Personal tax account: The road ahead

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We haven’t been able to get a good hard look at HMRC’s digital tax strategy - but already accountants can feel the earth shifting beneath their feet.

The personal tax account - as it is now known - is live, and accountants are no longer permitted to log into SA online using their client’s credentials. The uncertainty for accountants is that HMRC said in their last agent update that “the personal tax account isn’t currently designed for use by agents”.

“An agent impersonating a client through using their client's personal gateway credentials is an inappropriate security break and often inconsistent with professional body standards,” said an HMRC spokesperson. “Where HMRC identifies that there has been inappropriate access to a business of individual's tax affairs, it takes proportionate action to inform the parties whose credentials have been misused.

It begs the question: what happened to Agent Online Self Serve (AOSS)? It seems to have been completely overtaken by the PTA project. Kevin Hart, chairman of BASDA and Sage UK’s strategic alliance manager, shares this suspicion.

“It’s clear that AOSS is of its time, which sounds crazy because its only just been released,” said Hart. “We’ve spent quite a bit of effort and time with various teams at HMRC because of the challenges they’ve got across so many ways of registering clients on behalf of agents. Bringing it all together seemed exactly the right thing to do. It appears to us that the PTA has overtaken the AOSS in some regards.”

For obvious reasons, accountants are anxious to understand how they will be able to access their clients’ data. Unfortunately only morsels of information are currently available, but HMRC is pleading patience: “We will be improving the service to provide agents access, until then you should not try to access it on behalf of your client”.

“There are two discrete entities here,” explained Hart. “You’ve got the administration of clients they can work on behalf of, and then you’ve got the working on behalf of their clients.

“Certainly AOSS addresses the former, and it’s always been limited in that scope. I wouldn’t say it’s a one-time only activity, but it’s quite infrequent that you’ll need to administer your clients if you’re an agent.”

He continued, “But, of course, dealing with their circumstances on an ongoing basis, especially if the quarterly filing is approved and mandated, the agents are going to need access into the respective PTAs on a regular basis.”

How HMRC plans to mix the AOSS permission structure and the PTA itself is still yet to become clear. “I could crystal ball gaze and say that AOSS may well be superseded by a client administration add-on to the tax accounts,” offered Hart. “Alternatively, they could actually link AOSS into the digital tax accounts. It’s difficult to see what way they could go - but certainly the two different facets will need to be hooked up.”

For Mark Purdue, Digita’s manager for tax products, third party software providers will be “integral not only to the success of the project, but also to minimising the impact on the accounting profession, allowing you to get on with your client engagement with as few disruptions as possible”.

We already know that HMRC’s API strategy means the data within the department will be opened up to third party software suppliers, so it seems that the agents will rely heavily on their tax software to access client data.

“Accountants will be able to view and, if necessary, edit their clients’ tax accounts directly via their own agent gateway”, said Purdue, “but this may prove cumbersome and tricky to interact with directly. Third party software will be there to deal with the interaction between you and each client’s tax account.”

Policing the PTA

It’s not known exactly how the tax department will police access to the PTA. “The security policies are still developing,” explained Hart, “but naturally with these systems you can pick out IP addresses and potentially CPU unique addressable data. They could see trends arising, for example if a block of ten customer accounts seem to be accessed from the same IP address.”

So if an agent uses a client’s login, this is registered as unusual behaviour for the client who hasn’t used that agent’s computer before. If the agent alo uses other client logins on the same computer, HMRC’s servers could potentially assess the situation to be fraud and the agent as compromised.

As AccountingWEB’s 2015 member of the year Tim Vane summarised it: “The fraud prevention algorithms may also decide that the agent related to all these clients is also compromised and block that agent ID as well, along with other agent IDs associated with the same firm. Possibly all other clients associated with that firm will also be flagged. It is likely that HMRC systems will be programmed to block everything, then allow human ops to determine what the situation is.”

Accounting in the age of “Assured Agent” status

Even core aspects of the HMRC charter are falling under Making Tax Digital’s umbrella. “You can expect us to treat you even-handedly,” reads the HMRC charter. But what happens to this central tenet when the tax authority goes ahead with its much vaunted assured agent status? In 2015’s Hardman lecture Robert Maas, a tax specialist with over five decades of experience, derided the plan in the strongest terms.

Reporting on the event, Rebecca Cave wrote:  “Maas doesn’t want to be an ‘assured agent’. He hopes that no other member of a professional tax/accountancy body would want to be one either, as tax professionals should be seen to be acting for their clients and not for HMRC.”

