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HMRC refusing to talk to agents re time to pay?

HMRC are refusing to deal with me, even though I'm an appointed agent. Are we are being pushed out?

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I've called HMRC's time to pay line and -after being on hold for over 20 mins- I successfully passed through security. HMRC recognises that I am the appointed agent for my client regarding her personal taxes. But  the officer has refused to even discuss a time to pay agreement with me on the basis that 'they no longer do that'.

In the past I've negotiated the arrangement and then the client has simply called HMRC to set up the mandatory direct debit. I've done this for SA, CT , VAT and disclosures. But now HMRC say that they won't even deal with the agent. Is this an experience shared by others? If so when did this change in practice come about?

It leaves me wondering if HMRC are determined to put all accountants out of business. With MTD software automating a lot of routine compliance, I wonder what services we can offer if we can't even speak to HMRC. What's the point of being an appointed agent?

I am a good accountant with a reputable little practice that has been running for about 7 years, but I'm suffering a 30% downturn in business (not clients leaving to go elsewhere, but clients shutting down or simply saying they will use software over me). Is this common place?

Thank you

Replies (7)

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By Matrix
21st Jan 2019 16:33

I don't get involved with my clients' tax payments, will the type of client who can't pay their tax pay you for the 20 mins it took?

Sorry to hear about the downturn in business. Hopefully clients will realise they can't do it themselves and will value your services.

You have posted anonymously but maybe come back in Feb with your skills and see if others can help with ideas of how to replace these clients. There is plenty of business out there. Ask clients who are happy with your services to refer you, I have a trend of young start ups at the moment who all know eachother and mostly non-dom. You need some luck but try different things when the January rush is over.

Thanks (1)
By lincolnartist
21st Jan 2019 17:05

HMRC told me a few years back they don't discuss time to pay with agents so not sure that's a new thing.

I only deal with very small businesses and some of them use software now but they still use me to prepare accounts and Returns. Despite what some on here say, software isn't replacing the accountant.

Thanks (1)
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
21st Jan 2019 17:59

I think it was about 2010-ish that they told me on 4 different occasions that they weren’t allowed to deal with agents for TTP.

Apparently we knew the right things to say to get a deal.

Thanks (0)
By exceljockey
21st Jan 2019 20:44

Just a little side question, if I may; if a client arranges a time to pay with HMRC, will this affect his credit rating? A client is not going to be able to meet his full tax obligation by 31 Jan and he asked me whether it would affect his credit rating and I had no idea.

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Replying to exceljockey:
By bettybobbymeggie
21st Jan 2019 21:09

Tax debts won't show up unless a CCJ, IVA, bankruptcy or other court order has been made.

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Lisa Thomas
By Insolvency Practitioner
22nd Jan 2019 09:33

Have your clients been advised to seek insolvency advice?

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By SteLacca
22nd Jan 2019 10:25

I've still negotiated TTP for CT and SA within the last 12 months for one or two clients, and in fact just this morning I negotiated a payment arrangement for an employer compliance settlement, so I'm not sure where other's experiences are coming from.

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