Listed as Agent with HMRC for non-client

Has anybody else had this happen or are HMRC systems really this broken?

Didn't find your answer?

Afternoon friends, 

We have been contacted by an individual unknown to us and they seem understandably annoyed that we have appeared on their records as their agent despite never appointing us. They also volunteered some personal details so I checked our active authorities and I cannot spot them in our list at all. With the bugs and glitches we've all experienced with HMRC I believe they're telling the truth but this is ever so bizarre. Whilst we might not have access on our online services I do wonder if I rang HMRC and asked for details of the indidividual whether they might volunteer them if we are listed on their records. 

Have any of you had something similar happen or this is some random coincidence? I would be grateful for your thoughts on this and any additional criticisms of HMRC as usual. 

Replies (22)

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By Hometing
14th Feb 2024 15:37

We recently had HMRC swap our agent details with another firm within the same shared building. You can imagine the problems and concerns this caused amongst clients.

This happened due a manual issue when the other firm updated their address. Our was changed incorrectly because - in HMRC's own words - "the member of staff dealing with this did not realise two businesses could share the same postcode"

Therefore, plus 1 for HMRC error

Thanks (3)
Replying to Hometing:
stonks
By WinterDragon
14th Feb 2024 15:57

I am at a loss for words from your story. I hope it's all been resolved and this hasn't started a war within your building.

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By Tom+Cross
14th Feb 2024 16:46

I had one last year. I wrote in, explained the serious discrepancy and never received a response.

You are not serious, in your surprise, are you? Really. One wonders, with hindsight, if this is an example of Fujitsu's involvement.

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Replying to Tom+Cross:
stonks
By WinterDragon
14th Feb 2024 18:24

In your case, did the affected person show up in your online services or were you similarly contacted by someone asking how you ended up showing as their agent?

And my surprise might have been clickbait/hyperbole rather than genuine.

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By rmillaree
14th Feb 2024 17:26

i suspect the use of agent codes is most likely to be the issue here - if hmrc are processing 64-8 and they enter agent code and its only 1 typo away from another agnet code would they always notice name mimatch if they are a semi robot processing these all day. Hmrc have plenty of glitches ref generated letters nothing would surprise me. Could they have moaned to hmrc before they moaned to you - if you were added in error could that have been corrected before you looked.
I would happily cross check Ni number/utr to our databse to double check that we didnt have on our system in error - its not unknown for same household peeps to mix up their ni utr with someone else living in the house.

I would take default "we have not knowingly added your details and can confirm your details are not currently live therefore we would advise that you should contact hmrc for clarification as it looks most likely its their error.

I have certainly seen numerous wonky hmrc letters with peoples / agents / ni details clearly "wrong"

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Replying to rmillaree:
stonks
By WinterDragon
14th Feb 2024 18:21

rmillaree wrote:

i suspect the use of agent codes is most likely to be the issue here - if hmrc are processing 64-8 and they enter agent code and its only 1 typo away from another agent code

I'd thought the same but when I have sent 64-8s in the post previously then they would normally show up in our online list so I was a bit confused that I couldn't spot anything.

I did the same as you have suggested and gone back to the individual, albeit a lot more sincerely and less flippant than I am on here. I do feel sorry for the punter who is no doubt stressed thinking somebody could have 'hacked' their way into their file. Whilst we all think highly of each other and wouldn't question fellow accountants honour and professionalism [insert Lion's chuckle], the end punter might question if this was a bad actor doing this on purpose to steal information.

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Replying to rmillaree:
RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Feb 2024 07:00

rmillaree wrote:

i suspect the use of agent codes is most likely to be the issue here - if hmrc are processing 64-8 and they enter agent code and its only 1 typo away from another agnet code .....

Had to smile at the typo in the post complaining about typos.

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By fawltybasil2575
14th Feb 2024 17:42

@ WinterDragon (OP).

You say "I do wonder if I rang HMRC and asked for details of the indidividual . . . ".

Whilst I understand the rationale, most absolutely definitely you must NOT contact HMRC in that way, as this would be malpractice (especially harmful to you if you then received information from HMRC to which you were not entitled) - information which the "non-client" and/or your governing body could hold against you.

A letter to HMRC is advisable (obtain his NI Number)([quoting your Agent Code(s) and your UTR No.] along the lines of:-

A Joseph Bloggs (NI No. zz234567A) has advised us that your records show that our firm acts as his accountant. As far as we are aware, we do not act for him, hence his expressing his alarm to us. In view of Data Protection Act and other factors, please let me have your written comments by return".

You can safely advise Mr. Bloggs that you too are concerned at this matter, and that you have written urgently to HMRC to request their comments (forewarning him of course that HMRC response times are currently outrageously slow) and that you will notify him of the HMRC response when received.

