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HMRC removes online VAT registration certificates

21st May 2019
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Agents have been able to view the VAT registration certificates of their clients listed in the old Government Gateway account for many years. Businesses have been able to view them in the BTA.

But when a business is signed up to MTD this functionality is removed from the BTA and from the agent's old GG account.

Is this a problem? Yes. Whenever I make a change to a registration using a VAT484 I'll wait 3 weeks for it to be processed then log into my old GG account to check the registration certificate has been updated. In future I'll have to phone HMRC. Anyone who has attempted to phone the VAT General Enquiries Helpline recently will know how difficult it is to get through. So this wastes my time. It also wastes HMRC's time when I get through.

HMRC say they want digital by default yet here they have removed functionality leaving us no choice but to resort to phone or even post. Why have HMRC done this? I recon HMRC will say it is for 'security' reasons because they have used that excuse for the failure to list clients in the ASA. And it is an 'excuse', not a 'reason'. This change only affects clients that are signed up for MTD. I can still view the registration certificate for non-MTD clients. This means if HMRC use the 'security' excuse, the security problem must only affect MTD. I wonder how HMRC will squirm out of this one.

Replies (8)

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By GHarr497688
21st May 2019 11:24

Well said . I’m signing no one up yet so havnt come across this . Clients have the option to sign up themselves .

Thanks (4)
By FirstTab
22nd May 2019 09:15

This is a step back by HMRC. .

Thanks (3)
By SteveHa
24th May 2019 10:57

This is typical HMRC behaviour.

1st. Introduce a new system.
2nd. Implement punitive penalties for failing to comply.
3rd. Remove access to information vital for compliance.

Result - penalty revenue increases.

It is, very much like Government itself, not fit for purpose.

Thanks (5)
By eyelid84
24th May 2019 10:57

We have also found we have been unable to deregister clients from VAT/MTD once they have been signed up. We had to use a paper form to deregister them. Again, step backward from HMRC!

Thanks (2)
Pillow May Ltd
By pillowmay
24th May 2019 11:17

This is causing a massive problem as when you try to register as a VAT agent for your client, they need to refer to their VAT registration certificate. If we're not VAT agent then when the client signs up to MTD on Xero, we can't see the current VAT return & therefore can't offer VAT support to our client. I am raising this issue with ICAEW MTD group, hoping that they will be able to resolve the matter directly with HMRC and then let us agents know how it has been resolved.

Thanks (4)
Replying to pillowmay:
By Charlie Carne
29th May 2019 10:35

Deleted earlier comment as I have just noticed that this is, indeed, true. The VAT cert is no longer available in the old government gateway portal for clients that I have registered for MTD! I agree with the comments above - why on earth would HMRC remove this unless they expect that third party software will have the capability to show the VAT cert.

Have HMRC released the appropriate API for VAT certs to be downloadable by third party software and, if so, have any software companies made this facility available in their products?

Thanks (3)
Replying to charliecarne:
By kevinringer
29th May 2019 10:58

Charlie, I have not heard whether the API has been released or not but I have been told that the API does not simply produce a list of clients. Instead, you have to query the API client-by-client: the API then retrieves the information from HMRC. Here's the crunch: when you query the API you have to input certain client-specific data, one of which is the registration date! So without the date you are snookered.

Thanks (2)
By Homeworker
29th May 2019 11:38

Thanks for the heads up! We fortunately now only have a small number of VAT registered clients and only 3 affected by MTD (but not yet registered). I have taken PDFs of all of the VAT certificates while I can.

Thanks (2)