Issue 102 of Agent Update

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This month’s content

Technical updates and reminders

Developments and changes to legislation and allowances relating to UK tax including:

Tax

Making Tax Digital

HMRC agent services

Details of live consultations and links to responses, changes to HMRC services and guidance, including:

Agent Forum and engagement

Latest updates from the partnership between HMRC and the main agent representative bodies, including:

Technical updates and Reminders

Tax

Plastic Packaging Tax — check if your clients need to register

Plastic Packaging Tax was introduced on 1 April 2022.

If your clients manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging within a 12 month period they must register for Plastic Packaging Tax, even if their packaging contains 30% or more recycled plastic.

To find out more and support your clients visit the Plastic Packaging Tax collection page on GOV.UK.

HMRC has produced the following resources to support businesses.

Visit the Plastic Packaging Tax collection page for the latest guidance, including:

Watch recordings of our latest Plastic Packaging Tax webinar sessions on GOV.UK. Both webinars have been updated to reflect developments to the transport packaging exemption.

Find out when and how to submit a return on GOV.UK.

Preparing for the new tax year basis — Income Tax Self Assessment

The rules HMRC uses to work out sole traders’ and partners’ profits for Income Tax in a Self Assessment return are changing for many businesses for 2023 to 2024 onwards. This may affect the return that they must submit by 31 January 2025. It will also affect subsequent returns.

Only taxpayers with an accounting date other than 31 March or 5 April are affected by this reform.

Under the new rules, from April 2024, businesses will be taxed on profits for the tax year and not, as now, the profits for the accounting year ending in a tax year.

For 2024 to 2025 and future years where accounting years are different from the tax year end, the taxable profits will be worked out by apportioning the profits for the 2 accounting periods that straddle the tax year.

The year 2023 to 2024 is a ‘transition year’ in which self-employed businesses will move to the new way of calculating taxable profits for the tax year.

Businesses will need to declare the total profits from the end of the last accounting date in 2022 to 2023 up to 5 April 2024. This means that profits generated over a longer period will be taxable in the transition year.

In 2023 to 2024, businesses can use any overlap relief resulting from overlap profit when the business first started. By default, any remaining additional profit can be spread over 5 years.

As an example, if a business’s accounting date is 31 December, they must declare profits from 1 January 2023 to 5 April 2024 (15 months rather than 12) in their tax return for the tax year 2023 to 2024, which is due by 31 January 2025.

The transition year 2023 to 2024 will present an opportunity for all businesses currently trading, regardless of accounting date, to use any overlap relief due.

From 2023 to 2024 onwards, some businesses might have to use provisional figures on their returns. More information about this will be available in due course.

Where a business’s accounting date is changed in 2022 to 2023, the current change of accounting date rules will apply. Where a business decides to change its accounting date from 2023 to 2024 onwards, these rules will not apply, and a change can be made regardless of past changes.

Ahead of further guidance being published soon on GOV.UK, the Basis Period Reform policy paper provides background information.

Working through an umbrella company guidance

HMRC has been working on providing updated guidance on GOV.UK for umbrella company workers.

The guidance is intended to help workers understand how they will be engaged, how their pay is made up and what employment rights and tax obligations they have when employed by an umbrella company.

In addition to the revised guidance, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also produced a new page on Key Information Documents. This is an important part of the process in helping umbrella company workers understand their rights.

You can view the new guidance about working through an umbrella company on GOV.UK.

Paying voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) in deferred 2020 to 2021 tax returns

HMRC has identified 3,900 customers who deferred filing their 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment return until after 31 January 2022 and paid voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

If a return is filed after 31 January, the calculation will not accept voluntary contributions and a message is shown saying it is too late to pay.

We will be writing to all 3,900 customers in December 2022 explaining how to resolve this issue. If your client does not receive a letter and they have been affected, contact the National Insurance: general enquiries helpline.

Completing Self Assessment for student and postgraduate loan borrowers

If you are completing a Self Assessment tax return on behalf of a client with an outstanding student or postgraduate loan, it is important that the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income for each employment is included on your client’s tax return prior to submission to HMRC.

This ensures that charges relating to student or postgraduate loans are correctly calculated based on total income, and that interest is calculated at the correct rate by the Student Loans Company.

