Is there a new process to re-register for SA?

Refusal by HMRC ADL to re-register clients for SA. Is this common?

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Hi everyone. How are you supposed re-register a client for self-assesment these days?

I have a client who is the director of his own limited company which, because of its financial circumstances, didn't pay any dividends for a number of years. HMRC wrote (in May 2021) to say that SATR would no longer be required but, if the client's circumstances changed, he would need to re-register for SA if he met any of the criteria for registration. In March 2024 his company paid him a dividend of £12K and therefore he needs to notify HMRC that a SATR is required.

As I am registered as his tax agent for SA, I thought it would be easy (notwithstanding the fact that I waited in the ADL queue for 75 minutes yesterday afternoon only for the answer message to then change to "we are too busy to take your call, you may want to call again at another time, goodbye!", then had a further wait of 50 minutes to speak with someone this morning, I called the unfortunately named "Agent's Dedicated Helpline" to ask for a self-assessment record to be re-opened for the 2023/24 tax year.

Apparently (according to ADL staff this morning) HMRC will no longer take these instructions over the phone. This should be done via form SA1. Given the problems HMRC have responding to mail I wasn't happy with this answer. Surely it would be easier to just re-open the record on the back of a phone call to the ADL.

My question is has anyone else been given similar advice by HMRC? If yes, what is the best (most efficient) way to get someone back into self-assessment in circumstances similar to the above?

This is yet another case of either:

A. HMRC making it ridiculously and un-necessarily difficult for tax payers to do the right thing and re-register or

B. Poor advise from an agent on the ADL

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has experienced similar difficulties with this issue and how you resolved it.

Needless to say, this has been a less than ideal start to the morning. Why do HMRC make even the most fundamental things difficult by their absolute refusal to communicate with tax payers and agents alike on a reasonable basis?

Replies (42)

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By Matrix
12th Apr 2024 10:02

Just submit the return. Use Webchat in the future.

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By Yossarian
12th Apr 2024 10:09

As above, just submit the return. They'll put him back into SA when they receive it.

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By Paul Crowley
12th Apr 2024 10:09

Agree Matrix
Just submit the return.

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By rmillaree
12th Apr 2024 10:11

Apparently (according to ADL staff this morning) HMRC will no longer take these instructions over the phone. This should be done via form SA1. Given the problems HMRC have responding to mail I wasn't happy with this answer. Surely it would be easier to just re-open the record on the back of a phone call to the ADL.

You might not like this fact but i am pretty pretty sure its been like this for many years - i know hmrc have in then past flipped the on switch for sa "sometimes" at their discretion but thats nor for yonks been the correct way to do thinks.

not sure what you beef is here its not exact hard to submit the form - certainly easier than doing it over the phone - imho your bit ching here doesnt make much sense and is pointless - it makes perfect sense for notifications to be done via web form.

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/shortforms/form/SA1

Note if you have utr you can go straight to filing return if you really want to - albeit hmrc dont do that and thats for good reason as it may result in p800/simple assessment being genrated that should not be generated and would noty be had correct notifciations been done.

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Replying to rmillaree:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
12th Apr 2024 10:39

"imho your bit ching here doesnt make much sense and is pointless - it makes perfect sense for notifications to be done via web form."

Wow, my bad obviously. I'm not sure that tone was called for.

My bit ching is that HMRC take an age to respond to mail. I was trying to be efficient but, as Jim Harra keeps knows only too well, expecting HMRC to talk to tax payers and agents is way to much to ask for.

Have we reached such a low level of expectation that I'm regarding as some kind of nutter for wanting to talk with people to progress things more effectively?

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By rmillaree
12th Apr 2024 11:11

dont worry about me - thats just my opinion here - thats what happens on bulletin boards unfortuantely you will get robust self opiniated posts - i meant no offence. If you dont like it feel free to ignore my comments - its certainly nowt personal i am normally blunt ref my posts. In this regard the sa1 has ben the formal mechanism here for 10 years plus probably closer to 20 years - so your verion of how you think hmrc should act is out of synch with the rea\lity that the sa1 has been around for yonks.

the whole thing is there are rules - you can moan that the rules should be changed if you want - i would agree thats its not great if youj submit tehn form and have to wait 6 weeks , but that is the reality of how its been for years now - you may want different but thats not how it works in the real world - unless hmrc change their tune.

