HMRC MTD - Box 5 Wrong Calculation



There seems to be an error with the Box 5 calculation on spreadsheet v1.1 where a formula for returning Absolute numbers has been inserted.
This is causing VAT to be reclaimed appearing as a positive figure (to pay) rather than a negative (to reclaim).

As an example:
Box 3 = 85.20
Box 4 = 185.19
Box 5 = 99.99
(Box 5 results of the subtraction of Box 3 for Box 4) the correct value on Box 5 should display = -99.99 (to reclaim)

Is this a known issue? And is there a solution for this?
I’m late on the VAT submission and don’t want to process it without knowing if this method works…



Hey, thanks for reaching out!

Box 5 whether positive or negative must always be displayed as a positive, hence the ABS formula you will see. Don’t worry if it is money owed back to you, the systems know from tallying boxes 3/4 whether to expect a payment / make a repayment.



Hi Carl,

Thank you for confirming this!
I did think the system would eventually figure itself out, but because I’m using a very old accounts system (TASBooks) that displays Box 5 as a non positive, I think I just ended up getting used to that.

I will try and file the return now. Hopefully will go through all good!

Thank You,


Hi Carl,

I am having error 404 coming up with the following:

“Oops… We could not find any Outstanding period for this Vat Registration Number in HMRC. Check that the entered VRN is correct.”

This statement is untrue, VRN is correct and there is a period overdue to file, so I wonder if I missed an option somewhere.



Hi Tiago

Can you check if you have any open Outstanding periods using the reports drop-down option in the DataDear toolbar.


Hey Tiago,

Did you notify HMRC that you will now be submitting your returns via the MTD system?

Easiest way to check is whether you’re still able to file your VAT in your old gateway, if so you need to complete the following

Might be best giving them a ring as they may advise completing in the old manner this quarter, letting payment go through and then registering ready for next, if not the process takes a few days to kick in.



You should be able to ‘digitally link’ the output file from TAS, I can see you’ve registered for the training. It’s in one of the last videos where we show another legacy system output being linked. Super easy and fast process.




Neville, I couldn’t find this option in DataDear Tab.

Carl, we accidentally notified HMRC that we will be submitting returns via MTD. They don’t let us submit it in the old manner, so this is why I’m trying out DataDear.

Also, I’m not having problems filling in the boxes as your video suggests. I’m happy with the numbers.
My only issue at the moment is that your sheet doesn’t recognise I still have a VAT period outstanding.



Hi, did anyone have a solution on this?



Hi Tiago,

If you have confirmation from HMRC that you are now submitting via MTD, then it’ll either be;

  1. You’ve entered the incorrect VRN number for your authorisation
  2. You’ve authorised the wrong gateway for your VRN

Easiest to double check number 1 first, and if still receiving no return due although confirmed from HMRC end, you have authorised the wrong government gateway with DataDear for your VRN, please readd the connection.

Any issues please let us know.