Student and postgraduate loan deductions taken from each employment must also be included in the tax return. These amounts will automatically be deducted from the total student or postgraduate loan charge in Self Assessment, as these deductions have already been sent to the Student Loans Company and applied to your client’s loan balance for the relevant tax year.

Further guidance about student or postgraduate loan deductions is available on GOV.UK.

The venture capital schemes — new online service for advance assurance applications for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

HMRC has introduced a new online service for advance assurance applications from 27 October 2022.

The new service enables companies and their agents to complete and submit applications and all supporting documents online, directly to HMRC’s Venture Capital Reliefs (VCR) team.

Companies seeking an advance assurance for an investment under one of the following venture capital schemes:

You must now use the new online service to apply for advance assurance on a venture capital scheme.

Agents should note that:

  • a copy of the authorisation to act on behalf of the company, signed and dated within the last 3 months, will need to be provided with every application
  • the online application can be saved at any stage and returned to within 28 days
  • the new service allows supporting documents to be provided as part of the online application, there is no longer a need to email either the application or supporting documents to HMRC
  • there is no longer a requirement to complete and submit scheme specific ‘Checklist’
  • a unique application reference will be provided on successful submission of each application

Guidance available

To support these changes HMRC has updated:

Reporting rules for digital platforms — draft regulations

Following the consultation in 2021 on the UK implementation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Model Reporting Rules for Digital Platforms and the summary of responses published on 20 July 2022, the government has now published draft regulations for digital platforms which will implement the new rules.

The rules will require UK platforms to collect, verify and report certain details of sellers who work on their platform to HMRC, and provide a copy of the reported information to sellers. HMRC will exchange the information with other tax authorities and will use it to detect and tackle any non-compliance by sellers.

The draft regulations set out the due diligence, record keeping and reporting obligations on platform operators, as well as the penalties for failing to comply with the new rules.

HMRC is seeking technical feedback on the wording of the draft regulations to ensure they operate as intended and to identify any areas that will need further clarification in detailed guidance.

We are also happy to have meetings to discuss any practical issues raised by the draft regulations. Responses and requests for meetings should be sent to [email protected]. The closing date for comments is 13 December 2022.

Alcohol Duty reform — views sought on proposed legislation by 18 November

Stakeholders including producers, importers, and resellers of alcoholic products have until 18 November to respond to the government’s Alcohol Duty technical consultation.

All feedback will help inform the draft primary legislation for alcohol duty reform to implement the new rules from 1 August 2023.

Businesses can have their say by completing the consultation response template on GOV.UK.

P87 forms — information requirements

We want to alert you to planned changes to the Income Tax relief for employment expenses form, known as a P87.

Changes will be implemented that will make the following information mandatory on all P87 forms. We will keep you updated on the timing of the changes, which are expected to come into effect at the end of the year.

New additional information requirements for P87 forms will include:

  • all the details in section 1, except for the title and contact phone number which are optional
  • the employer PAYE reference number in section 2 — your clients can get this from their personal tax account, the HMRC app, P45 or P60 and give it to you
  • the type of industry in section 2 if you’re claiming flat rate expenses

We will reject any forms that do not include the required information after the date these changes take effect which we’ll inform you of shortly.

These changes are being introduced to improve customer experience. It takes us longer to process forms without the required information, resulting in delayed payments. We want to pay customers the money they’re due as quickly as possible and ensure our advisers’ time is used efficiently.

Real Time Information (RTI) — reporting advances of salary

Salary advances are arrangements between an employer and an employee, allowing employees access to some of their earned salary before their normal payday. Employers may also make arrangements through a third party, the latter charging a small fee for their services.

Under current legislation, these advance payments are treated as a payment on account of earnings. This means that employers must submit additional RTI reports to record these advance payments.

However, HMRC recognises that the statutory position, if applied to salary advances, creates extra administrative burdens for both employers and HMRC because it would require them to submit additional RTI returns.

Additional returns may also impact on HMRC processes, such as the risk of PAYE coding or Universal credit errors.

To address these issues, HMRC will amend secondary legislation, so that salary advances can be reported on or before the employee’s contractual pay day. This means each payment of salary only needs to be included on an RTI report once.

Employers who are currently reporting salary advances on or before the contractual pay date may continue to do so until legislation is in place.

Further information, including plans to update guidance, will appear in a future edition of HMRC’s Employer Bulletin.

