New functions are being added to HM Revenue & Custom’s (HMRC) VAT online service in November and you will no longer need to log into the Government Gateway too.

Big changes are on-going to update HMRC’s VAT online system ahead of mandatory e-filing next year.  

From 23 November (if all goes to plan) agents will be able to review previous VAT returns on screen, and file a final VAT return (VAT193) online too.

Taxpayers will no longer need to go via the Government Gateway website to assign an agent to themselves. Agents will still have to enrol though.

HMRC is also planning to remove the need for agents to be VAT registered before they can file their client’s returns online. This change will not happen in November, but HMRC hope that it will be resolved before April 2010.

Changes in 2010
From 1 April 2010 the e-filing of VAT returns will become compulsory for certain businesses. 

Turnover more than £100,000
If your turnover is more than £100,000, you will have to file your VAT return online for accounting periods that start on or after 1 April 2010. The turnover calculation will be done by taking into consideration your taxable turnover in the four quarters prior to your first return period that that starts on or after 1 April 2010. Your quarter date will depend on your VAT stagger as businesses can chose their quarter dates when they register. 

New registrations
If you register for VAT on or after April 1 2010, you will have to file online regardless of your turnover.

How to register online?
HMRC promise that it is going to be easier than it is at present, see Tax Geek's guide to VAT online.