Submission of VAT returns as an Agent

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I can not submit VAT returns as my Agent services Account is not working since 1st December 2023. I rang several times HMRC for help but still can not connect . Last week when I spoke to HMRC they tried everything but it was still not connecting. As an agent I am using Tax filer. HMRC also accepted that it is nothing to do with software provider. Iam now getting Penalty notices and really don't know where do I stand.
I wonder if you could advise me what my options are to resolve this issue.

Replies (4)

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VAT
By Jason Croke
09th Jan 2024 11:10

Are you speaking with the HMRC IT Helpdesk or are you calling the general VAT helpline. I'd recommend trying the IT Helpdesk folks as they are better at dealing with technical glitches like this.

If the issue is not software related (Taxfiler), then it suggests the issue with HMRC and so only HMRC can resolve this.

Have HMRC given any indication as to why your account has stopped working? How can HMRC confirm that the issue is not Taxfiler but cannot identify what the issue is at HMRC's end?

You obviously need to get this resolved urgently and it seems only HMRC can resolve it.

In the meantime, you need to consider your agent position with your clients. Your clients will incur a penalty point for not filing on time, these can be resolved by filing an appeal online (once you're back into your account) and blaming it on technology and so the penalty points should be removed easily enough.

But as for late payment penalties, you can advise your clients to make payment to HMRC of whatever the VAT liability is, yes, you can't file the return and surcharge liability notices will be issued to client but then once you do file the return, HMRC will see VAT due was £x and client paid £x on time and so the surcharges will be cancelled. In the alternative, can you not ask the client to file the returns this one time whilst the technology issue is resolved?

If you cannot fix this super quick then you're going to need to speak with your clients and explain the issue, I am sure they'll understand and as penalties can be cancelled then no harm comes to your clients per se.

I can't really comment on the technical point, I've never been locked out of my agent services account.

Thanks (1)
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By Leywood
09th Jan 2024 11:19

Have you been locked out of your old agent account as well. If so, that might help to explain why, because if your AML is with HMRC and is not up to date, or HMRC think you are not covered for AML then they will block access. You might need something from your Prof body to confirm that you are covered. Try the AML team.

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Replying to Leywood:
VAT
By Jason Croke
09th Jan 2024 11:37

Quote:

Have you been locked out of your old agent account as well. If so, that might help to explain why, because if your AML is with HMRC and is not up to date, or HMRC think you are not covered for AML then they will block access. You might need something from your Prof body to confirm that you are covered. Try the AML team.


Yes, I was thinking if maybe the OP has changed their address or something silly like HMRC letters to the agent has been returned by the post office and HMRC have triggered a lockdown, but as you state, could be something to do with their agent/AML status.

It's difficult to tell as OP hasn't really explained the nature of the issue other than they can't file returns, so I'm presuming they can log in but once logged in to their ASA there are no clients showing.

I'd have thought HMC would have a reason as to why HMRC has locked an agent account, but assuming the OP can log in and see their clients, then it may also be that the end client might need to re-authorise their link to the agent (ie, re-send the agent invite to client).

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By Caractacus Potts
09th Jan 2024 12:37

Are you certain this isn't a Taxfiler problem. I tried to file a VAT return yesterday and got this message

Taxfiler was unable to download VAT period data from HMRC. Your HMRC authorization may have expired. Please disable connection and re-authorise

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