Update on UK implementation of global tax reform

Agent Update 99 explained that following agreement by 137 countries in the ‘Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Inclusive Framework’ the international corporate tax framework, is being reformed. Work is continuing to implement this within the UK.

Pillar 1

Amount A of Pillar 1 reforms international tax rules, to ensure a greater share of the profit of the largest multinationals is taxed in the countries in which customers are located, regardless of whether firms have a physical presence there.

Amount B simplifies the application of existing transfer pricing rules to baseline marketing and distribution activities.

On 6 October 2022, the OECD published a progress report on the administration and tax certainty aspects of Amount A of Pillar 1. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback by 11 November 2022.

Two further public consultations will be released by the end of 2022:

  • one dealing with the withdrawal and standstill of Digital Services Taxes and other relevant similar measures in Amount A
  • and the other dealing with Amount B

The OECD is now working to complete Amount B in the first half of 2023. The signing ceremony for the multilateral convention that will implement Amount A is also planned to take place in the first half of 2023, with the ambition of Amount A entering into force in 2024 if the convention is ratified by a critical mass of jurisdictions.

UK implementation will need to comply with the international agreement that is ultimately reached. We will start detailed preparations for the implementation of Amount A once the model rules and multilateral convention text are finalised.

Pillar 2

The next phase of developing the OECD Implementation Framework is underway. The full implementation plan includes:

  • agreeing the standardised template for the information return and processes to enable access to information so that each tax authority can administer the rules
  • regarding Safe Harbours, where businesses can demonstrate that they are not in a position where top up taxes would be due. Businesses have expressed a wish for simplifications where possible
  • an OECD peer review framework to evaluate the quality of a country’s implementation and agree whether their domestic rules qualify
  • resolving outstanding issues not addressed within the model rules or commentary that need to be decided to allow countries to prepare their legislation and to give businesses enough time to prepare

The UK has yet to make a formal announcement on whether we will introduce a Domestic Minimum Tax, although the response to the UK consultation explains that there are strong arguments in favour of one. A Domestic Minimum Tax would ensure that any top-up tax due on low-taxed profits in the UK is collected by the UK, rather than by other tax authorities via their own countries’ Pillar 2 rules.

The government intends to include the final legislation on the multinational top up tax in Finance Bill 2022-23.

Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital for VAT — make sure your clients are signed up

Unless they are exempt, all VAT registered businesses should now be using Making Tax Digital (MTD) compatible software to keep VAT records digitally and file their VAT returns to HMRC.

Businesses that file their VAT returns monthly or quarterly will no longer be able to use their existing VAT online account to do so. This means they will need to use MTD compatible software to file their future VAT Returns.

If your client’s turnover is under the VAT threshold of £85,000 and they have not signed up to MTD in time to file their next return by 7 November, they can still use their existing VAT online account for that return only. We’ll be contacting these businesses directly, to let them know.

If you work with VAT-registered businesses, check they’re on track to do this. If your clients do not file their VAT returns through this software, they may have to pay a penalty.

How to apply for an exemption from using software

If your client is already exempt from filing VAT returns online or if they or their business are subject to an insolvency procedure, they’re automatically exempt.

You can check if you can apply for an exemption on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

You can find more information on GOV.UK about Making Tax Digital.

VAT registration service

The way businesses register for VAT changed from the 1 August 2022.

To access the VAT registration service on behalf of your clients, you should visit VAT: registration applications, exceptions and changes and use your agent services account credentials to sign in your clients.

If you register using this route you will be asked to provide your name, phone number and email address. We will only use these details if we need to contact you about your application.

If you use the VAT registration service available through the older agent online service portal or from HMRC online services, you will need to verify your identity with your National Insurance number, name and date of birth.

When using the VAT registration service your clients will be automatically signed up to MTD for VAT.

If your client needs to make an exemption claim, this must be done separately and will be considered independently of the registration.

Changes to the agent services account content — removing references to ‘Making Tax Digital’ for VAT

The agent service account allows agents to access HMRC services to transact on behalf of their clients.

From April 2022, all VAT registered customers were mandated to sign up to Making Tax Digital (MTD) and use MTD-compatible software to keep their VAT records and file their VAT returns, with some exceptions.

Therefore, the terminology MTD VAT will be reduced to simply, VAT.

That’s why soon you’ll no longer find references to the MTD VAT service from the content in the agent services account, as all our customers should now be using this service for all VAT as standard, unless they are exempt.