Cave’s article elicited a whirlwind of comments, mostly in agreement with Maas. Perhaps the most strident was Norstar: “I’ll say this now - if this comes to pass, and my firm is compromised further in its ability to interact with HMRC, I will be looking at legal action, and I’d welcome others to do the same.

“I didn’t study and work hard for years, building up a loyal client base of hundreds of people who depend on me, just so that HMRC can come along and damage that by casting judgement on me from afar.”

Another concern raised by AccountingWEB members was whether HMRC will use it to punish obstreperous accountants. “It really will get to the stage where agents will fear any dispute with HMRC in case they subsequently decide they're untrustworthy because they don’t do as told,” observed Cparker87.

Tony Margaritelli, chair of the ICPA, also chided the lack of clarity on how assured agent status would be awarded and revoked. “Will they withdraw assured status as easily as they will give it?” he asked. “Will it be up for appeal? Remember this is a department that cannot answer a telephone in a reasonable timescale. We all need to get together to fight this.”

Not everyone agreed with Maas’s assessment, though. A notable argument for HMRC’s assured agent status plans concerned unqualified accountants: “Unqualified accountants need to be regulated by someone,” wrote Ken Howard. “If they don't have a professional body, then HMRC needs to act as such and enforce similar rules of conduct and ethics.  If there are mistakes or misconduct, then HMRC would have the power to remove/reduce the agent's status.”

But also adding, “I just fail to see why HMRC want to get involved in regulating those who are already subject to adequate regulation from the accountancy bodies.”

TaxMatters agreed with Ken Howard’s take, albeit more forcefully: “If [Maas] saw some of the cases we have to sort out which result from unqualified people setting themselves up as accountants and taking a percentage of the refund he would soon change his mind. I am in agreement with the HMRC strategy as should any self-respecting tax adviser be.”

Digital exclusion

One of the biggest hurdles facing the PTA, however, isn’t technology or wayward accountants - it’s the British public.

The government’s own research on digital exclusion - defined as having no access to the internet - indicates a worrying trend among the self-employed. Nineteen percent of the self-employed with no employees surveyed were classified as digitally excluded.

HMRC seems to be ignoring this glaring issue by putting the horse before the cart, providing no clarity on agent log-in, hindering the accountant’s ability to help their less technologically adept clients across the digital divide in a timely fashion.

If this problem can’t be bridged, all talk of being the world’s most advanced tax administration will be rendered moot. An HMRC spokesperson told AccountingWEB that the tax authority will ensure people have access to guidance and support where needed, including access to telephone filing.

They added, “Throughout 2016 we will run a series of consultations on these changes giving businesses and their representatives plenty of time to feed into the development of these changes. People will also be able to nominate a ‘trusted helper’ to manage their affairs on their behalf, such as a relative or accountant.

“The changes necessary for Making Tax Digital will be phased in between 2018 and 2020, with each stage being tested thoroughly before implementation."

Replies

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11th Jan 2016 10:48

so confusing

This all sends my mind into a spin.

What are they making a system that's going to be so hard to deal with. 

It's not too bad as it is now!

It will not end well. (do I need to get some pills - I am getting derpressed?)

How many will exit the profession? How many will not cope (tax payer and accountant).What's the cost to all this to the economy and tax payer?

etc etc

 

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11th Jan 2016 10:53

There must be a period of grace

It is not clear how this is going to work with regard to PAYE / VAT etc, accountants often register their clients on the GG and pass on those details if required to the client. We will now have to ensure that we have access to this particular client information either through an additional login  or through our portals. Dont just shut us off particularly at this time of year when we have a lot on.

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11th Jan 2016 11:09

Revenue changes

If and when this actually comes to fruition - in the words of the Dragons - "I'm Out".

It was fun while it lasted and has provided a good living but when seen against a background of HMRC's total inability to communicate, answer correspondence, answer their phones, it's got to the stage now when it's clear that actually, they have no regards for agents, for working relationships, or indeed taxpayers. Orwellian? Yes, 1984 - just 40 years late. 

Goodbye !

 

 

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11th Jan 2016 11:39

and me

CORSALOVER2 wrote:

If and when this actually comes to fruition - in the words of the Dragons - "I'm Out".

It was fun while it lasted and has provided a good living but when seen against a background of HMRC's total inability to communicate, answer correspondence, answer their phones, it's got to the stage now when it's clear that actually, they have no regards for agents, for working relationships, or indeed taxpayers. Orwellian? Yes, 1984 - just 40 years late. 

