HMRC have announced that any businesses needing to update particularly complicated or legacy IT systems can apply for an extension to the 2020 deadlines for complying with the digital links requirements under Making Tax Digital for VAT (MVD) .

For VAT periods commencing on or after 1 April 2020 (or 1 October 2020 for deferred businesses) systems must use digital links for any transfer or exchange of data between software programs, products or applications which are used as functional compatible software. 

HMRC now recognises that some businesses have complex or legacy IT systems (which have been taken over as part of a business acquisition) and may require more time to put digital links in place.

Subject to meeting certain conditions, these businesses can apply for additional time (on top of the one year ‘soft landing’ period to April/October 2020) to enable them to get the necessary links set up.

If postponement is granted this will be given by way of a specific direction; cost alone will not be a good enough reason and HMRC will only issue a direction in exceptional circumstances.


To be considered for a specific direction, you will need to:

How to apply

If you need to apply for an extension you should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request an application form, including your business name and VAT Registration number. If you have an allocated Customer Compliance Manager you should request a form directly from them.

Links to our guides:

Making Tax Digital: VAT (subscriber guide)

MVD: functional compatible software

Making Tax Digital (for VAT) tool: who has to join?

External link:

VAT notice 700/22