Agent services account

Manage Access Groups

HMRC is developing a new feature within the agent services account called Manage Access Groups which will allow agents to control who in their agency can access client records, with the option to opt in or out of using it.

We have started testing this new feature with a small group of agents that have up to 1,000 clients.

Manage Access Groups does not currently support agents with over 1,000 clients. We are however, investigating options for allowing larger agents to use the service and will be looking for volunteers to test this over the coming weeks.

If you are interested in taking part in testing but would like to find out more about what it involves or how Manage Access Groups could benefit your business, email [email protected].

If your clients have outstanding deferred VAT

Businesses may be charged a 5% penalty and interest if they have deferred VAT and have not yet paid.

Anyone struggling to pay deferred VAT should contact us as soon as possible, as we can look at manageable payments according to individual circumstances.

Businesses that deferred VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 could choose to:

  • pay in full by 31 March 2021
  • join the online VAT deferral new payment scheme by 21 June 2021 to spread payments of deferred VAT over smaller, interest free instalments
  • contact HMRC to make an arrangement to pay by 30 June 2021

For those whose payments are still outstanding with no arrangement in place, penalties could apply if they do not contact us.

You can find more information on deferred VAT and the penalty charge on GOV.UK.

Get ready for new VAT late submission penalties

There are less than 2 months to go until new late submission and late payment penalties for VAT are introduced from 1 January 2023.

For businesses with VAT periods starting on or after 1 January, the default surcharge will be replaced by new penalties if a VAT return is submitted or paid late.

We’re also making changes to VAT interest charges, which will bring VAT in line with Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) and provide consistency across the taxes.

Help businesses prepare for these changes by sharing the VAT penalties communications resources on your own channels, including social media messages, a blog post and links to a helpful video and webinar.

HMRC agent services

HMRC is now using card readers to take payments

HMRC is making it easier for customers to make payments during face-to-face visits.

From 31 October, all HMRC Officers who visit customers about debt will have card readers available so they can take payment at the premises rather than having to call the helpline. This will reduce calls, giving HMRC more capacity to support more customers.

Card payments can be used to make payment in full or part payment as part of a Time to Pay arrangement.

We understand that customers will want to be sure that a collector is legitimate. You can contact us to confirm the identity of HMRC staff.

Stopping paper Bacs repayment notifications for Self Assessment and Corporation Tax

HMRC currently issues paper repayment notifications to let customers and their agents know about Bacs electronic repayments being issued to them for Self Assessment and Corporation Tax.

To bring this into line with HMRC’s processes on other taxes, we will stop issuing these paper notifications from 16 December 2022.

Alternatively, your clients can use their HMRC online services account to review any transactions. You can also use HMRC’s online services for agents account to review transactions on your client’s behalf.

More information about HMRC online services is available on GOV.UK.

VAT overseas refunds for non-UK Businesses — electronic submission of claims

Agents and businesses can register to use HMRC’s Secure Data Exchange Service (SDES). The beta service was launched on 17 October 2022 and businesses and agents have until 30 November 2022 to register. Once registered, they can make their application on the system.

The application must be submitted by no later than 31 December 2022, for the claims period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

In 2020, HMRC tested SDES for overseas VAT refund claims with a small number of agents. In 2021, we extended this trial to all agents with a history of submitting these claims to HMRC. Now we are opening up the service, which is still in a test phase, to all agents and businesses.

The information on how to register for SDES is now available.

We are testing the system as part of our work to transform tax and payments for customers, improving our processes and the overall customer journey. The SDES system allows large volumes of electronic data, such as refund applications and the required documentary evidence (the invoices), to be sent to HMRC quickly and securely.

VAT First Period Repayment Claims: new digital G-form

Since autumn 2021, some newly VAT registered businesses who have submitted a repayment claim on their first VAT return, have received a letter advising HMRC would check their repayment claim.

The letter includes a questionnaire which businesses are asked to complete and provide supporting evidence for their VAT repayment claim.

We have seen a significant increase in emails and telephone calls asking for an electronic version of the questionnaire to be provided.

We have listened to the feedback we have received and have now created a new digital G-form. This form can be accessed and completed on GOV.UK by searching ‘Send details to support your VAT repayment claim’ which will allow businesses to provide the requested information more securely. You’ll need a Government Gateway account.

There will be no changes to the way HMRC currently processes VAT First Period Repayment Claims.