"Have we reached such a low level of expectation that I'm regarding as some kind of nutter for wanting to talk with people to progress things more effectively?2
You have to face the reality that hmrc dont want to speak to you - they want you to submit the form and wait 6 weeks - you ainta nutter for wanting to do it differently but you have almost zero chances of getting your wishes here unfortunately.

My bit ching is that HMRC take an age to respond to mail.
its an online form and as such hmrc will normally deal with within 6 weeks - surely you as an agent know you cant just ring up and demand stuff be doen there and then ?

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Replying to rmillaree:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
12th Apr 2024 11:22

Hi rmillaree.

Good to know it's not personal!

TBH I have just rung up HMRC and requested similar in the past and it was sorted out. Instantly. Admittedly this last happened a few years ago. Due to the fact that my practice is small, I am often out of touch with changes in procedure.

I am facing the reality that HMRC don't want to speak with me or anyone else. Doesn't mean I have to like it or suffer in silence!

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By rmillaree
12th Apr 2024 12:10

am facing the reality that HMRC don't want to speak with me or anyone else.

That is so true now its beyond a joke

Doesn't mean I have to like it or suffer in silence!

Its good to have a rant once in a while - especially if its about hmrc - certain rants though will not acheive owt and thats likely to be the case here !!

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By gillybean04
12th Apr 2024 16:54

Did someone say HMRC? Now where did I leave those pitchforks.

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DougScott
By Dougscott
12th Apr 2024 11:08

As others have said just submit the Tax Return for 2023-24 through your normal software.

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Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
12th Apr 2024 11:10

Thanks all. Seems I was over thinking things here!

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By Geoff56
12th Apr 2024 11:26

I'm not so sure you were overthinking. In the past, I have been advised by HMRC (and I have seen this advice in writing) that if you submit an SA return without first arranging for the SA account to be re-opened, there is a danger that the return will not be captured.

I've never had a telephone request for an SA account to be re-opened turned down, although I haven't asked in the current year so far.

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Replying to Geoff56:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
12th Apr 2024 11:37

Thanks Geoff. I agree.

I was of the opinion that "unsolicited" could lead to problems if a tax refund was due (i.e. HMRC wouldn't be highly suspicious of this). It isn't the case with my client though. He'll have tax to pay to HMRC so it wouldn't have been an issue.

I could have saved myself and HMRC time here so I'll take the advice and try to move with the times! It is helpful to hear how others would have dealt with this in a more practical way.

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Replying to Geoff56:
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By SXGuy
12th Apr 2024 13:07

Who's problem would it be if it didn't get captured? You'll have the submission ref ir mark as proof of delivery, client pays tax due. Sounds like an HMRC problem.

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Replying to Geoff56:
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By SimonP
16th Apr 2024 18:19

Speaking of returns not being captured. On a whim, I just looked at a client's page on the HMRC website. The 2022-23 return was filed in January 2024 and HMRC confirm its receipt on the page. However, absolutely no figures are shown and the client's payment of SA liability in January is showing up as unallocated and thus overpaid. Do I have to now look at every single client's Current Position to see whether HMRC has captured the filed data? How the [expletive] are they going to cope when MTD starts? This is worse than ridiculous and completely unacceptable.

I had a an exact similar situation a year or so ago and in that particular case, HMRC arbitrarily returned the client's payment in full. They then, belatedly, processed the tax return, which had been correctly filed on time and confirmed as such, and then had the cheek to penalise him for a Late Payment.

To stop the process, the client then paid all the penalties and interest. I eventually had the penalties overturned and repaid but am still waiting for HMRC to refund all the interest the client paid over. HMRC will not respond to correspondence and it has been almost a year now. Abolutely disgusting. NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

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Replying to SimonP:
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By rmillaree
16th Apr 2024 18:41

it so often is the case that stuck returns stay stuck till your slkap em with a wet fish a wet shark and sprap em with an entire tanker full of farm waste (anyone remeber the farmer that did that to natwest back in the day - living legend)

all we can really do is encourage clients to be be digitally active and hope they will spot iof stuff doesnt work . To be semi fair to hmrc - i would say less than 1% of returns get semi stuck - even 0.5% stil probably adds up though.

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Replying to SimonP:
Morph
By kevinringer
16th Apr 2024 18:50

Simon, does your uncaptured Tax Return involve Marriage Allowance?

