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Sign up clients for MTD for VAT as agent or direct

Should I sign up clients for MTD for VAT as agent or direct?

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Within one particular software package I was told that you can only set the package so that MTD Vat returns can be filed EITHER by client, OR by Agent, not by both.  I am not certain whether this is peculiar to that package, or a constraint imposed by the MTD system.   Elsewhere I'm getting conflicting results, so my question is:

If I sign up a client as agent, does that mean I always have to file his MTD vat returns.  

If I arrange for clients to sign up directly, and then request agent authorisation through the (new) agent services account, does that cancel the client's ability to file his MTD Vat returns?  Because if it does, then it means that I cannot be recognised as agent for anyone who files their own vat returns.  That does not seem very viable.

Any help greatly appreciated.

N

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24th May 2019 15:11

good question.
We have one for whom we currently submit as agent but who could (should) submit as principle - as their software is MTD enabled.
I favour the latter approach but am interested to see what the answer to your question is

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24th May 2019 18:53

The issue here is about which credentials are used. If you have an account on your ASA your ASA credentials can be used. Alternatively the gateway for the client can be used. Don't hold me to it, but I believe that it should remain possible for a client to submit an MTD return even if they have an agent (I have, however, seen error messages that indicate that this is not true, but I understand that it sohuld be true).

This, then, depends upon how the MTD software you have works. Those which use the ASA credentials may not allow client credentials to be used.

Note that you are not limited to having only one set of MTD software. I decided to approach this in a different way and to specify against a legal entity which credentials to use so you can run a mixture of accounts working in different ways or even more than one ASA.

I have not studied how other people have written their software, but I would not be surprised if they often only allowed one option of credentials per legal entity (business) or overall agent credentials.

All of this affects how you use Open Authorization to authorise scopes.

With more scopes this potentially gets more complex to handle. For now you have read:vat and write:vat as scopes.

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By AJ1
26th May 2019 18:37

If the client's vat account is attached to your agent services account then only the agent can submit.

If the client wants to submit themselves they need to setup their own tax account.

In other words only one party can submit.

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to AJ1
26th May 2019 21:13

I am not sure you are right about this. It is entirely possible for a client to have their own gateway. My understanding is that it will soon be possible for more than one agent to be authorised to deal with HMRC (ie use APIs) for any one tax.

I don't think it is supposed to be that when an agent is appointed a client loses all access to the APIs. I am also not certain as to what the truth of this is at the moment.

Obviously you are right in the situations where a client does not have their own gateway/tax account, however.

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By AJ1
to johnhemming
27th May 2019 11:18

I am right having seen this for myself on our government gateway.

I'm not taking about clients who can have their own HMRC online tax account where they can view their filed & active returns.

I am talking about when an agent is submitting on behalf of clients, if an agent has signed them up they can see on their old government gateway if authorised previously here in the submitted returns screen if signed up or not.

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to AJ1
27th May 2019 14:48

I am confused as to exactly what you are saying.

Obviously if a client does not have their own gateway at all. Then only the agent can submit.

If the agent sets a client to MTD (or the client joins MTD) then the old portal won't work.

If an agent authorises their ASA for MTD software I would not expect this to block all the clients account.

What I would expect is that if a client has a gateway account that this can be used to look up MTD information such as obligations etc.

Obviously a VAT return can only be submitted once. Hence if you submit a vat return via the ASA and look up the obligations on the client then the obligation sumitted will not appear as outstanding because it isn't. That, however, would be the same vice versa.

Similarly you can only submit a vat return once. I have had a couple of my clients being a bit impatient about clicking the button to submit a return and then clicking it a second time and getting a rejection and then worrying about the rejection.

I know that HMRC intend to give more than one agent (with client authority) access to a particular scope. I cannot see that a client would be blocked from looking up VAT information or even submitting it merely because they have appointed an agent.

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By nkwayne
to johnhemming
28th May 2019 09:04

Thanks John. Interesting & useful perspectives. Looks (cautiously) to me like the problem I encountered was a software specific one, rather than an MTD specific one.

So now I am off to find a willing guinea pig with different software. :)

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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By AJ1
to johnhemming
28th May 2019 23:37

I actually have not the foggiest idea what you're talking about so carry on as you are.

I know the mtd process from an agent & client's perspective as I am actively doing so know what I'm talking about.

Best of luck in whatever it is you're doing.

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to AJ1
30th May 2019 12:10

HMRC have said the following:
"The user should still be able to use their own credentials regardless of an Agent being linked. Is there a specific example you have where this is not the case?"

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