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Self Assessment Centre - what are your questions for HMRC?

14th Nov 2005
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TaxZone's Self Assessment Centre is designed to provide a resource to members who will be tackling their annual tax return workloads in the coming months.

As part of this ongoing engagement with HRMC, Revenue officials have agreed to come to an online workshop with AccountingWEB members at the end of November.

To set the scene for this event, we are asking you to put forward questions and suggestions for the kinds of information you would like to see from HMRC.

To get the ball rolling, here are a few starter questions from AccountingWEB editors and contributors:

  • Can HMRC tell us about the findings of its internal review of the SA Online gateway's performance last January?
  • What measures have been taken to ensure users don't experience similar bottlenecks this year?
  • What online services does the SA Online portal currently provide for agents and will there be any new additions to this before January?
  • HMRC constantly encourages agents to file returns early to avoid getting caught up in the last minute crush. Can the agency provide assurances that doing so will not expose clients to a higher risk of enquiry?
  • What is the department's response to the thousands of agents who still use the Electronic Lodgement System (ELS) who are not yet confident that Filing by Internet is dependable or robust enough for them to trust?
  • What are the chances of another year's reprieve for ELS?
  • What is the current status at the Central Agent Authorisation Team (CAAT)? Has it caught up with the backlog of 64-8 forms? And if not, how long can agents expect to wait before they are able to file new clients' returns online?
  • Is there any way HMRC can resolve the frustrating situation where agents need to obtain authority to act before the taxpayer has been issued with a UTR - so no 64-8 can be issued without a UTR, but there can be no UTR assigned without a 64-8?
  • Is there any chance that HMRC will consider a simpler, alternative method of agent authorisation than the existing, inefficient 64-8 system? Has the department made a study of potential alternatives, and what are it's conclusions so far?
  • A lack of consistency from local tax offices, officers and helpline operatives has been a traditional source of frustration for tax agents. Has HMRC done anything to address this issue over the past year?

    TaxZone's Self Assessment Centre is designed to provide a fast and efficient route to key information and funcitons on the Self Assessment Online website. It is also there for AccountingWEB members, tax experts and HMRC staff to share their experiences and observations.

    Have our questions hit the mark? Or are there other areas you would like to discuss with HMRC officials? Open up the channels of communication now to ensure a smooth run-up to next January - and feel free to use the 'Post a Comment' button below to raise your questions for discussion at the online workshop.

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    Replies (7)

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    Stephen Quay
    By squay
    21st Nov 2005 12:01

    I sent in a couple of 64-8s to CAAT at Longbenton on 2 Nov and am still waiting, that's 19 days, almost 3 weeks. Not good enough! Will have to waste time chasing them now. Why can't we fax them in the first place as often when they lose them they will accept a faxed copy?

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    20th Nov 2005 13:52

    CAAT seems to be working well
    The CAAT at Longbenton seem to be up to speed. I recently sent in a batch of six 64-8's and the new cleints were allocated to my online agency account within five days.

    Furthermore repayments due to clients whose returns I have "filed by internet" are being repaid within 10 days.

    Credit where credit is due, HMRC seem to have made major improvements in these two areas, and I for one applaud this. Well done HMRC.

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    16th Nov 2005 13:20

    HMRC Security on the web
    We have been advised recently, by our IT consultants, to tighten up dramatically on passwords etc. due to the level of hacking now possible.

    We have not heard from HMRC how secure online assessment services are in practice.

    Could we have a detailed breakdown of how this is implemented at all levels and what if any is the fall-back position when it goes wrong.

    Has it gone wrong for any of HMRC online self- assessment users?

    What development and live observation for problems is in place?

    Thanks (0)
    By User deleted
    15th Nov 2005 14:53

    Question for HMRC
    We were recently advised at a Working Together meeting that the practice of supplying 64-8s to each department within HMRC had ceased and that one would suffice for all. This does not seem to be the case.

    Last week we were unable to speak to the Tax Credits department in respect of one of our clients as they advised they held no 64-8 even though the local district has held such authority for some time. In addition the department refused to contact their colleagues in the local district to obtain authority/confirmation that a 64-8 was held and in fact were insisting we supply a fresh 64-8 for their purposes.

    Could HMRC therefore clarify when and indeed if the practice of one 64-8 being sufficient for all departments applies from and whether all such departments are aware of this.

    Thanks (0)
    By Blakeney
    15th Nov 2005 14:56

    Running Balances
    I have a problem especially with new clients in finding out about brought forward and carry forward balances being processed through PAYE codes. e.g. an underpaid balance from year 1 may be coded to year 3 and not appear in any of the correspondence/assessments relating to year 2. In year 2 you suddenly find the underpayment from year -1 which you didn't know about.
    Why can't this sort of thing appear on the statements?

    Thanks (0)
    Stephen Quay
    By squay
    15th Nov 2005 16:04

    64-8 and Tax Credits
    Julia, when the new tax credits system was implemented a new 64-8 was devised to also include tax credit authorisation by your client. If your 64-8 pre-dates this then tax credit authorisation will not have been given, how could it when it hadn't been invented. This may explain why a more recent 64-8 is required by the TC dept alone.

    Thanks (0)
    By stuart elkins
    16th Nov 2005 10:36

    Tax Return delays
    Can action be taken to reduce the substantial time taken by Bristol & N Somerset area in processing Tax Returns. The standard time is usually three months before action.

    Response times for correspondence is also slow on many occasions.

    Chapel Wharf is nearly as bad.

    Thanks (0)