Trying to submit VAT return via excel



the excel sheet keeps saying waiting for another application to complete an OLE action and wont do anything


Hi Ayles,

I believe we received a support ticket in relation to this. In a nutshell, we suggest trying to submit again as the service could have been temporarily unavailable from HMRC’s side.

If the error persists, do contact us again.



Hi Ayles

Have you managed to submit the VAT return?


Having exactly the same problem. I have added my VAT number, clicked Refresh and then it just hangs there with the OLE message. Have not even got to stage to link data in sheets, so not sure what is going on.


I have managed to get past that message, but now have one which reads:
‘Oops…We could not find any Outstanding period for this VAT Registration Number in HMRC.
Check that the entered VRN is correct’
I know for a fact that the VRN is correct and that I owe VAT due by June 9, so why won’t it let me submit the form


Being able to speak to another add on provider they advised that only vat returns periods COMMENCING 1.4.2019 are to be submitted digitally so i expect your return like mine was 1.2.2019-30.4.2019 therefore you submit as before and then the next one due will be digitally. Shame DataDear didnt mention that snippet…it would of saved me 2 days trying


Hi Ayles,

This sounds like you hadn’t actually registered for MTD with HMRC, there is a timing window to complete this if your payments are collected via Direct Debit. Sign up cannot take place in the five working days immediately following submission of the final non-MTD return or in the 15 working days immediately before the due date for the first MTD return. So, for the ‘Stagger 1’ taxpayer (april-Jun VAT period), MTD sign up can take place anytime from 15 May to 17 July 2019. (yours will be a month after!)

Further guidance on completing the sign up process can be found here

Once you have switched on to the MTD way of filing, all will work fine as we helped plenty of clients that had registered early over the past few months, apologies this information wasn’t clear!



Hi Giles,

This does sound exactly what Ayles has mentioned… bit of a process for switching over to MTD

1 - source compatible software (you’ve done this part)
2 - Switch over to MTD filing by informaing HMRC - (this isn’t automatic) -
3 - await confirmation from HMRC (double check payment all okay if paying via direct debit)

Fines will be going out for missed payments and I do fear a lot of businesses will get caught by this break in the process, all as usual if making one off payments, if via direct debit general rule of thumb is: Sign up cannot take place in the five working days immediately following submission of the final non-MTD return or in the 15 working days immediately before the due date for the first MTD return

I think its part 2 that needs actioning should the timing be right, if not current return could be done on the old portal.



Hi Oliver,

Have you managed to file your return as yet?

I wouldn’t expect an OLE error message to return from Excel with any of the HMRC connection (this error automates when a task takes longer than 90 seconds to complete). We’ve identified 2 possible causes;
1 - business hasn’t informed HMRC of the switch to MTD
2 - HMRC system has had some downtime for returning obligations

Unfortunately on part 2 we got informed 72 hours after the issue was identified by HMRC, but have been given assurance this is now fixed and shouldn’t reappear… hit all software suppliers!

If this error message does creep in, and option 1 is done. I’d close your excel and reopen, if the same issue arises please contact us as so we can investigate further.



Hi Ayles,

I had the same problem:

  1. Added existing excel accounts sheets into the template workbook
  2. Logged in via the datadear menu ribbon
  3. Entered VRN and pressed refresh
    Message re: “waiting for another app to complete OLE action” appeared and despite clicking OK several times and trying to clear it I couldn’t exit that process or close excel normally. Solution for me was to use the task manager to close excel and then restart, at which point the refresh worked instantly.

As an aside:I use office 365 excel with the file saved in onedrive with autosave on. This mattered as I had completed all my work adding in the various excel sheets and had not thought about saving the file before attempting the VRN refresh. Without autosave on, I may have closed excel via task manager and lost some or all of my work. Continually thankful for autosave and version history in excel.


Have now managed to get Refresh button to populate the period cell, but now I’ve got the dreaded OLE message after selecting Post Online and confirming everything is okay. Any suggestions…


Hi @Oliver - the OLE message indicates that HMRC is not returning the periods. Please make sure that your VRN is registered with HMRC and if problem persists, please try again later on in case their service is not working. Otherwise if this keeps failing, we are happy to help and investigate further - drop us a note on


Hello Neville. Following the apparent glitch at the HMRC end, the Refresh button worked and the period was auto-filled. The problem I referred to in my latest post was that, having entered all the data into the spreadsheet and clicking on the Post Online button, I got the OLE message once I had confirmed that I was happy to submit. Not sure why.
I have since then closed the file, closed Excel and reopened and everything worked okay. So, is the problem solved? Won’t know until next quarter!


Thank you for the clarification. Still it seems that HMRC was not in a position to ‘receive’ the vat return. We hope their service continues to improve especially in light of the next mandatory submissions.

We are also investigating ways how we can improve messages displayed during the process.


Carl, I have received a message saying my datadear licence has expired on 22nd April. How do I renew my licence?


Hi Giles,

The notification should state that if you wish to add/continue to use Xero/QuickBooks connections, to enter your billing details within the account section. To continue utilising just for the HMRC connections, simply hit “ok” on this notification.

The HMRC connection will remain active and ready for your future returns :slight_smile:

If you are experiencing different behaviour to this please do let me know!


Thanks for that Carl.
However, I still have a problem!
When I hit Refresh, instead of giving me a date in the VAT period to be submitted, the message comes up as follows:
……ooops. We could not find any outstanding period for this VAT registration number in HMRC. Check that the entered VRN is correct.
I know I have an outstanding period and I know my VAT VRN number is correct.
I am at a loss as to how to continue


Hi Giles,

Make sure you have signed-up for MTD using one of the links below (depending on whether an agent is acting or not).

Business or Sole Trader -
Agent to submit for clients -

Let me know if you are still facing any issues!



I have exactly the same issue… But also, each time I try, and it fails, and i have to close Excel, I lose the Datadear tab and have to un-install and re-install.
Everything is signed up and appears okay with HMRC, but it wont populate the period, and let me submit… Getting a little worried as time is running out to submit.
Any other options?



Are you greeted with a message before you reopen Excel regarding DataDear? The toolbar shouldn’t disappear but may ask if you’d like to disable, simply selecting no will ensure it stays put for you!

HMRC did have planned downtime on their MTD services over the weekend, meaning you couldn’t interact with your VAT whatsoever unfortunately. This downtime is still ongoing until 5pm today, and another lot scheduled for this Sunday! More details can be found here -

Should you still be experiencing these issues outside of these times, please contact our support team on to investigate for you.