Goodbye !

 

 

 

ADD ME TO THE LIST 

 

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11th Jan 2016 11:12

If the client has

given the Accountant permission to use the log in details, what right has HMRC to block. I agree with Norstar. It only needs one to go to court for HMRC to back down.

We all know what this is about anyway. It's HMRC trying to put an end to the one man band business. Gordon Brown started the ball rolling and now Osborne sees it as a way to pay for his cuts.

Crack on and watch the destruction of the small business.

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By P&G
11th Jan 2016 11:17

HMRC DO NOT WANT AGENTS ACTING
This latest revelation just shows that HMRC are determined to eliminate agents from their lives. Who would create new software without agent access when the bulk of taxpayers affairs are dealt with by agents due to our tax system being too complex for the layperson to comprehend? It is obviously all about the money as HMRC knows they can extract more than "the right amount of tax" out of a taxpayer if they can simply bypass an agent.

The spin regarding PTAs was that 94% of Self Assessment Returns are filed online these days. I would not argue with this statistic but what it fails to then state is the split between filing direct and filing via agents. I have no data but would suggest the figure filed online by agents would be well over 90% of all Returns filed and might I suggest very near to 94%!

For anyone who has yet to sign the online petition can I urge you to do so. Whilst the figure has already passed 100,000 signatures inside a month, more are still needed in order for Government to listen. Perhaps we should be having a referendum on the future of HMRC rather than our future in the EU.

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11th Jan 2016 23:26

Petition ?

P&G wrote:
For anyone who has yet to sign the online petition can I urge you to do so. Whilst the figure has already passed 100,000 signatures inside a month, more are still needed in order for Government to listen. Perhaps we should be having a referendum on the future of HMRC rather than our future in the EU.

 

Presumably been too busy to notice this petition !  Please can someone provide the link to it ?

Thanks

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By Nebs
11th Jan 2016 11:35

Engagement Letters

Simply update engagement letters to enable the client to authorise you to access their Personal Tax Account. If you explain to the client why it might be beneficial then I can't imagine any clients not agreeing.

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11th Jan 2016 11:41

Forget the petition

it aint going to work , its all been decided there will be no turning back , adapt or get out.

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11th Jan 2016 11:47

Will they listen?

and how can we get through to them? 

 

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By SXGuy
11th Jan 2016 11:42

Perhaps hmrc staff should take note of their own rules
Last year we tried to add a client to our agent access. No authorisation code would work. When telephoning hmrc we were advised to register them on their behalf with their own login details and use that. So under this it appears their own advice could be our downfall?

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11th Jan 2016 11:44

personal tax account

How can they get this right.  I have at least one client who's state pension i have checked against the amount shown on my agents "other information to complete your tax return" and found it wrong or missing.  This one client said nil, even though the itr for the last two years showed state pension.  I telephoned hmrc as this year the clients husband died and her state pension would be altered.  She is ill so I could not ask her.  They said they did not have the information as they did not need to issue a coding notice, I asked what I should put on the return, they said make an estimate.  They would check if it was right when reviewing the return, I asked if that was the case why could they not tell me now what it was!!!!!!

 

I have no hope of hmrc getting it right on the PTA

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11th Jan 2016 11:55

A Clear Time scale?

Am I correct  - self assessment returns for the self employed will continue for 2016, 2017 and 2018 then the transfer to PTA will be phased for 2019 and 2020, so come 2021 no self employed will be filing self assessment returns?

 

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11th Jan 2016 12:02

PTAs

I see the head of HMRC, one Homer, is resigning. It all seems like an episode of The Simpsons!

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11th Jan 2016 15:54

Perfect Fit:

stuart1696w wrote:

I see the head of HMRC, one Homer, is resigning. It all seems like an episode of The Simpsons!

Yes: apparently she has a new career as a Pantomine Dame.

Seems she should have stayed on at HMRC.

Perfect fit.

 

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11th Jan 2016 12:08

The Core Problem - Again!

Is CCAB (The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies).

This is driven and controlled by the top ten firms who have little real interest or expertise in the lower echelons of the SME market; despite a vast majority of ICAEW and ACCA members in practice being sole practitioners or two man (woman) firms.

Unfortunately, however, government in terms of Treasury, the joke agency Department for Business Innovation & Skills and HMRC, all gravitate to FRC and their steering gurus at CCAB. It was ever thus.

