VAT registration service - excessive agent details

Does anyone else take exception to this?

Didn't find your answer?

I'm currently filling in a VAT registration application for a new client - my first using the new VRS.

In addition to requesting the name of our firm, HMRC are now asking for my personal name, national insurance number, address etc. as they claim they will attempt to 'match these details with the information we already have.'

Somebody did post about this a few days ago, but their main question was regarding authorisation, so it didn't get fully addressed.

Does anyone know of a way to register (short of getting the client to do it themselves) without forcing employees to hand over their personal information to HMRC?

Replies (18)

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By JB101
09th Aug 2022 11:04

I was also surprised by the amount of my personal information I needed to enter but as the client needed me to register them quickly I had no other options, if any actually exist.
Having spent my entire professional life keeping my personal details away from clients, I felt forced to enter my private address, phone number etc with a client across the desk from me - not happy!

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Replying to JB101:
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By User deleted
09th Aug 2022 11:14

I've just sent an email to the VRS team querying this, as it seems intrusive and is a safeguarding issue if staff are required to put their personal information on clients paperwork.

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VAT
By Jason Croke
09th Aug 2022 11:26

Agree, the information they require from the agent is nothing other than a data grab.

I'm logged in to what is clearly an agent account, you have my authorised agent reference number, you know I'm an accounting practice. You don't need the date of birth and national insurance number of some office person filing out the application. If it turns out to be fraudulent registration, then it's on our agent login, so you know who to blame.

Also, for sole traders, you need to prove details about them, such as passport or driving license numbers or when they paid their last self-assessment, the problem with that is the agent is then giving HMRC permission to access those records held by another agency, in order to prove the identity of the sole trader....some clients may be angry that their tax agent gave HMRC authority to check their passport or driving license details are correct, so we'd need to get clients permission to share their data with the DVLA or Passport office.

It is as if HMRC have not got a clue as to how agents operates and clearly another attempt by HMRC to put a nail into the agent coffin and have taxpayers fend for themselves.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By rmillaree
09th Aug 2022 12:02

". If it turns out to be fraudulent registration, then it's on our agent login, so you know who to blame."

They do if the agent is around at the time - not so much so if the agent isnt - having said that plastering private info all over ther place if info is saved for future reference aint great - they are teh ones trumping the new apporoch being more secure.

"Having had a play with this over the last week, it does seem that for the agent details, you can actually leave the NI number as blank,"

I take great pride in minimising chances my vat applciations either get rejected or need "manual intervention" we really need official comment here for agents. I dont want to be witholding useful info if that will delay vat number being issued - then again i dont want to enter unecessary info.

As ever this could all so easily have been sorted with individual name and "code" being used rather than plastering personal info - with the personal info being sorted direct with vat office so that only those 2 parties (and possibly business owners) know the extra info they deem necessary.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By Hugo Fair
09th Aug 2022 15:07

"the information they require from the agent is nothing other than a data grab"

HMRC appear to be in the process of re-inventing themselves first and foremost as 'data grabbers by appt to HM government' (with tax collection a poor 2nd priority).
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax/hmrc-policy/hmrc-wants-to-grab-more-...

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VAT
By Jason Croke
09th Aug 2022 11:24

Having had a play with this over the last week, it does seem that for the agent details, you can actually leave the NI number as blank, but you still need to add a birthdate, so I've just been using random ones and that doesn't seem to stop the process, so makes you wonder why they needed it in the first place.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
09th Aug 2022 11:30

Yuck, this also means its a lot of extra work if you can no-longer to a combined VAT/PAYE/CT application on one form.

Another raft of red-tape making life harder not easier to administer taxes.

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By Matrix
09th Aug 2022 12:40

Why do they need all this when the agent already has to enter their VAT number?

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By Luke.J.fletcher
09th Aug 2022 17:04

See this post from ICAEW today: https://www.icaew.com/insights/tax-news/2022/Aug-2022/New-VAT-services-a...

Link in Agent Account is incorrect. These links don't require your personal details.

That said, I tried to register my client using ICAEW link and it failed and told me to send VAT1 by post...interested if it works for someone else.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
09th Aug 2022 17:25

I am not a fan of new process I don't see why they need all that info when the application comes from our agent account which are already checked when setup.

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By DENISE BROWN
10th Aug 2022 09:39

part way through registering a sole trader through our agent services account, Do you want to appoint a UK tax representative for the business? 'they can be made responsible for any of the business's VAT debts???

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Replying to DENISE BROWN:
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By rmillaree
10th Aug 2022 11:14

is this client overseas ?
have you ended up in the section that deals with agents for NETP's where the agent is liable ?
Obviously ensure you never unkownigly sign as an agent for an NETP where you have full liability if you dont want to !
HMRC want their head looked at if they are making things confusing as to whether you are signing up for liability for NETP - this option should only be available really where business is located overseas one would hope ! (but not expect !!)-

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By DENISE BROWN
10th Aug 2022 12:54

no, just doing a standard vat registration application, first one on new system, perhaps i should go back & check all my answers!

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Replying to DENISE BROWN:
VAT
By Jason Croke
10th Aug 2022 16:21

Seems it asks the tax representative question every time now, I've had it for a sole trader and a limited, both UK.

This new system is utter pants. If you click save and come back later, when you come back later, not all of the answers re-appear, you have to type them in again, but some of the answered where it is a yes/no button, those are remembered.

if you login via your usual agent gateway it asks questions about the agent including having to send passport and 2x utility bills to confirm your identity, but if you log in via your ASA (MTD) agent account, there is no option to register a client for VAT, so you have to take the web address for registration https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/register-for-vat/manage-registrations and then log in using your ASA details.

Then it doesn't seem to ask about the agent's details, which is good, but not obvious. Also, I'm doing a sole trader and it has asked me to confirm the sole trader details by confirming not only what their last self assessment tax liability was, but also the date they paid it. ....luckily we do the SA returns for the client so I know the amount of tax they owed, but I don't know when they paid their tax bill, presumably by the deadline, so now I have to call client and get this information, making a simple registration now much more complicated.

I feel a new blog/article coming soon, but I need to understand all of the loops first so that I can do a proper guide for everyone.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By HollyMcDevitt-Jones
18th Aug 2022 13:04

Hi Jason,

Thank you for these details.

I am also in the process of trying to register a Sole Trader for VAT but in our case, this client has never paid SA tax as they are new to trading. I've contacted HMRC to try and find out what I am supposed to enter here as typing £0 doesn't seem to work.

I don't suppose you had any exposure to this situation and have any advice?

Thank you!

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VAT
By Jason Croke
11th Aug 2022 09:42

HMRC have sent out some interim guidance on this, but they've only sent the guidance to the ATT and ICAEW so you have to get the guidance from their websites.

https://www.att.org.uk/technical/news/vat-registration-service-agent-update

https://www.icaew.com/insights/tax-news/2022/Aug-2022/New-VAT-services-a...

Presumably it is not on the HMRC website as that would mean HMRC would have to admit they've fumbled this launch.

I'll draft a more detailed article for the AccountingWeb news/blog shortly.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By rmillaree
18th Aug 2022 14:32

Fisrt question
Will the VRS be made available directly from the ASA?
first answer
We are currently impacting when we can deliver this and hope to share more information soon
what gibberish reponse is that ?

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By Matrix
23rd Oct 2022 06:03

In the latest agent update it says you should now register clients for VAT through the ASA and you don’t need to enter your personal details.

They are then automatically registered for MTD.

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