What the benefits are

The new G-form will streamline the current process for customers, making it easier for them to give us information to support their repayment claims.

It will enable customers to:

  • submit information with ease
  • upload more detailed information
  • receive a response quicker

This will enable processing teams to work more efficiently, speeding-up the processing time for the customer. It also means customers will not have to contact HMRC and wait for an electronic copy to be provided or have to scan or post the paper version back.

Business advisers: help your employer clients stay on top of their workplace pensions duties

The Pensions Regulator is warning employers to ensure they are complying fully with their ongoing automatic enrolment duties after inspections found a number of errors. You can find more information on their automatic enrolment duties on their website.

The warning follows a series of in-depth compliance checks of more than 20 large employers across the UK.

You can visit the Pensions Regulator website to find key errors. including using incorrect automatic enrolment earnings thresholds which put staff at risk of not receiving the pensions contributions they are due.

Correcting these mistakes can be costly for employers because as well as needing to make backdated payments for their staff receiving incorrect contributions, errors can also lead to enforcement action which can include financial penalties.

You can help your clients stay on top of their workplace pensions duties, if they do not, The Pensions Regulator will find out and they may be fined. The Pensions Regulator monitors all employers, big and small to make sure staff receive the pensions they are due.

The Administrative Burden Advisory Board (ABAB) — Tell ABAB Report

The Administrative Burden Advisory Board (ABAB) published the Tell ABAB report 2022 on GOV.UK on 20 October 2022.

The report is one of the keyways ABAB and HMRC gain insight from small businesses. This year’s survey was conducted in April and May 2022. We achieved over 3,000 responses, 68% of those from businesses and 32% identifying themselves as tax agents.

ABAB is made up of 13 members with a wide range of relevant and up to date business knowledge and expertise. It is independent, representing a cross section of businesses and professions and offers constructive challenge and support to HMRC by championing the views and concerns impacting the small business community.

Share the report with colleagues and if you would like to comment on this report or help ABAB with their work, contact: [email protected]

Income Record Viewer — a new service for agents

As part of HMRC’s commitment to providing agents with access to the information and services available to their clients where possible, the Income Record Viewer is now live. It provides access to information that is available to clients in their personal tax account, and which is not available to agents either online or by phoning the Agent Dedicated Line.

The Income Record Viewer (previously referred to as Agent Income Record Viewer or PAYE Income Record Viewer) provides agents with view only access to client’s pay and tax details and employment history for the current and previous 4 tax years.

Accessing the viewer

The Income Record Viewer is now available to all agents with an agent services account. 

You can access it from your agent services account homepage by the view a client’s income record link.

You will need to enter your client’s National Insurance number and then select the tax year, to view the information HMRC holds for that year. The current year (2022 to 2023) and the 4 previous years (from tax year 2018 to 2019 to tax year 2021 to 2022) are now available.

Before you can view details in the Income Record Viewer you will need to ask your client to authorise you by creating an authorisation link — this only needs to be done once by each client.

This will be triggered the first time you access the Income Record Viewer for a client, when you will be asked to enter their National Insurance number and date of birth. This is to protect their security and comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) obligations.

When the agent-client relationship is established, you will then be able to access income details for that client.

You’ll find the following information if we have it:

  • employments, occupational pensions, pay, tax and student loan deductions
  • tax code including all allowances and deductions
  • taxable benefits provided by an employer
  • information on underpaid tax
  • State Retirement Pension income

Issues or feedback

If any of the information in the Income Record Viewer does not look right, you can direct your client to their employer, pension provider, DWP or contact the Agent Dedicated line.

The Trust Registration Service — additional question for taxable trusts

We now require trustees (and their agents) of taxable trusts to confirm if the trust is a Schedule 3a trust in accordance with The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. A new question has therefore been added to the Trust Registration Service.

Trusts listed on Schedule 3a are express trusts that are exempt from registration as express trusts, and only registered on the Trust Registration Service to obtain a Unique Taxpayer Reference and declare a tax liability.

They are therefore subject to a more limited set of obligations within the The Money Laundering Regulations. In particular, they are not subject to the data sharing arrangements which came into force on 1 September 2022.

A list of these trusts can be found in the Trust Registration Service Manual (TRSM23000).

If you have responsibility for a taxable trust, when you next access the Trust Registration Service you will be prompted to answer this question. To keep your record up to date, we ask that you return to the service as soon as possible to complete this additional question.

