Set up financial year, accounting dates and VAT

Before you start entering transactions. make sure your financial year dates, GDPR retention period and VAT settings are entered correctly. From here

  • From More, choose Business Settings, then Accounting Dates & VAT.
  • Financial year and accounting dates

    This makes sure you can run reports and view transactions that reflect your business year.

    Year End Date

    • Enter the last day of your new financial year in the Year End Date field.

      You can enter this at any time, even after entering transactions.

    • Click Save at the bottom of the page.

    Change your financial year

    Enter last day of your new financial year in the Year End Date field.

    You can do this at any time, even after entering transactions.

    Once changed, your financial reports will reflect your new dates.

    Move to the next financial year

    We recommend that you enter all your transactions, print reports and enter a lockdown date.

    For details on how to move from one financial year to the next, see Financial year end

    Year End Lockdown date

    Enter a lockdown date if you want to prevent transactions being accidentally entered for a previous financial year.

    For example, if your financial year ends on 31 December, enter 31 December as the Year End Lockdown date. New transactions can then only be entered from 1 January onwards.

    If you have transactions that need to be entered for your previous year, simply remove the Year End Lockdown date.

    Accounts start date

    This is the date you want to start entering transactions from. Once set, you can't enter transactions, apart from opening balances, before this date.

    We automatically set opening balances for the day before this date.

    For example, if the start date is 1 April, your opening balances must have a date of 31 March or earlier.

    VAT details

    1. From More, , choose Business Settings, then Accounting Dates & VAT.

    2. In the VAT Details section, check the following:

      1. VAT scheme - Check you have selected the correct scheme.

      2. Submission frequency - Choose how often you submit a VAT Return to Revenue. This depends on how you registered with Revenue.

      3. VAT number - Your VAT registration number.

    Authenticate with Revenue

    To submit VAT returns for Making Tax Digital you must authorise Accounting Start to submit your VAT returns.

    You will need your Government Gateway credentials to sign in to the Gateway as part of this process

    1. From More , choose Business Settings, then Accounting Dates & VAT.

    2. From the Making Tax Digital section, select Authenticate.

    3. Select I am signed up with HMRC for Making Tax Digital then select Authenticate. This takes you to the website.

    4. Select Continue when prompted, and sign in with your Government Gateway credentials.

      If you’re a VAT agent, enter your agent services account ID and password.

    5. When prompted, select Grant authority. You are returned to Accounting Start. When you see a confirmation message at the bottom of the page, that's it, you're done.

    Read about setting up for Making Tax Digital

    Set up VAT for trading abroad

    Sales to EU customers

    This is an optional scheme to help you report and pay all EU VAT through a single return instead of having to register and pay VAT in each country you sell to. Read about EU VAT e-commerce rules

    If you want to use this scheme, choose

    • Use destination VAT for sales to EU consumers

    Postponed accounting

    If you import goods from outside the EU, you can use Postponed Accounting.

    With postponed accounting, you can declare and recover import VAT in the same VAT return. This is instead of paying import VAT on or soon after goods arrive and claiming it on your next VAT return.

    The VAT is recorded as both a sale and purchase on your VAT return, effectively cancelling each other out.

    If you want to sue postponed accounting for all you imports, you choose to set this be default. Choose

    • Use postponed accounting to deal with import VAT.

    Read about postponed accounting

    GDPR retention period

    Your retention period is the length of time you store customer and supplier data (or records) for business or compliance purposes. When the retention period ends, you must remove the data. This reduces the risk of keeping unnecessary, inaccurate, or out of date information.

    set a retention period here so you know when to remove information about your contacts.

    We never remove information automatically, you must choose to remove personal data from you contact records.

    Read more about GDPR - Manage your business data retention period

    1. Under Business Data Retention Period, complete the following information:
      • End of Tax Year - select the month that your current tax year ends.
      • Retention Period - select the number of years you want to retain customer and supplier personal data for
      • Reason - Enter any notes applicable to your retention period. For example, Required for VAT records.