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Authorising your Agent woes....

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I'm an accountant in practice and have been going around 2 years full time. One massive problem I'm having is getting agent authorisation completed for clients. It just feels like I'm between a rock and a hard place.

1) I can get clients to complete a 64-8 paper form and send it in, but recently absolutely none of these turn up on my portal any time soon (if at all)

2) I could use the online authorisation, but nearly all of those hinge of having a Corporation Tax UTR (even PAYE online authorisations seems to require this). So many clients don't have what they need to make it work or miss the letter code or it expires etc.

3) I could use their gateway, but then that requires a code sent to their mobile.

It's an endless frustration for something which is so simple. Are other people having this problem and do you simply go on without authorisation?

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09th May 2019 16:13

Not had any real problems, I request authorisation online the code gets sent to client who then passes to me, had the odd one which has not turned up but I suppose that does happen either due to HMRC, the post or the client

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09th May 2019 16:16

Same as doubletrouble - the code should get sent to the client in 7 working days and then client just advises me of the code - only had a couple that didn't work over the past few years.

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09th May 2019 16:28

If this is so top secret you have to be anonymous, I'm not prepared to provide an answer on a public forum.

They're everywhere, you know, watching and making notes, waiting for a slip-up and then they'll pounce. Before you know it, kidnapping, rendition, waterboarding. Is that what's bothering you?

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09th May 2019 16:29

We have clients you consistently lose the authorisation code or let the deadline slip. Eventually you get to the point when you create a Gateway account in their name but with your email & mobile number. Problem solved. (That problem solved, a new one begins...)

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By Finacta
09th May 2019 16:31

Hi, thanks for your responses. I've 2 more questions:

1) Am I correct to assume that for CT and PAYE I need the Corporation Tax UTR from the client? Atleast when I go through the authorisation process online it needs this straight up.

2) For VAT, I seem to need their VAT number, their business post code, date of registration, box 5 from their last return and the end month it was from. If even 1 digit is wrong in getting this data from the client, I can't submit for authorisation online.

I'm glad atleast you're having no trouble but just feels like an uphill battle for me with so much dependency on the client, and when they don't have something like their Corporation Tax UTR it just leaves everyone in limbo working without authorisation. Why HMRC can't provide a Corporation Tax UTR over the phone to the client with the relevant security checks is beyond me.

Here I am out in the open, doesn't bother me that much, I'm just wondering why HMRC don't operate in the same way all other completely secure operations do! Quick telephone call, security check and done.

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to Finacta
09th May 2019 16:43

Ah, Finacta, it's you !

No offence but sometimes the client just has to get his finger out of his backside and do stuff.

I've been known to criticize HMRC from time to time but it's quite proper that they should have a secure procedure for the taxpayer to authorize you to act and not have you call in and say "Hello, Finacta here; I've just signed Joe up as a client, can you put him on my list ?"

Have I had a problem ? Sure - there's a few clients who put the letter on the cornish and give it to you six months later or deny having received it at all. They need to know that you're not acting for them until they're authorized but you're still charging them for your time even if they waste it.

The paper option is slow but generally works if you're not in a rush.

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By Matrix
09th May 2019 16:50

CT number - you call up HMRC and they send it in the post to the client.

PAYE - don’t think you need the CT ref

Gateway account - if they have their own gateway account then they can authorise you through there

VAT - yes it is a pain but will only get worse now, just ask for the VAT registration date and the previous VAT return upon handover

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By Matrix
09th May 2019 17:33

deleted

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By Finacta
09th May 2019 16:59

Hey, thanks for your response !

No expectation for me to be able to add them with a quick phone call, but the following steps strikes me as a bit overkill:

1) Client doesn't have UTR
2) Phones HMRC or requests it online
3) Wait up to 15 DAYS for it to turn up
4) Now wait for client to open it and remember to give it to me (2 weeks on bear in mind)
5) Request online authorisation using UTR
6) Wait another 7-10 days for an authorisation code to turn up
7) Again, wait for client to open it and remember to give it to me
8) I get authorisation and complete the process online

A process taking nearly 1 month to get authorisation, because a client can't find or doesn't have their CT UTR!

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09th May 2019 17:03

Never had a problem myself.

Clients should have the data with newly formed company, and its done as part of our set up process.

if its an old one, it is surely part of your standard hand over questions?

This is basic day one running a practice stuff.

Generally speaking if clients CANT obtain this stuff, you should run a flipping mile.

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By Finacta
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
09th May 2019 17:19

Our pain is predominantly with the newly formed companies. I don't think running a mile is the answer unless they're being evasive, more helping them to get what we need.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear others seemingly find this part of practice life painless. I'm yet to be convinced it's not cumbersome and doesn't work as well as it could

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to Finacta
09th May 2019 17:24

Lots of clients get Government letters which they regard as too dull to read.

It's your job to point out that, if they're to lazy to read a letter, they need to delegate the job to you because someone has to read it.

A few avoidable penalties helps get the message across.

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By Matrix
to Finacta
09th May 2019 17:25

Sadly the ones who can’t give you the authentication code and CT ref straight off do tend to be the troublesome ones down the line. Try and get them to send these 2 bits of info with the signed engagement letter.

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By AW71
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
10th May 2019 07:55

I've never had a problem with a client not having their CT reference except once and it was sorted by using the HMRC link to request a copy and the client sent it on to me.
I certainly don't find it stressful and if the OP does then this might not be the best profession to be in as client authorisation is the easiest part of dealing with HMRC!!!!!

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By SXGuy
09th May 2019 17:30

64-8's do not give online authorisation

Corp Tax UTRs are issued when companies are formed.
If the client has lost it, get them to fill out a form so HMRC will send a letter confirming it.

You could use their gateway (and many agents do) but you shouldn't be.

Personally I don't see any issues getting clients authorised online, 7 to 10 days before the code arrives, chase the client during the end of that time while its fresh in their head.

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to SXGuy
09th May 2019 17:45

Quote:

64-8's do not give online authorisation

The last one I did for SA did - are they different for other taxes?

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to bettybobbymeggie
09th May 2019 21:34

Quote:

Quote:

64-8's do not give online authorisation

The last one I did for SA did - are they different for other taxes?

You can submit CT & SA without authorisation, it’s only VAT that have such different rules.

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By Matrix
to atleastisoundknowledgable...
09th May 2019 21:56

Submitting a 64-8 for SA, CT and PAYE gets them put on your agent online account. I agree that VAT is different, since you can’t get online authorisation through a 64-8 or through the client’s gateway account.

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to Matrix
10th May 2019 08:39

Quote:

Submitting a 64-8 for SA, CT and PAYE gets them put on your agent online account.

Didn’t know that. Thanks

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By wd2016
07th Jun 2019 12:46

I am so glad it's not just me! I have had so many issues with authorisation, I have lost count....
The most common is submitting the online authorisation code from the client and the site accepting it, only for it to never appear on my client list. I have also made the huge mistake of sending more than one 64-8 at a time (not stapled before you ask) and only having the top one processed!
The MOST frustrating thing is that there is no way to speak to someone to resolve it. I think it is ridiculous for there to be such a vital department with no phone number.
I have at least had a couple of successful appeals lodged due to authorisation issues but it is distressing for the client to have the penalties at all.
I have also had clients mysteriously disappear off my list for no apparent reason.
I have one client who we have applied 3 times for access to VAT and on the third try a code finally came through, I entered it and guess what....it never appeared on my list!
I despair....

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