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What are digital links?

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Under Making Tax Digital (MTD), VAT registered businesses must keep certain records digitally and file their VAT returns using compatible software.

If you transfer or exchange data within or between software programs, apps or products (that make up functional compatible software) and the information forms part of your VAT return, you must do this using digital links.

A digital link is where you transfer or exchange data electronically between software programs, apps, or products. You must digitally link each piece of software you use. You must not transfer or exchange data manually.

Some examples of digital links are:

  • linked cells in spreadsheets, including the use of ‘cell number/return’ functions
  • emailing a spreadsheet containing digital records so the information can be imported into another software product
  • transferring a set of digital records onto a portable device, such as a pen drive or memory stick, and giving this to someone else to import the data into their software
  • XML, CSV import and export, and download and upload of files
  • automated data transfer
  • Application Programming Interface (API) transfer

Using ‘cut and paste’ or ‘copy and paste’ to select and move information is not a digital link.

If you’re worried about MTD compliance or need any assistance with the compliance process, please get in touch with our Indirect Tax Director Carla Horsfall at Find out more about our specialist VAT team and what they can support you with.