Further guidance on how to register a trust as an agent can be found on GOV.UK.

Support for new paper VAT registration applications

On 5 August 2022, the VAT 1 application form and notes for VAT registration were updated. These can be found on GOV.UK.

VAT Registration YouTube videos designed to support the completion of the application and prevent common errors are now live:

Next month, we’ll publish YouTube videos on:

  • Do I need to Register my business for VAT?
  • How to keep records

We’ll share links in the next Agent Update.

Agent webinars have run throughout October, based on feedback received we will look to roll out further webinars over the coming months.

There is still availability to view a recorded version of our webinar, sign up details are available on our Community Forum page on GOV.UK.

Agent Talking Points

All agents will be aware of our popular Agent Talking Points webinars, for which most agents receive regular Monday morning updates.

We have principles of support for customers who need extra help. These set out our commitment to support customers according to their needs, and underpin the HMRC Charter.

Find out how to get help and what extra support is available.

HMRC has 20 tax agent toolkits available for you to download and use. They have been designed to address the most common errors seen from previous years. They include checklists of the key issues to consider and links to HMRC technical guidance and manuals.

Our toolkits are currently being updated.

Here is the breakdown of toolkits by category:

By identifying the most common errors this may prompt a conversation between you and your clients to ensure submissions are correct.

Complain to HMRC

To make a complaint to HMRC on behalf of your client you must be appointed as their Tax Advisor.

Find out when you can expect to get a reply from HMRC to a query or request you have made. There is also a dedicated service for tax agents to:

  • register you as an agent to use HMRC Online Services
  • process an application for authority to act on behalf of a client

Manuals

You can check the latest updates to HMRC manuals or subscribe to automatic notification of changes. You can also suggest improvements for pages of our manuals by using the feedback options in the page footer.

Online

Online training material and useful resources for tax agents and advisers

HMRC videos on YouTube, online learning modules, and live and pre-recorded webinars are available for tax agents and advisers providing you with free help, learning and support on topical subjects.

Publications

Employer Bulletin

The latest edition of Employer Bulletin is now available and contains topical and useful information about PAYE processes and procedures. For employers to be informed when it is available on the website, they must first register to receive the email alerts.

Pension schemes newsletter

This newsletter is published by HMRC’s Pension Schemes Services to update stakeholders on the latest news for pension schemes.

Revenue and Customs briefs

These are briefs announcing changes in policy or setting out the legal background to an issue. They generally have a short lifespan, as announced changes are incorporated into permanent guidance and the brief is then removed.

Agent Forum and engagement

We want your feedback on GOV.UK pages

Since April 2022 there have been 233 comments from agents and customers on the content of GOV.UK pages. 47% of those led to changes being made. Agents are invited to continue providing feedback to aid improvements in the information.

Let us know if a page was helpful

You can quickly and easily let us know if the content of a manual page was helpful by selecting either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question ‘Is this page useful?’ at the end of the page.

You can answer anonymously and doing so really helps HMRC to understand what guidance is working as intended and what needs their attention.

If you answer ‘No’ you also get the option to provide your email address so you can be sent a generic survey about GOV.UK. This goes way beyond HMRC’s manuals — you can provide this sort of feedback on almost all GOV.UK pages.

If you find a problem with a page, you can select the link stating ‘Report a problem with this page’ to tell us what you were trying to do on the page and what issues you encountered.

We monitor this anonymous feedback closely and subject matter experts make changes to the manuals to fix errors and improve clarity. Again, you can provide feedback in this way for almost all pages on GOV.UK and we use these comments to improve our other guidance too.

Provide feedback and get a reply if you want one

You can use the ‘Contact’ link at the very bottom of any page, then the link to the ‘GOV.UK form’ to provide more detailed feedback.

Detailed technical queries are directed to HMRC subject matter experts for analysis and to provide a response if you’ve asked for one and provided your contact details. And again, you can do this for other pages on GOV.UK too.

Agent Forum

The Agent Forum continues to grow with over 2,300 agents now benefitting from the service to post and view queries, provide relevant evidence, suggest solutions, and access updates on potential systemic issues which may have a widespread impact on the operation of the tax system.

Work continues on improvements to the operation of the forum, seeking to strengthen performance and the service to agents.