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Replying to kevinringer:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
16th Apr 2024 19:14

+1 to Kevin's comment. The only SATR I have processed that didn't get captured involved a client who received a marriage allowance transferred from his wife + the wife's SATR hadn't been submitted.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By SimonP
16th Apr 2024 22:42

Yes. In both cases Marriage Allowance was claimed. Coincidence?

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Replying to SimonP:
Morph
By kevinringer
17th Apr 2024 08:49

No coincidence. I've got a Return filed in November still uncaptured, and several from January. Many MA Returns aren't captured. The problem is when the MA recipient's Return is filed before HMRC have processed the donor's MA claim. HMRC say the solution is to file the donor's Return first, then wait 24-48 hours before filing the recipient's Return. This HMRC IT problem has been ongoing ever since MA started. HMRC are well aware of it and now have manual worklists that should eventually lead to the capture of these Returns, but given my November Return is still uncaptured, HMRC must be at least 5 months behind with their worklist.

Simon, you can either wait for HMRC to eventually capture the Return, but that could be some months yet, or you contact HMRC (either ADL or webchat) who will raise a referral. About half these referrals result in capturing. For the other half I report to the AAM, which always results in capturing. The AAM will not take the matter up if you've not first tried the ADL or webchat.

Before I was banished from HMRC's Agent Forum, I proposed an IT solution to HMRC; that when HMRC captures a donor's Return, HMRC then immediately re-process the recipient's Return. That would eliminate the uncaptured problem and we would be free to file donor and recipient's Returns at the same time. But HMRC haven't got any resources to put this in place because HMRC have put all their IT resources in the MTD basket.

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By kaff
12th Apr 2024 18:24

Surely the point at which the client is required to sign up for anything, is only after HMRC have issued a notice to file under s8TMA?

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By More unearned luck
12th Apr 2024 18:58

Agent Update 112 says
"[Taxpayers] and agents should observe the following advice to reduce repayment delays

"do not send in voluntary returns — register your client for Self Assessment, await* the notice to file a return before submitting the return."

From this it can be inferred that it's fine to submit a voluntary return if you don't mind waiting for the refund or if there is a liability.

*1) At which point it ceases to be a voluntary return, of course!
2) NTFs are sent to the taxpayer with no copy sent to agents, so you need a well trained client or you need to check online on a regular basis if you want to comply with this procedure which seems to be designed solely for the convenience of HMRC.

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By Mitch
15th Apr 2024 12:34

Use the SA1 but don't enter the client's UTR on the form as this will cause it to be rejected.

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Morph
By kevinringer
16th Apr 2024 11:08

This was raised on HMRC's Agent Forum before HMRC expelled me from the Forum. HMRC's response was to submit a SA1 but don't input the existing UTR because if you kindly help HMRC by inputting the UTR, HMRC will reject the SA1 because a UTR already exists (albeit dormant). I pointed out to HMRC (before I was expelled) they should remove the UTR box because they will reject the SA1 in 100% of cases where the UTR box is completed.

HMRC want a SA1 because HMRC struggle to cope with unsolicited Returns. But that's HMRC's problem. They've being doing this job for long enough to have got a grip of this. It was pointed out to HMRC that the combination of freezing of allowances, increase in savings interest rates and reduction in dividend allowance means that loads of people are going to have to pay tax 2023-24 and many will need to file a Tax Return, and we don't have the time to waste hours working around HMRC's IT deficiencies and that HMRC should scrap MTD ITSA and use some of the £1.3 billion saved on fixing HMRC's existing IT. Oh, maybe that is why I they expelled me.

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Replying to kevinringer:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
16th Apr 2024 15:21

"and we don't have the time to waste hours working around HMRC's IT deficiencies and that HMRC should scrap MTD ITSA and use some of the £1.3 billion saved on fixing HMRC's existing IT. Oh, maybe that is why I they expelled me."

By the way, Kevinringer, you are my hero. I bet being on HMRC's Agent Forum was a right laugh! Why am I not surprised that they don't like people pointing out their fallibilities.

I suppose we just need to wait on for the great JH to get his CBE. I notice he's already been given the CB (Companion of the Bath) which is apt because I often refer to him as a useless Rubber Ducker

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Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
16th Apr 2024 15:05

So, to get this right, HMRC want an SA1 form to be posted to them (although they aren't too great at dealing with post) but it mustn't have a UTR number on it (because putting this on will mean that the form is rejected - assuming they finally manage to open some post).