Now this is despte underlying reality: 99% of ALL UK businesses are SME; and a majority are small, Micro-Sized or Class Size Zero: they are not transnational trading multi-national plcs. A majority of SMEs fall into the small sector, from sole traders with no employment through, mainly > 5 employees.

Furthermore, SMEs generate circa 48% of the TOTAL of UK private sector GDP and create around 47% of employment: surely, therefore, a critical aspect of Britain's essential survival and key to expansion and national prosperity?

Therefore in essence, government and thus HMRC plan strategies and policies, without any real knowledge or input regarding the vast majority of their user bases: or, more critically, the impact their blue sky concepts will have upon the little guy, in other words, incusively, both SMP and SME communities.

The one great white hope at one time was when Mark Spofforth was chair of ICAEW's Small practitioner's Committee. Mark unfortunately went on to greater things and seems to have forgotten all he once stood for.

The main opponents of these spavined plans ought to be, of course the leading accountancy institutes.

I wish!

As always government have been seduced by Greeks Bearing Gifts: in this case yet another set of slick IT system and consultant salesmen promising all things and the wonders of advanced integrated systems.

Well, now, if it actually does work, as intended, then this will be the very first time in history government have managed to roll out such a wide all-embracing system on time, on budget and one that delivered all the bells and whistles promised faithfully on the original project analysis and plan.

Personally, I am not holding my breath and can only wait to roll around on the floor laughing and clutching my tum tum!

 

 

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11th Jan 2016 12:21

Help! I do not understand

I do not understand the above extract, am i right in thinking if I use my clients HMRC online account to file Accounts, Vat, Paye I am breaking the rules and possibly the law ?????

 

“An agent impersonating a client through using their client's personal gateway credentials is an inappropriate security break and often inconsistent with professional body standards,” said an HMRC spokesperson. “Where HMRC identifies that there has been inappropriate access to a business of individual's tax affairs, it takes proportionate action to inform the parties whose credentials have been misused.

 

Please tell me the above article is a load of nonsense.

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By hpyatt
11th Jan 2016 12:38

1984 has landed.

AndrewV12 wrote:

I do not understand the above extract, am i right in thinking if I use my clients HMRC online account to file Accounts, Vat, Paye I am breaking the rules and possibly the law ?????

 

“An agent impersonating a client through using their client's personal gateway credentials is an inappropriate security break and often inconsistent with professional body standards,” said an HMRC spokesperson. “Where HMRC identifies that there has been inappropriate access to a business of individual's tax affairs, it takes proportionate action to inform the parties whose credentials have been misused.

 

Please tell me the above article is a load of nonsense.

Unfortunatley not. To access my PTA I have to enter a code that is SMS'd to my mobile (I could have chosen my email address). My mobile number is checked under the PTA Verify procedure (a ripe repositry of personal data waiting to be hacked). So it will be impossible to access a client's PTA unless you have access to their mobile or their personal email account. In the future they will no doubt use iris or fingerprint recognition and the NFC of your mobile to validate who is accessing the PTA.

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13th Jan 2016 09:33

Thanks Hpyatt

Its worse than I thought.

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By norstar
11th Jan 2016 12:27

Coping with numbers

I see I've inadvertently achieved notoriety!

The sad fact is that HMRC are embarking on a process of sidelining agents. I've had it today with a VAT client where they unjustifiably turned up unannounced, then when I requested details of their findings and asked why they'd done it, they responded "we'll contact you about the visit if it's necessary"!

But consider this. The PTAs are supposed to empower the taxpayer. The consensus is that HMRC's changes will marginalise many agents - especially the smaller ones.

HMRC don't have the resources to deal with the level of enquiries they get now, so if they do succeed in their apparant aim to distance and marginalise agents, removing our ability to look into client's affairs and advise accordingly, then how the hell are they going to deal with the inevitable avalanche of taxpayer enquiries into their dashboards, quarterly returns etc?

Whoever is responsible for this sort of policy at HMRC needs to be replaced as it's painfully obvious that they have zero concept of what life is like "on the other side".

 

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11th Jan 2016 12:56

PTA Parent Teachers Association?.....
....obviously not the Harper Valley one . This lot have no idea how to even begin to enjoy life.

Glad I m practicing in Naples Camorra N' dragheta bandit country where everything is sorted out by way of manila envelopes and the law ( Rome or Brussels) is studiously ignored.

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12th Jan 2016 12:52

Naples: What Fun. At least it's sunny!

itp3asso wrote:
....obviously not the Harper Valley one . This lot have no idea how to even begin to enjoy life. Glad I m practicing in Naples Camorra N' dragheta bandit country where everything is sorted out by way of manila envelopes and the law ( Rome or Brussels) is studiously ignored.

