The first stage of MTD comes into effect in April 2019. All businesses that have registered for VAT will need to use software that files the VAT return directly to HMRC. The option of logging into HMRC's website and manually inputting the VAT figures will no longer be available.
All new VAT registrations after April 2019 will go onto the new system immediately.
This will mean having in place software that has the facility to file VAT returns via an API (Application Programming Interface).