What is Portico?Open Answers Portico 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).
Is Portico free?Yes, it is entirely free.
What is the Portico URL?https://vat.portico.openanswers.co.uk
Is Portico accounting software?No. It just provides a simple means for you to submit VAT returns to HMRC, but it can also retrieve your VAT obligations, liabilities and payments.
Will my financial data be shared with anyone other than HMRC?No.
Do I need to register with you or provide any personal information?No. You do not need to register with us or provide any personal information in order to use this service.
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.
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
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 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.
What our customers are saying
Open Answers not only know what they're doing backwards but also genuinely care about their customers – that’s almost unique among the many IT vendors I've ever worked with.
CTO, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Open Answers specialist skills and design experience, across all layers of the technology stack, have enabled Practical Law Company to grow its delivery capability to a global scale. Without hesitation, we would recommend Open Answers as the ‘go-to’ infrastructure experts.
CTO, Practical Law Company
Open Answers has supported our growth, thanks to their substantial experience in technology architecture. Their advice is highly respected and we value their independent viewpoint, especially in appraising complex situations.
IT Director, ASOS.com
Open Answers depth and breadth of Unix expertise provides Sun Microsystems with an excellent resource, from education to support and engineering.
Sustaining Engineering Manager, Sun Microsystems
Open Answers managed services deliver high quality solutions at an affordable price point. Critically, the company has a depth of technical expertise that ensures continual high performance and high availability of business critical websites.
Open Answers continues to deliver vital technical skills that support the development of innovative, business critical web sites across British Airways.
Technical Manager eBusiness, British Airways
Open Answers experience in developing and supporting complex Unix based environments enabled us to rapidly create the dynamic www.national-lottery.co.uk site and deliver interactive online play to our customers.
Chief Architect, Camelot Group
Open Answers have always provided AirMiles with a top-quality, reliable service covering the whole spectrum from development work to hosting and operations. Knowing that the web-site is in your hand is one less thing to worry about.
IT Services Manager, Air Miles Travel Promotions
Open Answers managed firewall service delivers both the performance and high availability required by an international organisation which relies considerably on communications.
C.B. Richard Ellis