Share this content

HMRC Agent Account - Multi Factor Authorisation

Problems can be foreseen...

Didn't find your answer?

Like most practices, we have an agent account with one log in and password that we all use.

HMRC have advised that multi factor authentication is coming/has arrived and whilst I applaud the increase in security, it comes with issues (I think).

We've now set up each staff member with their own access ahead of this going live and allocated the relevant taxes to each. However, no clients are allocated to them so it appears you need to allocate each client to those staff members that need access. Well, like most, we've got thousands on the client lists when you consider there is duplication within PAYE/CT and individuals (as in one client can be listed in more than one place). All of us need access to all clients.

Has anyone else encountered this and is there an easy fix? The same issue will arise if/when new staff members are added.

 

Replies (26)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Duggimon
22nd Jun 2021 16:21

I programmed keyboard macros to do this, it took about three hours all in to do it for our clients, of which there are several thousand. I can tell you how if you like but it's fiddly and requires Google Chrome as your browser and a computer capable of opening and using a hundred tabs - PM me your email address if you want the whole rundown on how to do it.

It is a horrendously stupid system and I dread to think how long it would take to manually click through them all. HMRC advised us there's nothing they can do at their end.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Duggimon:
avatar
By andrewjlane
22nd Jun 2021 17:01

Thanks - this is the answer I was dreading. Surely we need some form of class action from our governing bodies to resolve this - another example of HMRC not giving a hoot about agents and the impact heir actions have on our working lives.

Thanks (2)
Replying to andrewjlane:
avatar
By Leywood
22nd Jun 2021 17:06

Professional bodies don't appear to give a hoot for members, have shown complete disdain over other recent HMRC related events, so good luck with that one.

Thanks (5)
Replying to Leywood:
avatar
By andrewjlane
22nd Jun 2021 17:16

Unfortunately, I have to agree with you - I don't hold out much hope of a sensible resolution

Thanks (0)
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Jun 2021 16:59

Home working might add its own problems, too.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By SXGuy
22nd Jun 2021 17:28

Easy fix is to have 1 mobile/smartphone in the office used solely for 2fa

Thanks (1)
Replying to SXGuy:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
22nd Jun 2021 18:28

What happens if you’re WfH?

Thanks (0)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
boxfile
By spilly
22nd Jun 2021 20:21

But they won’t know which client the code refers to. There will have to be many more emails and phone calls into the office by the requesters, leading to extra time spent by all.

Thanks (0)
Replying to spilly:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
22nd Jun 2021 21:12

Have a group Team or WhatsApp and just post the code on that.

Thanks (0)
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
22nd Jun 2021 18:35

I set up each staff member a year or so ago, then realised that I would have to allocate every client/tax to everyone. I’m an attempt to sidestep this, I deleted everyone so it was just me and we went back to using my login. But I must have triggered a setting - I still have to allocate every client to myself or they’re not visible on the portal. Grrrrr. Anyone know how I get rid of having to do that?

Thanks (0)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
avatar
By SXGuy
22nd Jun 2021 20:33

Nope I did that too and had the same problem

Thanks (0)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Jun 2021 20:35

Surely one nominee can only work on one case at any one time. So if there's 30 staff and one nominee, how would that work ?

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
22nd Jun 2021 21:14

lionofludesch wrote:

Surely one nominee can only work on one case at any one time. So if there's 30 staff and one nominee, how would that work ?

Sorry, I don’t understand the question; what is this nominee of whom you speak?

Thanks (1)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Jun 2021 21:27

atleastisoundknowledgable... wrote:

lionofludesch wrote:

Surely one nominee can only work on one case at any one time. So if there's 30 staff and one nominee, how would that work ?

Sorry, I don’t understand the question; what is this nominee of whom you speak?

The fella who HMRC think has all the clients.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
22nd Jun 2021 21:47

Do you mean “surely if all 30 of you are using the same login, you can only login one at a time”?
Dunno TBH.
At my first firm we all used the same login, I seem to remember someone telling me that you couldn’t have 2 people accessing the same tax, but , say, someone in VAT & another in CT was ok. But that was over 10 yrs ago, even if it was true.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Morph
By kevinringer
24th Jun 2021 14:05

The user ID can be used on multiple devices simultaneously. We have several dozen staff all using the same ID and there's no problem different staff accessing different clients at the same time.

Thanks (1)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
Morph
By kevinringer
24th Jun 2021 13:48

I don't think this is because of what you did a year ago. I think it came about when HMRC moved from the Government Gateway because I've heard of sole practitioners who have to allocate it to the 'me' user.

Thanks (1)
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
22nd Jun 2021 21:18

Have I missed something? I skim-read the notice on the website which suggested that agent logins will not be affected.

Thanks (4)
Replying to Wilson Philips:
avatar
By andrewjlane
22nd Jun 2021 21:32

You know what, you might be right…

I might have led everyone up the garden path. Apologies if I have

Thanks (0)
Replying to Wilson Philips:
avatar
By Southwestbeancounter
24th Jun 2021 14:58

Yes I read that too so didn't read any further as us agents have enough stress to put up with, without that too!

Thanks (0)
Rebecca Benneyworth profile image
By Rebecca Benneyworth
23rd Jun 2021 11:41

As far as I know two factor authentication is still some way off for Agents. I have set up my staff with separate log ins, and did have to allocate existing clients but it wasn't too many and most were me only. I prefer the security of each member of staff having a separate log in. As new clients come in we allocate as we authorise so it is fine as it is part of the set up process.
I use the HMRC app for 2FA for my own accounts - I have several companies and a partnership, plus a couple of clients who have me on as a delegate. The 2FA takes a 6 digit code from the HMRC app which works perfectly - we don't have a mobile signal at the office.

Thanks (3)
avatar
By North East Accountant
24th Jun 2021 12:55

Yet another ill thought out shambles from HMRC.

Thanks (1)
Morph
By kevinringer
24th Jun 2021 13:44

We have dozens of staff and thousands of clients. We have just one login. We have looked at creating additional logins but it is process of allocating clients that is the problem. We've had to do that for payroll several years ago to make sure the email notification of codings went to the correct member of staff. We 'only' have several hundred payrolls and that was a big enough job. But SA, no chance. I calculated it would take one member of staff several weeks to setup. I wonder how the really big practices cope.

Thanks (0)
Replying to kevinringer:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
24th Jun 2021 15:58

Same as they coped with 99 employees in CJRS claims!

Thanks (0)
By jon_griffey
24th Jun 2021 15:43

We got a virtual SMS number that has a SMS=>email function so the code is emailed to a shared mailbox. Simples.

Thanks (2)
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
24th Jun 2021 15:57

Ok panic over we now we know it is NOT coming.

But with extended MTD apparently still coming and HMRC preventing agents from seeing detail only principals can see in their business and personal tax accounts, it could be argued this is a non-issue anyway, because more and more of practice staff's interaction with HMRC will be via commercial software, and the APIs that enable that interaction will not use MFA.

Thanks (0)
Share this content