Agent registering with HMRC as client

Difficulty getting access to my own personal tax account

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I've been having issues for some time with getting access to my personal tax account. My previous accountant (a family member) for the last ten+ years has always filed my tax returns for me. He is/was a chartered accountant and I had always assumed he was acting as my agent in submitting the tax returns.

After a falling out, he now refuses to talk to me in any capacity. When I went to deal with my self assessment, I was told by HMRC that it was not possible to set up a government gateway account to access my tax account as there was already one registered to my NI number and that the email/associated with that account were the only ones authorised to access it. The details were my former accountant's personal email address and personal phone number, but in my name.

I've had to jump through many hoops to prove my identity and sit on hold for long periods on multiple occasions with HMRC to finally get the details updated on the account to my email, my password and my phone number for verification codes (they insist as a matter of policy on only updating one item at a time).

All the while, communications addressed directly to me were being sent to someone who wasn't me, but had clearly signed up claiming to be me.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how inappropriate is this for an accountant to act in this fashion? 


Replies (9)

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By puzzel
24th Jan 2024 16:24

Could be 1 or 10 depending on a scale of good to bad, but I suspect 10 well bad but not as uncommon as you might think.

Thanks (1)
By FactChecker
24th Jan 2024 16:42

10 ... but you only started caring when you 'fell out' with him.
Until then you were happy to not bother knowing/understanding what was happening (so your score's not much better).

Thanks (10)
Replying to FactChecker:
By Phil8712
24th Jan 2024 17:02

Ironically enough, whilst you might imagine that this stands counter to what I might think, I agree 100%. Thanks.

Thanks (1)
Replying to FactChecker:
By Yossarian
24th Jan 2024 17:11

How would they know? If someone leaves the filing of their tax return up to an 'agent', why would they necessarily also register for a gov gateway account to access it themselves? I've known plenty of clients who didn't. Many don't understand the purpose of a 64-8 or an authorisation code so wouldn't think the absence of either to be unusual.

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By Jason Croke
24th Jan 2024 17:27

Accountant shouldn't be filing tax returns using the clients own gateway for the very reason you have experienced.

Filing any return under your gateway is akin to signing a legal document in your name.

Thanks (4)
By Mr Hankey
24th Jan 2024 17:43

It makes one wonder if he was doing that with all his other clients, or just you.

If he's doing that with all his other clients, it makes it even more naughty!

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By WinterDragon
24th Jan 2024 23:21

I'd give a score if I knew what the falling out was over...

As others have mentioned, agents shouldn't be creating nor using Government Gateway IDs setup in the name of the client. Persevere with HMRC and hope they can get you out of this bind. If you're feeling spiteful you could complain to his professional body as they may have an opinion on his ethical considerations (or lack thereof) in acting for you. Many on this forum would say we should avoid acting for friends/family at all costs due to these types of outcomes.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
25th Jan 2024 09:01

Assuming they are a member of a professional body (you say they are, or at least claim to be a CA, so they should be) then you could make a complaint

Its grossly unprofessional to file in that manner and also breach's HMRC rules.

Its also grossly unprofessional to ghost you and not handover properly.

Anyone who is a chartered accountant should know better.

I also wonder if they have a practicing certificate.

Thanks (4)
By dmmarler
29th Jan 2024 10:07

First stop would be to complain to the accountant's professional body - presumably you were told which qualifications the accountant had? If there is no professional body, I would tell HMRC as all agents should be registered with them at least for Anti Money Laundering purposes. (This will be a separate department ... ) Whether you get any joy from these sources depends on the professional body. I doubt you will hear from HMRC, but at least you will have set up an alibi for not having received notices, etc., as all large organisations take time to change records/mailing lists, etc.

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