Interesting place....

Years back a good chum  - and partner in our then new Management Consultancy firm - and I had lunch. he frequently flew to Naples, en route for Ischia, where an old UK client had retired after building up a valuable hotel and restaurant group: and insisted my chum continued to assist him.

As he picked up his pint, it was rattling against his teeth! Honest!

I asked him what was wrong......

Apparently, his client and cronies were in process of buying a large stalled hotel project in Naples. as he worked through the financials, he realised the outstanding tax bill would kill the project stone dead.

"Heh!" said his client, "You donna worry about the a tax; is all a sorted!".

Long story cut short: the next day they took the skimmer back to Naples and attended a meeting with the head tax man. After kisses on the cheeks and warm hugs, coffee and pastries (Not much similar with a revenue investigation, then!), they got down to business. The client passed over the Italian equivalent of a large tesco bag. and the tax honcho shook out bundles of high denomination lire, swept them in to his desk draw and then took the tax file and went to a large bank of filing cabinets. Placing the file on top, he slowly pushed it to the back, whereupon it fell down behind the cabinets!

"Oh look!" he said "She is a lost!".

Apparently, every time a new President was elected there was a general tax amnesty and all outstanding taxes were written off and they started again!

Back in Ischia they told my chum his name was on the deeds as the owner. About which has was not too happy.

He was less happy when they told him the chief competitor in the bidding had been the Capo of the Naples Camorra!

Thus no wonder he was shaking in his boots: worried about being struck off: if he hadn't, by then, been blown away!

 

 

 

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11th Jan 2016 13:07

I see the panic, but not one person has mentioned that up to now there has been no personal tax account to look at. We've managed just fine by asking the client for information. I suggest that system will still work.

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11th Jan 2016 13:17

THE ROAD AHEAD

 Best analogy ever... given the state of England's roads.

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11th Jan 2016 13:30

A_SS & PiTA

Sums it all up perfectly! It's all bottoms...

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11th Jan 2016 14:13

pta

This is yet more evidence of HMRC not being able to connect with the REAL world!! Our clients are already confused enough and about 95% will not be able to deal with this system. We still have clients who cannot use a computer!! Some clients who have neither the knowledge or the patience to deal with this have already signed authorities to request that we access their tax accounts and have given us the Gateway numbers and passwords. Our clients trust us. Unlike HMRC who trust nobody!

 

Personally, I am out of this business later this year. After 21 years in practice I am going into semi-retirement, but I won't be doing any accountancy work. I just feel sorry for all those accountants who will be struggling on with the "buffoonery" of HMRC. Good luck !

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11th Jan 2016 15:17

All I can say is...

Thank god I'm selling my practice!  This seems like yet another half-arsed attempt by HMRC to try and force something through which isnt ready.  Why not wait until it is ready, or at least fit for purpose?  

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11th Jan 2016 16:02

@Michael

You didn't nick that off of taxteddy did you?????????

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15th Jan 2016 14:18

Nope!

johnjenkins wrote:

You didn't nick that off of taxteddy did you?????????

 

Dreamt it up all on my own!

 

 

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11th Jan 2016 16:15

Agent access is lacking

From my initial assessment the following cannot be done online from agent access level (as opposed to client level):

1) Change of address;

2) VAT Registration;

3) Review of client's payment history

Nos 1 and 2 is creating time-consuming and unnecessary paperwork for agents. For practitioners with many VAT registered clients the online registration was bliss. For the first time it was possible to choose a VAT quarter for a client and organize the workload better.

No 3 is especially troublesome. HMRC PAYE department and helpline is a complete mess. The updates in their databases can take months (they often show in the client's online account 2-3 months before HMRC acknowledges it when spoken to). From my experience you often can get things resolved with PAYE department only by writing lengthy complains, now you won't even have basis for those.

---

My propositions to HMRC:

1) Get what you already started done properly (implementing RTI and AOSS) and then talk about quarterly self-assessments and PTA

2) Perhaps wait until end of January before turning the system upside down.

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By JAADAMS
11th Jan 2016 16:38

There are two areas of concern...

There are two areas of particular concern - the main one being the 'assured status'. Those of us who attended the Working Together events in person - now a couple of years ago - will recall that HMRC were only going to permit VAT registered accountants to go so far into their computer site. That appears to have gone but they are determined to get their way. As my blog details - their thinking is to restrict those accountants whose clients are failing to submit returns ontime and failing to pay ontime - ie 'bad' accountants only have 'bad' taxpayer clients.

