Live on Vanilla MTD for IFS

Vanilla Solutions has completed the installation of their Vanilla MTD for IFS application for leading biopharmaceutical company Oxford Biomedica.

Vanilla was chosen to help Oxford Biomedica submit VAT returns to HMRC through the Government’s new Making Tax Digital online portal. Oxford Biomedica specialises in the development of gene-based therapies in the areas of oncology, ophthalmology and central nervous system disorders.

The company had previously worked with Vanilla Solutions and chose to work with them again on the advice of external IFS consultant Tony Ashford.

Lek Smith, Tax Accountant at Oxford Biomedica, said: “We needed IFS specialists with a knowledge of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) process and Vanilla Solutions came highly recommended.

“We found Mike Hollifield, Vanilla’s Head of Technology, and his team a delight to work with and their functional and technical knowledge of IFS made the whole process easy and straightforward for us.

“We needed to submit our VAT returns to HMRC through the new MTD gateway and we got Vanilla in from the start of the process. They came to see us at Oxford and from then on the communication and support was excellent and we submitted our returns in plenty of time.”

Mike Hollifield added: “Our MTD for IFS application consists of two elements – a method of collating VAT information stored in an IFS system, and a client application that submits the data to HMRC.

“The key point is we’ve used our simplicity and customer-focus mantra to build an application that customers want and need. We have a solution that is easy to use and meets the legal requirements – and has been recognised by HMRC.

“Lek and Oxford Biomedica were great to work with and the process went very smoothly. We attended site at Oxford, configured their environment, installed the software, ran through some draft submissions to reconcile the data and fixed a few things along the way.

“Lek encountered an issue after we left site, so we investigated and provided a resolution in a couple of days. There was great communication throughout the process and we were delighted when Lek emailed over her receipt from HMRC for her first submission.”

Oxford Biomedica has been using IFS since 2016 and work on the MTD project started in February this year. Work was completed on site within a day and Oxford Biomedica now has an ongoing support contract with Vanilla.

Lek added: “I would certainly recommend Vanilla – their knowledge of IFS was very impressive and they’re also competitively priced. Their response times were very good and we found the team very supportive and friendly. When we had a couple of issues with the process, they identified the problem promptly and they were resolved very quickly.”

MTD is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs. HMRC’s ambition is to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. MTD came into force for VAT-registered businesses with a turnover of £85,000 or more in April of this year.

In response to the legislation, Vanilla Solutions developed a digital solution to support IFS users making the transition online.

Mike explained: “Our solution makes it simple and easy for companies to be compliant with the new legislation. Customers have the reassurance that our solution has been recognised as suitable by HMRC and is fully compliant

IFS itself is not providing a MTD solution, so IFS users need to find a third-party application.

For more information, visit


Editor’s notes:

About Oxford Biomedica
Oxford Biomedica (LSE:OXB) is a leading gene and cell therapy group focused on developing life changing treatments for serious diseases. Oxford Biomedica and its subsidiaries (the “Group”) have built a sector leading lentiviral vector delivery platform (LentiVector®), which the Group leverages to develop in vivo and ex vivo products both in-house and with partners. The Group has created a valuable proprietary portfolio of gene and cell therapy product candidates in the areas of oncology, ophthalmology and CNS disorders. The Group has also entered into a number of partnerships, including with Novartis, Sanofi, Axovant Gene Therapies, Orchard Therapeutics, Boehringer Ingelheim, the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium and Imperial Innovations, through which it has long-term economic interests in other potential gene and cell therapy products. Oxford BioMedica is based across several locations in Oxfordshire, UK and employs more than 430 people. Further information is available at