The 3 key areas where improvements are being implemented are:

  • improving the standard of initial posts
  • faster triage to the correct HMRC subject matter expert
  • the timing and quality of responses provided

Improving the standard of initial posts to identify and provide evidence of potential systemic issues will assist improvements in the triage of queries to experts and enable improvements in the speed and content of answers.

Guidance on the posting and progression of issues can be accessed by logging into the Agent Forum and accessing the Agent Forum Good Practice Guide.

Advice and guidance is also available in previous editions of Agent Update:

  • Agent Update 92 January 2022 — closing and locking Agent Forum posts
  • Agent Update 93 February 2022 — providing potential systemic issue evidence on the Agent Forum
  • Agent Update 95 April 2022 — Agent Forum etiquette
  • Agent Update 96 May 2022 — Agent Forum etiquette
  • Agent Update 97 June 2022 — triaging and responding to Agent Forum posts
  • Agent Update 98 July 2022 — process for prioritisation, escalation, and review of confirmed issues on the Agent Forum
  • Agent Update 99 August 2022 — guidance on creating posts on the Agent Forum

Locking and re-opening of Agent Forum posts

In seeking to further improve the triage of enquires and follow-up on responses, Agent Forum posts which at the outset do not clearly appear to be about a potentially systemic issue, may be locked within 5 days.

Similarly, comments which follow a response, and do not contain additional new evidence can also be locked within 5 days.

In both instances the feedback provided will be made available to subject matter experts as insight on the topic. Should agents or professional bodies identify additional evidence on the topic in the future, they can email [email protected] requesting the thread to be reviewed and re-opened.

HMRC may also re-open a post if there is new information or the outcome advised changes, such as introduction of new technology, new policy.

This ensures the Agent Forum can balance resources and increase effectiveness in triaging greater volumes and a wider range of queries from more agents. This will benefit the majority of users, avoiding disproportionate resources being used on providing multiple follow-on responses after the answer at this time has been provided.

Issues Overview Group (IOG): Escalated Issues

The next meeting of the Issues Overview Group (IOG) is on 30 November. Agents are invited to provide input to their professional body in advance of this meeting.

Answers and the latest updates available on issues are published on the relevant Agent Forum subject thread. Information available on the progression of the top issues, as prioritised by the IOG, can be viewed in the IOG Escalated Issues section of the Agent Forum.

Following the last IOG meeting, professional body representatives met with HMRC Subject Matter Experts on the VAT registration service to progress queries on the service.

A bespoke meeting is scheduled for 8 December. Answers will continue to be posted on the Agent Forum when available. Service levels continue to be a priority for the IOG.

Professional bodies are meeting with senior directors in HMRC in the Representative Bodies Steering Group on 7 December for an update on HMRC performance.

Others-18501 — Self Assessment payment not showing on online record. A technical issue which meant some Self Assessment payments on account by cheque were not showing, or showing incorrectly, on some customers’ records has been resolved. All records impacted were updated correctly by 19 October.

SA-19767 — Agent Dedicated Line (ADL) phone line outage information. Professional bodies at the Representative Bodies Steering Group requested that the Agent Forum be updated when there is a known issue.

SA-9471 — Self Assessment pre-population data: Having investigated, HMRC has confirmed that the service is working as it was designed to. Agents should be aware that there are circumstances where data will not be available. Where HMRC is expecting but has not received updates in our back-end systems, the service will not provide data. This is a safety measure to prevent estimated information being used to pre-populate a return.

HMRC is working towards a Single Customer Account where customers can view all their tax affairs with a single log-in. This will require a programme of work across the IT estate.

In the interim, HMRC is working on making our Income Record Viewer service available to all agents by the agent service account. This will enable agent access to a client’s PAYE data earlier than they can currently get access now as it does not rely on end of year reconciliation, although this will not pre-populate into the Self Assessment return.

HMRC is working with MTDITSA to support the future pre-population of clients’ Self Assessment data, which will source employment data from real time information.

SA-11680 — Linking emails to clients: HMRC has provided our IT suppliers with evidence from agents of where HMRC emails would benefit from including a client reference. The supplier has investigated and advised that to fully test this scenario whilst complying with GDPR, they would require cases within the last 28 days that can be run through in development.

Agents are invited to submit examples that are less than 28 days old to [email protected].

Contact information for professional and representative bodies

If you are not a member of a professional body, contact the Agent Engagement mailbox.



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