See http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/blog-post/hmrc-deal-only-good-agents

As carnmores says - they will get their own way - you only have to look at the recent response to the consultation paper 'The reform of Wear and Tear' issued in last month. Every valid objection/ comment made was dismissed by HMRC.

The second area of concern is for those taxpayers who are not computer savy. Again every consultation paper mentioned something about how they will be helped but I have yet to see anything to say exactly what they intend to do.

As someone who has been working on the BETA PAYE project (from the viewpoint of accountants not HMRC I may add!) when the system goes online you will be able to view payments made. If you look at my blog you will read that I met with 2 IT people from HMRC a few weeks ago to advise face to face what we, as accountants, would like to see. They dont seem to understand the difference between PAYE and CIS but that is another matter.

When I log onto the BETA I can see how client payments have been allocated against which month. Recently I logged on and all the taxes are shown on one page. The idea being that in the end you will be able to apply for a refund of company tax to be offset against a VAT liability for example.

I believe Norstar is right -  HMRC dont like and dont want accountants. 

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11th Jan 2016 20:02

I don't want to be an accountant, I want to be ...
I've just spotted in the "Vancouver Globe and Mail" the perfect escape route and antidote to FRSSE (late, but not much lamented), IFRS, CIS, AE, RTI, AOSS, PTAs (not to mention the totally infantile absurdly-named "MOSS") and all the other ludicrous acronyms: "Wanted: A new generation of lumberjacks". I'll be busy revising my CV with a view to an early application as soon as possible after 31 January. Where did it all go wrong? - and did anyone consult us at any meaningful level?  I think not!  

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11th Jan 2016 21:00

So true! Sigh,,

ronlfoot wrote:
I've just spotted in the "Vancouver Globe and Mail" the perfect escape route and antidote to FRSSE (late, but not much lamented), IFRS, CIS, AE, RTI, AOSS, PTAs (not to mention the totally infantile absurdly-named "MOSS") and all the other ludicrous acronyms: "Wanted: A new generation of lumberjacks". I'll be busy revising my CV with a view to an early application as soon as possible after 31 January. Where did it all go wrong? - and did anyone consult us at any meaningful level?  I think not!  

Don't forget A M L regs!

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12th Jan 2016 07:26

Acronyms

steve 12321 wrote:
ronlfoot wrote:

I've just spotted in the "Vancouver Globe and Mail" the perfect escape route and antidote to FRSSE (late, but not much lamented), IFRS, CIS, AE, RTI, AOSS, PTAs (not to mention the totally infantile absurdly-named "MOSS") and all the other ludicrous acronyms: "Wanted: A new generation of lumberjacks". I'll be busy revising my CV with a view to an early application as soon as possible after 31 January. Where did it all go wrong? - and did anyone consult us at any meaningful level?  I think not!  

Don't forget A M L regs!

 

I quite like COPE but not its implication

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12th Jan 2016 09:06

Basics first

Dear HMRC

I have a very simple request, that even the smallest business understands is essential to it's survival.

Get the basics right before even considering embarking on such an ambitious dream project.

Deal with reality rather than fantasy. This may be uncomfortable but is necessary.

Answer the phone timeously and deal properly with all the issue's.

Answer letters promptly and deal properly with all the issue's. 

Actually consult with real taxpayers and agents and take proper account of their response rather than the PR exercise you do at the minute.

Stop the change of name, change things etc to look like you are actually doing something but really just moving the chairs about, at great cost.

These are basic, basic things and not rocket science but how come you still can't get them right. I understand that dealing with these is boring, tedious and incredibly hard work compared to having meeting after meeting and introducing fancy new things which is much more exciting.

Of course, you will ignore this simple request and the dedicated accounting professionals will sweat blood and tears to help their client's deal with the madness that you introduce like the pro's they are while you finish at 2.30pm on flexitime.

Deal with the basics first, please.

NEA

(Over 25 years of real experience at the coalface)

 

 

 

 

 

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12th Jan 2016 12:09

personal tax account

Dear NEA

The plural of issue is issues, not issue's.

The plural of client is clients, not client's.

The plural of pro is pros, not pro's.

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13th Jan 2016 11:35

Really??

rochgood.co.uk wrote:

Dear NEA

The plural of issue is issues, not issue's.

The plural of client is clients, not client's.

The plural of pro is pros, not pro's.

