Keep your client lists clean

AccountingWEB’s resident anti-money laundering expert David Winch offered a useful warning to practitioners not to neglect their client lists on the HMRC agent portal.

As part of the tax department’s embryonic agent strategy, HMRC now compiles agent and client statistics (A&CS) on their filing, payment and compliance behaviour. This information will be used to assess agents, so that HMRC can “target support” to encourage good practice.

Theagent strategy is progressing slowly, partly due to the profession’s resistance to what looks increasingly like official regulation. But HMRC is already applying the philosophy, Winch told.

“I went to the HMRC stand with some trepidation and had a chat about what they feel about accountants,” Winch said in an interview with AccountingWEB at the Accountex event (see video below).

HMRC has noticed that a number of accountants have clients on their online lists for whom the agents no longer act. If those clients have gone elsewhere and subsequently submitted tax returns with more extravagant claims for expenses, those figures will be logged on the original agent’s statistics and could flag them as someone who’s making inflated claims, Winch explained.

“If you’ve got a client who has gone down the pub and gone elsewhere, do take them off your list. That will improve your statistics and may avoid contacts from HMRC you don’t really want,” he said.

Comments

Good tip

the_Poacher | | Permalink

It really is worth the effort of sorting out your client lists with HMRC. Do you have more than one code per regime in error? Have you asked HMRC to insert the 64-8 signal for cases where you no longer act? - send them a list and ask them to check and report back any discrepancies

jon_griffey's picture

What does deleting them from the list actually do?

jon_griffey | | Permalink

Does removing clients from the list actually remove them from your agency, and thus the HMRC statistics? 

The impression I get is that it just takes them off the list that you can view and leaves the 64-8 in place.  We still get correspondence from HMRC about clients who have not been on the list for years.

Update your list

the_Poacher | | Permalink

Update your list on the portal and then send hmrc a copy and ask hmrc to remove your agent code/64-8 signal from any record that is not in the list

I always tell HMRC about departed clients, unless.....

JDBENJAMIN | | Permalink

....I am confident the new accountant will file a 64-8. I always write to HMRC about it, as deleting the client from the online list does not stop them being registered as your client.

birdman's picture

In January I went through my

birdman | | Permalink

In January I went through my entire online list to make sure all Tax Returns had indeed been filed, and at the same time deleted all those cases where I no longer acted. Sadly, the deleteds are still sat there! I have made occasional attempts to remove in the past but they never seem to go away.

Complain

the_Poacher | | Permalink

If the online system doesn't work then properly then complain. The profit making company that runs HMRC services probably charges a fortune for support so let them earn their fees

Be in the safe side

Beale Sahi | | Permalink

May call us old book accountants but we always inform HMRC in writing about it.