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BTA - AGENTS - CLIENTS

How can my clients set up a new direct debit without setting up a business tax account

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I have ten clients who are exempt from MTD for VAT. These clients are exempt as they have minimal  digital skills and find computers difficult for day to day needs. All the exempt client can use email. HMRC have written and said that at some point before November 2021 the VAT direct debit will be cancelled as the new IT system is introduced. The letter says that they should use the BTA to set up a new direct debit. As mentioned above none of these clients are able to set up a BTA. My question is that if the old direct debit is cancelled and the client does not have a BTA how and when could a manual direct debit be set-up. At the moment I have sent fresh manual direct debit for all clients to sign containing the email address to HMRC direct debits team. Another relevant point is that as an Agent I file the returns through my Agents portal so how would the client be aware that a direct debit is cacelled as they don't use the BTA or Agents Portal. I can't think of any other direct debits with other businesses where this problem would arise as usually either a dircet debit is set up via a digital account or a paper direct debit is submitted. 

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All Paul Accountants in Leeds
By paulinleeds
04th Jul 2021 00:34

I fully understand your issue.

The agent ASA/portal does not give you the facility to set up a DD.

Client could make an online bank payment, if they can manage this. I have clients, not good on computers, who go into their bank with sort code/account number/payment ref and they arrange the payment for them over the counter.

Why don't you just set up a BTA for the client and keep the username/password details.

I know some professional bodies get 'excited' about an accountant accessing the BTA, rather than their ASA/agent portal.

To me, so long as the client is happy for you to do this, I really do not see the problem.

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Replying to paulinleeds:
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By Winnie Wiggleroom
04th Jul 2021 06:50

paulinleeds wrote:

Why don't you just set up a BTA for the client and keep the username/password details.

I know some professional bodies get 'excited' about an accountant accessing the BTA, rather than their ASA/agent portal.

To me, so long as the client is happy for you to do this, I really do not see the problem.

I admit it is a pragmatic approach, but extreme care needs to be taken - what happens when the client falls out with the agent and turns around and says "I never set that DD up, I dont even know how to"

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Replying to Winnie Wiggleroom:
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By Hugo Fair
04th Jul 2021 10:18

And HMRC (claim to) take an even more stringent approach.
They say that they can now determine the PC/device (or I think to be more precise the IP address) from which a submission is made - and have software in the background constantly checking for instances of the same IP address used to submit for more than one BTA or PTA.
And the penalty if they discover an Agent doing this? Termination of the Agent a/c!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By sarahg
05th Jul 2021 07:08

What about if OP set up a BTA account and then added themselves as a user on that account - this is what lots of agents are doing as on our own portal we can't see everything

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By Hugo Fair
05th Jul 2021 09:36

Honest answer ... not sure (and depends on whether you believe HMRC are telling the whole truth rather than exaggerating when it suits them).
You can of course use client's device to login to their account (if you're prepared to visit them or vice-versa) - in terms of feasibility, although still breaking HMRC's 'rules'. Your suggestion would *probably* work ... but I'm not advising it!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
07th Jul 2021 20:04

With my (limited) IT skills, I don't think this is true. Dynamic IP addresses (which are the majority) are negotiated by the router, and if the router is switched off and on again a new IP address is used. Very few accountants will have static IP addresses (which never change) as they are expensive.

However if HMRC are referring to the MAC address of the router then this might be the case.

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Replying to Beach Accountancy:
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By Hugo Fair
07th Jul 2021 20:30

Well I don't claim any more knowledge than you of the inner workings of networks - but although what you say is what is described in the textbooks, it's not always what's happens in the real world.
For instance, my Virgin router claimed to use Dynamic IP ... but when it was investigated (by their engineers during a pandemic cut-off) it turned out to be simply rotating through a very small number of addresses (basically houses in my block) as a subset of a fixed IP used by our local Virgin 'box' in the street.
If true, then HMRC might not be able to detect exactly which device made the submission (but merely from which small group of locations it emanated).

Of course, they could just be lying (HMRC or Virgin or both ... take your pick)!

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By Homeworker
05th Jul 2021 10:06

Congratulations on getting 10 MTD exemptions! I had enough trouble getting one and that only succeeded when the client himself wrote to HMRC.
He also has the same problem with his DD - I have asked him to call HMRC, as there is a phone number on the letter they sent him about it. He needs a DD as he is often out of the country when the VAT is due and would find it difficult to make a manual payment every time.

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By Cathy Milligan
07th Jul 2021 16:33

Does anyone else see this as HMRC "forcing" everyone to have a BTA or a PTA?

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Replying to Cathy Milligan:
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By Hugo Fair
07th Jul 2021 19:05

Well, yeah!
Just one of the many (and increasing) ways in which they are 'encouraging' you to do so ... now quite openly with more stick than carrot.

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