Portico Bridging Software FAQs
What is Portico Bridging Software?
It is free VAT MTD bridging software recognised by HMRC. It allows you to submit your VAT return online via an easy to use web form. All you need is your Government Gateway login, VAT figures and VAT Registration Number (VRN). It can also retrieve your VAT obligations, liabilities and payments.
Is it free?
Yes, it is entirely free.
What is the Portico URL?
Will my financial data be shared with anyone other than HMRC?
Is Portico compatible with my accounting software?
Yes. Regardless of how you keep your accounts as long as you are able to identify the VAT figures for boxes 1-9 of the VAT form then you'll be able to submit your VAT return to HMRC using Portico.
Do I need to download or install any software?
No. As long as you have a fairly new version of a popular web browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge etc) then you can use Portico Bridging Software.
How do I get started?
If you've not already done so, you must visit the HMRC website and sign up for VAT (MTD) first, otherwise you will receive the message "The client and/or agent is not authorised" when trying to access pages within Portico. HMRC will send you a confirmation email within 72 hours of signing up. On the HMRC website you need to select "Yes, I have accounting software" since you will be using the Portico bridging application to submit your VAT figures.
Followed by "Yes, my software submits through Making Tax Digital for VAT"
Once you have the confirmation from HMRC, click on one of the tiles on the Portico home page (i.e. VAT Returns, VAT Obligations etc) and you'll be redirected to a series of HMRC authentication pages where you'll be prompted to enter your Government Gateway ID username and password. You may also have to enter an additional code sent via SMS to your phone. When you've successfully authenticated, you'll be redirected back to a Portico screen which will prompt for a VAT Registration Number (VRN) associated with your Government Gateway ID. If the VRN entered is valid then you'll be directed to the Portico screen associated with the tile you originally clicked on the home page.
How do I submit a VAT return?
Click the VAT Return tile on the home page and you'll then be able to fill in and submit a VAT return either by uploading VAT data from a simple CSV (Comma Separated Values) file or by typing the figures directly into the web form.
If you'd like to upload your figures by CSV then ensure the CSV file contains a single record with 9 comma separated values corresponding to the 9 VAT boxes. Figures for boxes 6 - 9 should only contain pounds e.g. 100.55,20.21,120.76,50.25,70.51,5250,1245,450,0. In the FAQ 'I use a spreadsheet as accounting software, how can I digitally submit my VAT return?' we cover how to export these values from a spreadsheet.
Alternatively, you can enter your VAT figures directly into the web form. Boxes 3 and 5 are automatically calculated for you.
Ensure the figures are correct, select the appropriate declaration and click "Submit".
In some cases it can take up to 10 seconds for HMRC to respond so do not close your window or click the Back button on your Browser.
Upon successful submission, you'll be presented with a VAT return receipt page which you should save for your records.
How do I fill out the boxes on my VAT return?
See the HMRC guide: How to fill in and submit your VAT Return (VAT Notice 700/12)
I use a spreadsheet as accounting software, how can I digitally submit my VAT return?
You can manually enter your values from your spreadsheet into the Portico VAT Return web form, although if you wish to do this digitally follow the steps below:
Create a sheet with your 9 values in the cells as seen above
Click on the file menu in the title bar
Click 'Save as'
Click on 'Browse'
Click the 'Save as type' dropdown
Select 'CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv)'
Browse to the location you wish to save the file and click 'Save'
Follow the steps under 'How do I submit a VAT return' and on the VAT submission page press 'Import CSV' and select the file you just saved. The values will then be auto-populated and can then be submitted to HMRC.
How do I retrieve my VAT obligations?
Click on the VAT Obligations tile to retrieve your Open and Fulfilled VAT Obligations.
Clicking on an Open obligation will open a new VAT Return for this period. Clicking on a Fulfilled obligation will display the historic VAT return. Click on the "Date from" and "Date to" fields to alter the search period and click the "Retrieve" button to retrieve historic Obligations for different periods. Note that valid date ranges are only up to 1 year and historic VAT data prior to the introduction of VAT MTD will not be available and therefore it's likely you will see "HMRC has not returned any records for this period." when you first start using the service.
How do I retrieve previous VAT payment information?
Clicking on VAT Payments tile will show your payments.
How do I retrieve my VAT liabilities?
Clicking on VAT Liabilities tile will show your liabilities.
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