On the HMRC website it states Easy MTD VAT is free yet I must pay to submit a VAT return
Easy MTD VAT is listed as "free" on the HMRC Find Software web page because the first VAT return can be submitted for free. The software is also free to use up to the point of submission (you can add/modify businesses, grant authority, view your VAT data, and view previously submitted VAT returns and their submission receipts without cost). We also do not charge for a licence.
When you sign up for an account with us, you are gifted a submission token that enables the first VAT return to be submitted for free. After that, we charge a small fee per submission token. The cost of a single submission token is just £4.99 which is extremely competitive compared to other MTD bridging solutions. Buying larger quantities of submission tokens reduces the cost per submission token all the way down to just £1.50.
Charging a small fee for submission tokens enables us to continue updating Easy MTD VAT and allows us to provide first class support and customer service. These benefits may not be available when using a completely "free" MTD solution - after all, how would the developer be able to finance them without an income? Other MTD solutions that claim to be "free" may be free for a short period but you are then forced to make payment or upgrade to a full accounting solution (both of which are sometimes not made apparent in the marketing of the solution).
We are completely transparent about our costs and we hope you appreciate the reason why we charge a small fee to submit VAT returns after the first free submission.