HMRC have made the most extraordinary declaration. They are no longer going to provide agents with certain information regarding the tax affairs of their clients via the agents’ help line. They have said (23 August 2017):
“We will not provide agents with:
- pay and tax information. If your clients do not have a P60 and are unable to get this information from their Personal Tax Account or their employer, then we will provide this information directly to your clients, by letter
- any client information on bankruptcy, existing Deeds of Assignment, Section 9a enquiries (opened, ongoing or previously opened) or Individual Voluntary Agreements as this is information that is available from your client
- any other employment history information such as P11D benefits received, unless it is to complete a Self-Assessment (SA) return for an existing SA customer. We will continue to supply this information until our new digital service is switched on for agents later in the year.”
Apparently, HMRC is working on a digital facility that will enable agents to access their clients’ details securely online. In the interim, these changes will impact your efforts to obtain information.
Practitioners would do well to factor this notification into their self-assessment tax return procedures, as the 2016 e-filing deadline approaches, 31 January 2018. Thankfully, the restricted information should be available to most practitioners as they will likely run payroll systems for their clients. However, based on experience, HMRC’s intention to provide an online agents portal “later in the year” should be taken with a pinch of salt. Whether agents will have this facility before the January deadline next year, remains to be seen.
This information was submitted to our professional clients within days of the announcement by HMRC. To see the range of services we offer accountants in the UK please give us a call.