My initial worry is that doing this will mean there is a possibility (knowing that HMRC sometimes throw the odd bit of "human error" into the mix) that a second UTR could be issued (for which I obviously wouldn't be authorised to act before sending in ANOTHER 64-8).

Oh well, best to just get on with it and download the SA1 form from their website. Oh. Guess what. You can't complete this to print off because, on answering that client has already previously been registered for self-assessment, it INSISTS upon the UTR number being filled in before you can progress to the next page.

Of course, none of this is a surprise to anyone on this forum. We all know that, although HMRC are pretty reluctant to speak with anyone, one of the things they are still good at is setting up impossible systems with which to catch us all out, send us running around in circles and wasting everybody's (including their own) time in the process.

Just to let everyone know, I actually called the ADL again and spoke with another member of staff who seemed to have a different HMRC rule book and put my client back into SA on the phone. Took about a minute (once the call had been answered obviously).

I think the above though describes brilliantly where HMRC are currently at. The management set up systems which don't work. They then force their staff to implement those un-workable systems by refusing to allow them to deal with things in a sensible way. All this, to do a job that a tick box in some part of the Government Gateway could resolve in a few seconds. This is what irritates me the most. In this instant, they don't NEED to speak with anyone, just set up a system that actually works.

AAAAAHHHHHHHH! Rant over

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By rmillaree
16th Apr 2024 15:15

"So, to get this right, HMRC want an SA1 form to be posted to them"

No as per my initial post its online form you can complete here

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/shortforms/form/SA1

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Replying to rmillaree:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
16th Apr 2024 15:42

Thanks RMillaree. And what does the form say, just after date of birth?

"If you have previously registered for Self Assessment, please enter your Unique Taxpayer Reference below."

If entering the UTR caused the form to be rejected, I may be on the cusp of seeing a flaw in this system here??

Thankfully, my client is now back in SA and, due to the size of my practice this won't be my problem for another several years. As you have already pointed out, I am just bit ching HMRC. I think you'll agree though, this isn't the hardest thing for HMRC to get right.

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By rmillaree
16th Apr 2024 16:26

presumably the IF means that the UTR is not required - so the advise of others presumably works exactly as they said its not an issue ? ie if they say dont enter UTR and that advise is correct its job done.

i can say with reasonable certainty that hmrc dont normally go round issuing new UTR's in error too often - so i would say whatever you do its very highly unlikely hmrc would create a new UTR in error (never say never with hmrc)

"I think you'll agree though, this isn't the hardest thing for HMRC to get right."

Agreed - but hmrc has some really old sytems that may be very inflexible nigh on impossible to make easy changes to - i dont really want to defend them on basic crapola like this - as you say they should be able to get it right it is a basic form!!

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Replying to rmillaree:
Morph
By kevinringer
16th Apr 2024 16:48

Agreed HMRC have some really old systems, which means they need to fix them and not waste money on MTD etc. Because HMRC will always reject the online SA1 if the UTR is filled in, all HMRC need do is remove the UTR box from the online form. If HMRC can't scrape together the resources to remove the UTR box from the form, HMRC need to ask itself if it has the vastly more resources that will be required to see MTD through and supply all the support and the years of system fixes that will be needed.

Question to fellow AWebbers; can anyone remember whether the online SA1 has always generated a rejection if a UTR is input?

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By rmillaree
16th Apr 2024 17:10

whether the online SA1 has always generated a rejection if a UTR is input?

I am pretty sure it has not - it wouldnt surprise me if its only a subset of the people with utr not in sa too - i dont know that for a fact though.

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
Morph
By kevinringer
16th Apr 2024 15:26

Sorry, I should have been clear. By 'submit' I mean it is submitted online. If you post an SA1 to HMRC then I assume including the UTR won't result in a rejection. But who knows.

You're spot on with different rulebooks used by different HMRC staff. I find the experienced HMRC staff are generally quite pragmatic and will switch SA back on, whereas inexperienced staff stick to the SA1 script, but I avoid phoning the ADL because it's currently taking an hour+ to get through to them.

The solution to this is to give agents the functionality to load the client the agent's GOV.UK SA account and switch the record on and off as necessary. That would save HMRC loads of resources, and save time for us. But HMRC abhor sensible suggestions, so this will go nowhere.

