HMRC confirm changes to agents appointment system

22nd Oct 2019
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HMRC have confirmed that the old online appointment system will not work for taxpayers who have joined MTD if the taxpayers wish to change their agent once in MTD.

"There are now 4 different routes whereby a client can appoint an agent to handle their tax affairs." said John Hemming CEO of Cirrostratus.  "The traditional form 64-8 appoints an agent to act for a client for one or more taxes on a conventional common law agency basis.  This enables the agent to phone up HMRC and talk to them about the tax affairs of their clients."

"Then there has been the online PIN system which enables authority on a common law basis to be established with a code being posted to the client to demonstrate authority."

"More recently HMRC have established a system whereby a client can use a gateway account to authorise an agent to act for them.  This is done from an invitation link which is either generated by the Agents API or via the Agents Services Account GUI (Graphical User Interface - Web Page)."

"The most recent system is the fastest as it does not rely on paper in the postal services and can be processed in minutes.  However, it has a limitation which is that the new authority only applies for ASA credentials.  What this means is that an agent can submit a VAT return or look up VAT information for their client using MTD, but is not authorised for the purposes of writing to HMRC or phoning up HMRC."

"What this means is that agents as it currently stands need also to use the form 64-8 process in order to obtain the broader authority to act.   My understanding from HMRC is that they intend to change the system so that the more generalised common law authority can be obtained from the Agents API or ASA link route.  However, I don't have a date for this as yet."

"There is, however, an important point that agents will notice as time goes by.  If a client is in MTD and the agent changes this must be done via the ASA/Agents API route.  The PIN number route won't work."

"What this also means is that the authority for the purposes of MTD credentials will change, but the more generalised common law authority will not change until such as stage as a paper 64-8 is provided."

"This is not an ideal situation and I have raised a concern with HMRC about this and am awaiting a response.  However, it is important that agents understand this."

"I also don't know for certain where letters will be sent for agents who have been changed via the ASA route.  I would guess that the letters are sent to the 64-8 Common Law agent and as such there is a risk that letters relating to the client affairs go to the original agent."

"It is inevitable as large systems get changed over that there are difficulties from time to time and this is one of those difficulties.   Cirrostratus have written a useful interface into the Agents API which also facilitates a rapid running of AML procedures.  A links to the video follows.  However, there is still temporarily an important role for the 64-8 when agents are changed."