Standard Name Format - Definition document (before 2007/8 tax return)

Standard Name Format (SNF) is a method of transmitting data from accounts packages to self assessment tax packages for the 1998 tax return onwards.

Key features:

Tax packages using Standard Name Format:

Drummohr Technology - Tax Assistant
Legatio - FastTax
Forbes - ProTax
Objective Tax
PTP - TaxReturn
QMS - SA2000
Taxcalc (except Lite)

Accounting packages using Standard Name Format:

PROacc Systems - PROcap
VT Software

(Please note there is no connection between VT Software Limited and VizTopia Software Limited)

If you are a software developer and you implement an SNF import or export facility, please send an email to VT Software so that your name can be added to the above lists.

Standard Name Format (SNF) is a method and data format for the export of accounts data from accounts packages to self assessment tax software packages. It is easy for software developers to implement and simple for the user. It uses standard names instead of tax return box numbers to identify amounts, and so should not need to be altered from year to year if the box numbers on the tax return change.

SNF has been devised by VT Software after consultation with tax software vendors. VT Software undertakes to supply details of SNF free of charge to anyone who makes a request, and it is hoped that SNF will be adopted as a universal standard by both tax software vendors and accounts package vendors.

SNF supports the transfer of data via the clipboard or a text file. Most tax packages only support the clipboard method, as this is the easiest to use.

SNF applies to unincorporated businesses only. Unlike the personal tax return, the CTSA tax return does not contain a pre-formatted profit and loss account and balance sheet.

Overview of usage
The user chooses a command in his accounts package such as Export via Clipboard (Standard Name Format). He then switches to his tax software package, selects the appropriate client, tax year and trade and chooses a command such as Import via Clipboard (Standard Name Format).

If data is exchanged via a text file and not the clipboard, the user also has to enter a file name in each case.

Data format
Data is copied to the clipboard or saved in a text file in the same format. The format consists of a line for each tax return box. The lines are separated by carriage return and linefeed characters. Each line consists of the standard name for the tax return box, a tab character and the amount in the box. The amount should not contain any thousands separators such as commas. The sign convention for the amount should be the same as that used on the tax return. The standard name is followed by the word Disallowable to identify disallowable expenditure. For example:

Sales 10000
CostOfSales 6000
EmployeeCosts 1500
EmployeeCostsDisallowable 250

The items can appear in any order. Lines for zero amounts must be included. The names are not case sensitive. The names never include spaces.

The extension .snf should be used for text files. The default folder/directory should be c:\snfdata.

Data groups
The accounting package may transmit one or more of the following groups of data:

The tax package should only reset an item to zero if a zero line is included in the data transmitted. The user may have chosen to enter a group of data such as disallowable expenses directly into the tax package, and he will not want this data to be reset.

Identification lines (clipboard or text file)
The clipboard or text file should also include the following identification lines:


These are intended to identify the data to the tax software package, and not to set boxes in the tax return. AccountsPackageName should always be the very first line on the clipboard or in the text file. PeriodEnding should be a date in the format dd mmmm yyyy. The tax software package may choose to use this data to prompt the user before importing the data. An example of these lines is as follows:

AccountsPackageName ABC Accounts Package
BusinessName A Sole Trader
PeriodEnding 31 March 2002

List of standard names

Standard Name Description on tax return (pre 2007/8) Comments
Sales Sales  
CostOfSales Cost of sales  
SubcontractorCosts Construction industry subcontractor costs  
OtherDirectCosts Other direct costs No longer included on self-employment 2007/8 return. If code used, tax packages should include under CostOfSales
OtherIncome Other income/profits  
EmployeeCosts Employee costs  
PremisesCosts Premises costs  
Repairs Repairs  
GeneralAdmin General administrative expenses  
MotorExpenses Motor expenses  
Travel Travel and subsistence  
Advertising Advertising, promotion and entertainment  
LegalAndProfessional Legal and professional costs  
BadDebts Bad debts  
Interest Interest  
OtherFinanceCharges Other finance charges  
Depreciation Depreciation and loss/(profit) on sale  
OtherExpenses Other expenses  
Plant Plant, machinery and motor vehicles  
OtherFixedAssets Other fixed assets  
Stock Stock and work in progress  
Debtors Debtors/prepayments/other current assets  
Bank Bank/building society balances  
Cash Cash in hand  
OtherCurrentAssets Other current assets and prepayments New item on self-employment 2007/8 return
TradeCreditors Trade creditors/accruals  
Loans Loans and overdrawn bank accounts  
OtherLiabilities Other liabilities  
BalanceAtStart Balance at start of period  
NetProfit Net profit  
CapitalIntroduced Capital introduced  
Drawings Drawings  
GoodsForPersonalUse Goods etc taken for personal use  
DeductionsFromNetProfit Deductions from net profit  
CapitalAllowancesCars Capital allowance – motor cars  
BalancingChargeCars Balancing charge – motor cars  
CapitalAllowancesPlant Capital allowance – other plant & machinery  
BalancingChargePlant Balancing charge – other plant & machinery  
CapitalAllowancesBuildings Capital allowance – buildings  
BalancingChargeBuildings Balancing charge – buildings  
CapitalAllowancesOther Capital allowance – other  
BalancingChargeOther Balancing charge – other  


Sample data

Sample data in SNF format


Further information or comments

For further information or to make comments, please contact:

Philip Hodgson
VT Software Limited
Swan Centre
Fishers Lane
London W4 1RX
Tel: 020 8995 1142
Fax: 020 8995 1763