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HMRC offers agents 'in-house' training to promote Carter

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19th Mar 2007
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Some 18,000 agents have so far registered for HMRC's online services, and it is estimated by software company Iris that there must be at least 25,000 firms of accountants at large in the UK.

According to a recent telephone poll of agents and advisors in her locality, Accountingweb's tax editor Nichola Ross Martin found that 10% of those who advertised with BT by having business phone lines did not use any tax preparation software or file online. Whatever the actual statistics, it seems that there is a relatively large number of agents who have not yet embraced the internet and online filing.

The CIOT says that it has received the following information via Working Together:

HMRC are trying to promote the Carter recommendations and Online Services to all agents. This means that it is possible to have direct access to Revenue websites for facilities such as:

  • Online submission of Tax Returns
  • Online submission of PAYE documents
  • Receipt of PAYE codes directly online
  • Access to client statements of account online, for ease of checking
  • Quicker repayment of tax overpaid
  • Online acknowledgement of receipt of returns

HRMC are offering presentations/courses on these facilities, either at their offices or at agents/client offices if preferred.

If anyone would like to learn more about these, please could they e-mail [email protected]

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Replies (9)

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By AnonymousUser
19th Mar 2007 20:12

retiring
Many Agents are probably near retiring age and therefor won't bother.
If most of their clints' do their own books to a reasonable standard it can be quicker to complete accounts by hand. It also has the added effect of keeping the mind that much sharper.

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By dorothysaint
21st Mar 2007 16:04

SUBSTITUTE TAX RETURNS
I attended an HMRC Carter review seminar last week,and all agents expressed concern re this point. The HMRC rep said this was currently under negotiation at a higher level,and seemed to give the impression that HMRC may bow to pressure as it did over 31/01.deadline for filing. so" watch this space".

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By dorothysaint
28th Mar 2007 10:26

PAPER RETURNS
I refuse to rise to Mr Clubb 's somewhat facetious comments,however I am pleased to note on the ICAEW website, 27th march,that there have been significant developments http://www.icaew.com/index.cfm?route=146573 which will greatly reduce the need to handwrite a tax return.

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By dorothysaint
23rd Mar 2007 12:44

computer generated returns
We,as a firm,do submit the bulk of our tax returns online,but are concerned at the withdrawl of the ability to submit a computer generated substitute if on line filing cannot be acheived. eg an MP'S SA return .,or technical problems close to31/01 deadline To expect us to transcribe computer genertated entries on to a handwritten HMRC paper return is surely a retrograde step ?

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By Robert Clubb
22nd Mar 2007 11:31

Good Luck................
I meet with accountants from around the SE of the country on a frequent basis. It never ceases to amaze me how 'low tech' some of them are.

It was not that long ago that one established practitioner announced, with pride, that they had now aqcuired a fax and were about to embark, for the first time, on having their letterheadings professionally printed. I also know of another who does not have any power to his London office and for light has an extention lead going down or up to another floor.

Whilst the above are not representative of the majority that I meet, others have refrained from FBI etc, because they do not see that there is any advantage and prefer to avoid the cost of third party software.

I have to admit that I would not want to go back to manual preparation of Returns (and might not be able to cope if I had to) but I suspect that the 'going' will get a lot tougher next year for the 'manual' agent, either due to the withdrawal of substitute Returns, or simply the shortened submission deadline for manual submissions.

Good luck to them.

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By Robert Clubb
23rd Mar 2007 16:50

Have I Missed The Point?
Not having an MP as a client places me at a disadvantage. Forgive me but if I have missed the point, but if they do not throw the orginal copy of their Return away, then you will be able to complete that and submit manually. Just a bit of 'copy writing'.

Alternatively, you will be able to file by FBI just the same as in all previous SA years, providing your 3rd party software can cope, with or without a 64-8 in force.

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By Robert Clubb
28th Mar 2007 14:14

Not On This Site
There have been many postings as to the 'proper' use of contributions on this site. It is not my wish NOW, or indeed on the two previous occasions that I have contributed on this topic, to fall foul of the protocol.

I can only suggest that Dorothy might need to develope her art for spotting a genuine posting from a facetious one, otherwise she might cause offence.

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By ayjay3
26th Mar 2007 15:06

on-line filing
Perhaps computer literate agents could become agents for computer-illiterate agents!

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By drumtech
28th Mar 2007 14:39

HMRC's intentions
"Paper returns prepared using HMRC downloaded pdfs incorporated into commercial software will be accepted for this group (those unable to file online for technical and operational reasons) up to the 31 January deadline.
Although not aimed at other SA taxpayers, this method of filing will also be available to others although the 31 October deadline for paper returns will apply."

I am not so sure that the latter paragraph from the ICAEW comment on its web site is included in the HMRC's intentions.

HMRC states:
"Wider use (of the returns in pdf format among those who can file online) would run counter to Government implementation of Lord Carter's recommendations, unnecessarily losing benefits for customer service and efficiency. If we found substantial inappropriate use, we would need to consider the withdrawal of the PDF facility."

If agents, using third-party software with pre-populated returns in pdf format, submit these returns (on paper) instead of filing online when they are perfectly able to do so, then HMRC will not accept these returns.

It does seem that, for the vast majority of returns which are currently submitted as paper substitutes, then from 2008, these returns will need to be submitted online.

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