tracked and logged in the audit trail. AlphaVAT will produce reports of all the changes for visibility that can be sent to the person responsible for making corresponding amendments to the source data in the ERP system. AlphaVAT will not post any amendments back to the source ERP system.

User notifications

Surfaces key information to the AlphaVAT and AlphaBridge end users. The type of notification will include:

  • Workflow notifications to highlight to specific users where actions have been or need to be completed.
  • Real time updates on HMRC service availability and planned downtime.
  • Updates on new software releases.

Reporting

AlphaVAT produces reports to support the VAT return boxes but we are also introducing the capability to download reports in PDF or Excel format. The first phase will support downloading an Excel file containing the details of the transaction data processed in the VAT calculation. The next phase will extend this functionality to enable you to download a report showing the calculations AlphaVAT has performed when arriving at the VAT return values.

PESM

We will enable our customers to set up their VAT calculation as per their specific PESM agreement, with a cost allocation module and user defined recovery methods, so the calculation is automatically processed in AlphaVAT.

Data analytics

AlphaVAT will incorporate a new dashboard for displaying key information in relation to the return values with e.g. prior period comparatives and percentage variance. There will be a series of charts which can be configured to show compare most recent period with previous, previous 12 months equivalent period etc.

Advanced Audit

A dashboard driven tool to guide the reviewer to a number of reports where AlphaVAT has identified anomalies in the transaction data and that shows what actions have been taken to resolve any issues during the compilation of the VAT return to guide the review process.

FX

AlphaVAT will identify non sterling values and translate them to GDP using one of the two standard ways: UK market selling rate at time of supply or the ‘period rate of exchange’ as published by HMRC.

Document management

Phase 1 of this feature will allow users to archive VAT return data within AlphaVAT relating to any entities or VAT registration numbers that are no longer actively required to submit VAT returns. Later, we will create a repository for supporting documents, reports and files that make up the VAT return for the period.  This will allow you to upload copies of documents such as a C79 certificate, enabling all supporting VAT return information to be stored in the same place as the submitted VAT return.  This will save you time in the event that you are required to produce the information for an HMRC audit or any other review.

International

We will support the creation of EC Sales Lists (or post VREXIT equivalent) from the VAT return data for onward submission, as well as the creation of specific Intrastat reports.

Licensing

Licensing aimed at end users within firms who to access more than one customer instance of the AlphaVAT system, in order to implement AlphaVAT or produce VAT returns for multiple clients.

We want to build products that help our customers improve their compliance process and enhance their ways of working. However, external factors may affect delivery timescales. In this event, we will communicate any changes to the roadmap as and when they happen.