Finished your tax returns have you? Got nothing to do? The poster made a good posting yet you reply with this? Try some gardening or anything other that keeps you from such postings

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16th Jan 2016 22:38

Grammar

steve 12321 wrote:
rochgood.co.uk wrote:

Dear NEA

The plural of issue is issues, not issue's.

The plural of client is clients, not client's.

The plural of pro is pros, not pro's.

Finished your tax returns have you? Got nothing to do? The poster made a good posting yet you reply with this? Try some gardening or anything other that keeps you from such postings

 

 

Despite still having loads of tax returns to do, I'm moved to say that I'm with Rochgood here.  I mean, one expects to see BANANA'S in the greengrocer's and STEAK'S in the butcher's, but we are supposedly professionals and ought to exhibit at least a basic grasp of grammar. Suggested reading: "Eats, Shoots and Leaves", by Lynne Truss !

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17th Jan 2016 13:05

Oh dear oh dear!

Eddystone wrote:

steve 12321 wrote:
rochgood.co.uk wrote:

Dear NEA

The plural of issue is issues, not issue's.

The plural of client is clients, not client's.

The plural of pro is pros, not pro's.

Finished your tax returns have you? Got nothing to do? The poster made a good posting yet you reply with this? Try some gardening or anything other that keeps you from such postings

 

 

Despite still having loads of tax returns to do, I'm moved to say that I'm with Rochgood here.  I mean, one expects to see BANANA'S in the greengrocer's and STEAK'S in the butcher's, but we are supposedly professionals and ought to exhibit at least a basic grasp of grammar. Suggested reading: "Eats, Shoots and Leaves", by Lynne Truss !

One of the critical aspects of critique on third party's writing style and grammar, Eddystone, is to scrupulously proof one's own ripostes for little errors!

Quote:
by Lynne Truss !

The space after "Truss" is redundant.....

Unless, naturally, one is writing French or Spanish. In the second case, of course, then the punctuation marks would appear thus:

¡ by Lynne Truss ! dependant upon context.

Just saying... (Ellipsis)

Let's charitably assume most of us are writing these little bits of badinage "on the fly", whilst struggling to try and make order from disparate bits of paper from a Tesco bag, inaccurately described by some of our late-appearing clients as "My records".

 

 

 

 

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12th Jan 2016 12:10

When embarrassed… change the rules!

Its well known that most people end up paying more tax than they need to if they do it all themselves… we have also all come across stupid mistakes made by HMRC that they will refuse to acknowledge as far as possible. It should therefore come as no surprise that they are marginalising tax agents.

 

It is win win for HMRC as they get rid of the people who pick up on their incompetence and at the same time increase the tax take by pushing more work and complexity on those who do not have the knowledge to work out that they are paying too much tax.

 

The playing field is changing and HMRC are making the rules up as they go along. This means that smaller practices need to start planning for a new business model that will be adaptable to HMRC's anti agent bias. My firm has already started moving away from direct tax work and onto strategic consultancy which has the benefit of directly increasing clients bottom lines (including some accountancy firm clients) whilst reducing our interaction with the increasingly uncommunicative and unfriendly taxman… more money for our clients, less stress for us and bigger fees as well!

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12th Jan 2016 15:43

Grammar

Rochgood

 

You forgot to mention that "it's survival" does not need an apostrophe as it is (it's, if you like) a possessive pronoun, just like "my" or "your".

 

Nobody likes a smart alec!

 

 

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14th Jan 2016 12:29

I don't even know what to communicate to my clients

I have many clients from EU countries who are self-employed here. They don't have UK passport or UK driving licence. I've tested the gov.uk verify and that is the answer:

GOV.UK Verify won’t work for you

You need a valid UK passport or UK photocard driving licence to get your identity verified. If you don’t have these documents there are other ways you can submit your Self Assessment.

Other ways to submit your Self Assessment

If you can’t verify your identity using GOV.UK Verify, request Government Gateway user ID and password replacements from HMRC. This can take about 10 working days (or longer if you live abroad).

For help, contact the HMRC Online Self Assessment helpline.

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By SXGuy
14th Jan 2016 12:47

Am I missing something?
Providing they have a UTR number you can submit their SA via your own gateway using your tax software.

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14th Jan 2016 12:58

you are right but it is not clear how they would verify themself

and how they get access to their personal tax account

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14th Jan 2016 13:07

How About?

[quote=freshapple]

"I don't even know what to communicate to my clients".

How about: "We're both stuffed, Mate!" ??