Basil.

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Replying to fawltybasil2575:
stonks
By WinterDragon
14th Feb 2024 18:13

To add in a clarification, I would quite rightly not contact HMRC and ask for details for the reasons you have outlined. I was more pointing out that if this was an error on HMRC's part then there is the possibility that they could be responsible (notwithstanding the malpractice involved on the agents part) for passing confidential information onto someone who wouldn't be entitled to it.

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Replying to fawltybasil2575:
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By Rgab1947
19th Feb 2024 09:51

Or you just cancel your registration online.

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Replying to Rgab1947:
Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
20th Feb 2024 12:02

I had a person I had never heard of appear on my client list recently. I clicked on the "about" to see if there was anything that might jog my memory but their address was not local so fairly sure not someone I missed so I just clicked the remove button. Obviously a fault in HMRC system/data entry somewhere.

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boxfile
By spilly
14th Feb 2024 18:48

I wonder if he’s one of mine that hasn’t yet appeared on my agent list. I’m waiting on two that seem to have gone ‘missing’ from last month.
I had just assumed it was down to the usual snail crawl of processing by HMRC but am now wondering if I need to progress chase on this.

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Replying to spilly:
stonks
By WinterDragon
14th Feb 2024 19:01

This has sometimes been a useful resource to check if it's worth bothering to chase:

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/guidance/HMRC-service-dashboard/outcome/H...

I had sent some 64-8s in the post during the December and noticed there was a delay of about a month at the time. Looks like if they haven't processed a 64-8 in a fortnight it might be worth chasing or just sending again.

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Replying to WinterDragon:
boxfile
By spilly
14th Feb 2024 23:00

Many thanks, will give this a go as it’s just coming up to a month now.

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By WhiteRose
15th Feb 2024 09:56

I had a letter regarding an adjustment to a previous tax return for a person who was not, and had never been, a client. I wrote to HMRC about it, never had a reply but more importantly never had any more correspondence about that person. Bit of a data protection breach there.

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Replying to WhiteRose:
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By NewACA
16th Feb 2024 12:20

I once got a refund from the official reciever for a debt we were never owed. The actual accoutancy firm owed money had gone bust quite some years ago, and we had a very similar name as they did - the debt had been outstanding for over 10 years and it had taken that long for the official reciever to finalise and pay out outstanding debts of the ex-client who went bancrupt some 10+ years before. As the official reciever had a legal obligation to pay out, it seemed they didn't mind paying it out to the wrong accountancy firm, as long as they paid it out to someone! It was hundreds, unfortunately not thousands. We did protest that we were not the accountancy firm owed the money, but they weren't interested...

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Feb 2024 10:24

Almost three years on, I'm still getting emails from Nest about three former clients whenever they pay late or set on a new worker.

Maybe I should just report the data breach .....

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By legerman
15th Feb 2024 14:58

lionofludesch wrote:

Almost three years on, I'm still getting emails from Nest about three former clients whenever they pay late or set on a new worker.

Maybe I should just report the data breach .....

I wouldn't say that's a data breach, unless you (or the Companies concerned) have notified Nest that you are no longer a delegate. Did you remove them from your Nest dashboard when you stopped acting for them?

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Replying to legerman:
RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Feb 2024 15:05

legerman wrote:

lionofludesch wrote:

Almost three years on, I'm still getting emails from Nest about three former clients whenever they pay late or set on a new worker.

Maybe I should just report the data breach .....

I wouldn't say that's a data breach, unless you (or the Companies concerned) have notified Nest that you are no longer a delegate. Did you remove them from your Nest dashboard when you stopped acting for them?

Yep. Told them and they're still there. They go in my spam box these days.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
16th Feb 2024 11:47

Please report them. Nest are so arrogant and unhelpful that that they could do with a taste of their own medicine.

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By Nebs
16th Feb 2024 12:38

When you write to HMRC don't forget to tell them that you will be billing them for your time, including the X hours to date at £X/hour.

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Replying to Nebs:
stonks
By WinterDragon
16th Feb 2024 14:30

I might have a bit of a hot take on this one but I just don't understand the point of it. Having been on the other side (in prior work not as an accountant) that someones time is being wasted and their going to send me an invoice for £X amount I just thought that this person was being silly and should stop being melodramatic.

There are occasions when boots require stamping and its time to kick up a fuss about expectation of time to sort something without recompense but this shouldn't be what we jump to immediately. The additional time in generating an invoice, sending it via post then paying the VAT only to be recovered in 6months just feels like I'd be being hypocritical and not valuing my own time.

Unless I'm missing some trick and the rest of you have all been sending invoices to HMRC over bother and getting rich then I can't understand it.

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