Last call for views on Agent Strategy
The consultation period for HMRC’s Agent Strategy proposals ends on Friday 16 September. After months of sometimes heated debate on AccountingWEB, tax editor Rebecca Benneyworth has summarised the community’s responses.
One of the dominant views in the initial period after the consultation document was published was that there should be no engagement with HMRC on the topics raised until the tax authority put its own house in order.
A community poll, however, showed that a clear majority felt it was important to respond to the consultation. This is what we have done, while the formal submission does acknowledge the concerns of those expressing the strongest objections – although sometimes few in number.
Another concern raised was that the proposed enrolment process to access online facilities for agents represented the “thin end of the wedge” of HMRC regulation by HMRC. Subsequent comments from the department made it clear that it has neither the intention, nor the resources to take on a regulatory role.
On the whole members on the whole were not concerned about the details asked for on enrolment, although several questioned the need to supply this data again, as they believed that HMRC already had access to all of the information requested.
Concerns about the proposed Agent View echoed some of the comments about regulation. Most advisers who commented on AccountingWEB felt it unfair to be judged by client compliance such as whether they paid tax or submitted returns on time. Both of these are regarded as outside the agent’s control. There was absolute agreement with the proposal that HMRC refusing to deal with an agent should be supervised by an independent body. The overview of the response is printed below.
URGENT: This is the final opportunity for AccountingWEB members to make their views known to HMRC. If you have any comments to add to those you may already have made please do so below, in the Agent Strategy discussion group or by private message to RebeccaBenneyworth and these will be included in an appendix to the report.