Another interesting facet.....

 “the personal tax account isn’t currently designed for use by agents”.

Yet the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) in conjunction with HMRC is moving away from the historic model of accountants certifying self employment income to apparent reliance on SA 302.

Nice idea as it helps to avoid in future the balloon of "Liar Loans", which added significantly to the house price bubble of yore.

But (Big But!), if the agent cannot go online and download an official version of SA32, since agents are no longer wanted by HMRC.......

Note: This err, "Guidance" was issued as along ago as December 2015!

 

]Mortgage lenders and financial references Guidance as at ...www.tax.org.uk/system/.../151223%20Financialreferenceslenders.pdf?...

22 Dec 2015 - New HMRC agreement with the Council of Mortgage Lenders re SA302s ... A list of those lenders currently participating in this agreement is set out below; if you find ... As evidence to support mortgages, lenders will ask for both the .... HMRC paper SA302 Self Assessment Tax Calculation explained. 16.

 

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14th Jan 2016 14:12

@Michael

It's moved on from there. HMRC have said that lenders will not be given SA302'2 (too time consuming, although they charged lenders £12 + vat not so long ago). So now lenders will acept SA302's from our software backed up by the HMRC "overview" which at the mo we can print off. As if the tax bill will actually tell lenders what disposable income client has. Still once lenders don't get business watch all the rules and regs go out the window.

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15th Jan 2016 07:38

I often wonder ...

I often wonder why the massed hordes of small practitioners don't just resign from the useless monolithic bodies who awarded them their initials but who then just rake in the annual subs and do nothing very much to represent them,  Small practitioners mostly don't operate in "regulated" sectors in any case.

Ok, you'd have to register to be "supervised" by HMRC as an ASP under AML regulations but what's that going to involve since they obviously can't cope with their existing workload already and probably wouldn't know what to look for in the unlikely event that they came knocking on your door..

And what does that cost?  Is it about £115 a year compared to the thick end of £1,000 you pay to the august bodies in Moorgate Place/Wherever the ACCA is these days?

By the way, has anyone heard much from the SPA in recent times.  I haven't seen them banging the drum or manning the barricades defending agents and taxpayers from the capricious excesses of our legislators.

Ron, the unchartered (and thankfully retired!) accountant

 

 

 

 

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15th Jan 2016 14:16

The Reason Is........

ronlfoot wrote:

I often wonder why the massed hordes of small practitioners don't just resign from the useless monolithic bodies who awarded them their initials but who then just rake in the annual subs and do nothing very much to represent them,  Small practitioners mostly don't operate in "regulated" sectors in any case.

Ok, you'd have to register to be "supervised" by HMRC as an ASP under AML regulations but what's that going to involve since they obviously can't cope with their existing workload already and probably wouldn't know what to look for in the unlikely event that they came knocking on your door..

And what does that cost?  Is it about £115 a year compared to the thick end of £1,000 you pay to the august bodies in Moorgate Place/Wherever the ACCA is these days?

By the way, has anyone heard much from the SPA in recent times.  I haven't seen them banging the drum or manning the barricades defending agents and taxpayers from the capricious excesses of our legislators.

Ron, the unchartered (and thankfully retired!) accountant

Mainly since Government have been faffing about over regulating "Accountants" and who ought to be able to employ the word in the description of their business activity, that's why, Ron.

I was earlier involved with much of this, way back in the 1990s.

Therefore the non-CCAB/chartered bodies invariably sell their membership proposition from fear; the fear that the independent practitioner will be banned from practise. This is now in point of fact, a "Real and Present Threat" as HMRC may well exclude many agents from acting as such, as we all know.

Thus many non-regulated, non-qualified accountants are desperate to gain some level of credibility, despite the reality most of the independent  bodies have a rich history of taking in anyone on their own statements of knowledge and experience, simply for cash flow to feed the guy at the top who is utterly disinterested in their members.

Bit like ICAEW and ACCA, then.......

 

 

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15th Jan 2016 09:49

@ron

I went to a WT seminar last year, just to see if anything had changed (I should've known better). I asked what was being done about unregistered Accountants. Yes you know the answer. Well we don't know who is registered so we don't know who isn't. As you say another money generator for HMRC.

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By Nebs
15th Jan 2016 15:59

To be debated in Parliament

It is to be debated in Parliament

25th Jan, 4.30pm Westminster Hall debate.

E-petition 115895 relating to tax reporting for small businesses and the self-employed - Oliver Dowden.

 

 

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