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... and again!

HMRC have just called us regarding a client of ours. Leastways ... they said they were HMRC!

I asked for our agent code and was informed they don't have one! I said I needed to confirm they are HMRC and was told they were, because they have a 64-8 with our name on, but don't have an agent code!

I said their lack of confirmation that were HMRC put me in a difficult position regarding confidentiality and I got a sarcy comment saying 'they are only trying to help the taxpayer' and they put the phone down!

It's time HMRC had some proper procedures for confirming their ID when calling accountants, or taxpayers!

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By BKD
25th Nov 2011 11:36

I agree

Usually I can verify the telephone number with caller ID, so don't often have to worry about it. But you're right - if we don't otherwise have the means of confirming the caller's identity, HMRC need to be prepared to go through some form of checking, however rudimentary that may be. As far as I know, every agent has a code so I'm somewhat puzzled (and perhaps more than a little suspicious) by their claim that you don't appear to have one.

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25th Nov 2011 12:27

BKD - your response reminded us we have caller ID

So we called them back, and it was HMRC - but what a waste of everyones time, and such double standards when they insist on confirming our ID while not allowing us to do the same!

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25th Nov 2011 12:21

Waste of our time

HMRC called me a week ago about a client, but I told them as I couldn't verify who they were they would need to write to me - and that was that.

If I were awaiting a call from them urgently I just cannot see how I would verify them, if they can't even give an agent code.

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Sadly I think they were right

I think that when they are accessing the clients records they can see your name and address in the agent details, as you have 64-8 and it is part of their security questions set, but they cannot look through that link to see you to confirm the code. When we were talking to HMRC about the new Strategy, and why they needed the new database, we were told that under the current system they cannot see all your clients by looking at you, their only link onscreen is from the client record.

There must be an IT link to populate your online services but it is not visible.

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25th Nov 2011 13:47

Elephant

I ask for my agent code and I get it.

If they just want to tell me something they can without any checks. Sometimes they expect me to tell them verification information which could be very useful to a crook.

I had similar problems with some financial institution and I arranged for them to quote a password and they would. It was "elephant" (don't worry it was a one off)

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In the room

petersaxton wrote:

quote a password and they would. It was "elephant" (don't worry it was a one off)

I guess that's one you wouldn't forget

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25th Nov 2011 14:16

@Marion

The caller from HMRC said they had our 64-8. We put our agent code on the 64-8,so if they could view the 64-8 then they should have our agent code to hand. He said they could see our practice details from the 64-8, but maybe he meant the details entered onto their system from the 64-8.

They have been been able to give me my agent code in previous calls. Maybe it is a departmental problem within HMRC!

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25th Nov 2011 14:34

to be honest

it winds me up when the bank ring me up and then ask to take me through security checks.  Not least because with my main bank account I always fail.  There is no real answer to this, apart from engage brain before answering questions.

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25th Nov 2011 14:47

Callers should be more clever

They shouldn't phone you and then ask security questions. The Information Commissioner says that answering the phone should be sufficient. I know there can be more than one person at the address but gender reduces that chance for errors and if they ask for the name of the person answering the phone that should be sufficient.

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By halesir
25th Nov 2011 14:55

Agent Security Checks

We have always asked HMRC to go through the same security checks that they ask of us. If they fail or refuse (I only recall one refusal) we politely say "sorry we cannot be certain you are who you say you are so we will have to end the call".

We have had, as have others apparently, the Revenue phone us and then ask us to go through their security checks, as if we had phoned them. We again politely point out that it is they who made the call and so they have to prove who they are.

I recall that it was confirmed some time ago at a local WT meeting that Revenue staff are aware that they may be asked to prove they are who they say they are when phoning an agent.

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