Selling an accountancy practice

Is there an HMRC mechanism to transfer the clients of one practice to another practice?

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I have agreed to sell/merge my practice but realise that the process of the acquirer having to go through the hoops of authorisation for each and every client is extremely onerous. Also, there is often a problem with HMRC authorisation code letters never reaching the taxpayer. Is there a quick way the desired result can be achieved. Obviously I would have already obtained consent from my clients in advance. For a host of reasons the new practice should never use my agent credentials. I expect that the individual taxpayer process will prevail but this must surely be a common problem and when large firms 'merge' their client numbers must run into thousands.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
21st Jan 2020 18:16

They used to be someone called the "agent maintainer" who did this sort of stuff. I think they are long gone, but try searching on that to start with, and you may come up with the current equivalent.

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By SXGuy
21st Jan 2020 18:42

You could in theory add the new people as a team member and asign clients all over to them but I don't think it's the proper way to do things. But they would also take over your agent codes so it's probably not advised due to a whole host of reasons

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
21st Jan 2020 21:02

One if the firms I worked out had a history of buying client lists from retiring accountants. We had 4 different HMRC logins for our vat clients.

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By farrcorfe
23rd Jan 2020 13:53

An accountant friend has now told me that HMRC Agent Maintainer will accept letters from the old practice and the new practice asking for a transfer of taxpayers en masse. It will work for self-assessment and corporation tax but not for VAT so I shall give it a go. Pointless trying to telephone anyone in Agent Maintainer Team, of course. Thanks to everyone for their help

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Replying to farrcorfe:
By James Green
23rd Jan 2020 21:12

Watched this threat with interest having bought a practice last year.

AM used to be fairly easy and worked as described. Unfortunately since GDPR this is no longer available.

HMRC are insisting on new authorisations for each client.

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