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By Kathryn15
17th Apr 2024 10:38

I have had to ask HMRC to reactivate SA for a client too recently. I initially tried submitting the completed SA1 form online but it was rejected. I now know that it is because they already have a UTR, which the online prompts ask for! I therefore phoned the ADL and finally got through to a helpful person after an hour. She assured me that she had reactivated SA for the client and they would receive a letter asking for a 23/24 tax return. She also said that the online record for the client would be updated to show tax return required within 72 hours. That was a week a go and guess what? Not updated yet!
I think this is yet another HMRC process that is so badly designed and could be so much clearer and easier. There is nothing to stop the submission of tax returns by taxpayers or agents, even when they have not been requested by HMRC, but in my experience this causes all sorts of problems because neither the PAYE record reconciliation or the SA tax return processing can be carried out properly.
HMRC is not fit for purpose.

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Replying to Kathryn15:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
17th Apr 2024 14:39

Thanks Kathryn. Yes, this post has shown AccountingWeb at its best in my opinion. To know that you (a) can do this online but (b) to do so successfully you have to not fill out the UTR section (when second nature would have led me to do this) has been really helpful.

Like you, the client who was put back into SA by the ADL team still shows as "HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has not sent you a notice to complete a tax return. If you wish to file a tax return please follow Tax return options."

I think this is just because the HMRC cogs turn VERY slowly these days but, if it still shows that way by the end of next week, I'll complete the online SA1 form as other posters have suggested.

Thanks everyone for your contributions to this post. It has been really helpful.

JFP

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Morph
By kevinringer
18th Apr 2024 13:21

This is the sort of matter that requires reporting in the annual ARAB survey https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agent-update-issue-119/issue-.... I've filled in the survey.

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By Software Seeker
18th Apr 2024 13:55

To the peeps who have said to just submit the Return under the dormant UTR then I recently tried this for a returning client. Said Return was rejected. HMRC then contacted the client to say that it had been rejected because the UTR was now defunct and couldn't be resurrected. She needed to re-register for SA, which she has now done. She's now looking at a late-notification position.

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Replying to Software Seeker:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
18th Apr 2024 14:06

Hi Software Seeker.

"HMRC then contacted the client to say that it had been rejected because the UTR was now defunct and couldn't be resurrected."

Well, isn't that strange. My client's old UTR has been resurrected. I received the letter from HMRC confirming this (it arrived in this morning's post). The UTR number remains the same as I had been expecting.

I'm not sure if this is due to the length of time your client has been out of SA or if HMRC have messed up again. It seems strange that HMRC won't re-instate the old UTR although I have come across this trying to re-instate a CIS scheme which had been closed for 7 years.

Your experience raises inconsistencies again which are hard to understand if they are not mistakes.

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By rmillaree
18th Apr 2024 14:42

I'm not sure if this is due to the length of time your client has been out of SA or if HMRC have messed up again. It seems strange that HMRC won't re-instate the old UTR although I have come across this trying to re-instate a CIS scheme which had been closed for 7 years.

its normal that UTR's are not discarded to the best of my knowledge - although we never know if hmrc may change tack at some stage.

however there are 2 comomn reasons for utr's being binned - so its always a possibility that there could be good reason for binnig utr's

bankruptcy (or formal iva) - its norm that new utr is issued.

security issues - if hmrc think utr may have been compromised

so the obvious thing to do is if utr has been made defunct to ask why and hmrc might explain .

I cant ever remember having had UTR made defunct solely due to time reasons before ever.

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Replying to rmillaree:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
18th Apr 2024 14:50

No, I've not come across a new UTR being issued outside of the circumstances you have described either. Sounds like Software Seeker has just experienced this though unless their client has experienced either of the above?

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
18th Apr 2024 14:52

What I had meant by my earlier post was that an old PAYE scheme for CIS only couldn't be resurrected (not the client's UTR number)

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By naturalworld
14th May 2024 15:51

You can use your agent portal to re-active it (of course you need to request to be their agent before doing this). Talking about HMRC I can see if you are not happy with something you can suggest and they listen to improve it. I like to do all on online less paper, quick and all have evidence.

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Replying to naturalworld:
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
14th May 2024 16:30

naturalworld wrote:

You can use your agent portal to re-active it (of course you need to request to be their agent before doing this). Talking about HMRC I can see if you are not happy with something you can suggest and they listen to improve it. I like to do all on online less paper, quick and all have evidence.

Great. I am registered for this client and naturally I would love to do this via my online portal. I couldn't see how. Can you explain what the process is to save me, HMRC and many other users on this forum having to jump though hoops please?

"you can suggest and they listen to improve it". You are funny!

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