Making Tax Digital: How to set up agent services
On its recent Making Tax Digital roadshow, IRIS presented a detailed set of instructions on how practitioners would need to set up an agent services account to access client data within the new regime.
All of the pilot MTD services so far have been tailored for businesses and individuals, but when agents are invited to participate they will need to create an agent services account and gain online authorisation from clients to work on their behalf.
Each of these actions is a one-off event, but authorisation needs to happen for each individual client for the practitioner’s software to be able to collect data from the client’s HMRC tax account.
IRIS chief product and marketing officer Nick Gregory has joined the chorus of industry voices calling for more outreach and education work from HMRC. To fill that gap, IRIS has been stepping up its efforts, for example by running its series of MTD roadshows during July and August.
“Much as there is a propensity to wait, delaying client education and helping them implement the right tools will only cause widespread client upheaval in the coming months,” Gregory said. “With a little strategic thinking, it is possible to manage the day-to-day business and client journeys as we move to a digital economy.”
Gregory highlighted four steps to ensuring clients are ready for MTD VAT: analysing the client base; educating clients; consulting on bookkeeping tools; and training.
But signing up for HMRC agent services represents one more hurdle practitioners need to negotiate. To help them overcome this challenge, IRIS has prepared the following step-by-step guide:
Agents must sign up for an agents services account, this is done via a web journey on the GOV.UK webpages:
As part of setting up your agent services account, you will receive a new government gateway user ID and password. You should use this to access new HMRC digital services, including MTD. You should continue to use your existing GG log in and password for all the services you currently use it for.
As part of this sign up you will be required to:
1. Sign in using your current user credentials
2. Enter your business type.
3. Enter your UTR or Corporation Tax reference and postcode
4. Confirm that the correct business is displayed
5. Enter your details
6. Enter the agency address by entering the House name or number and postcode.
7. Select address
8. Confirm your address
- Confirm your details are correct
- Make a note of your Government Gateway
Once you have your new account you will be able to link your existing client relationships for both VAT and Income Tax to these new credentials, again it will not remove the client authorisation from your existing credentials. This mapping process is carried out in the same government web screens and is currently not possible via software.
The steps required are:
- In the Agents Service Account; select the link “Allow this account to access existing client relationships”
- Enter your User ID and Password (the old ones, not the new one created above)
- Enter your new ARN received in the last step in the agents services account setup
- Enter your UTR or Corporation Tax Reference
- Click Connect
Once you have completed these steps you will be able to register client for taxes and sign them up to the MTDfB Service, allowing them to be a part of MTD for VAT and/or Income Tax.
Each business will need to register for MTD and this is again done via government web pages. Your clients can register themselves for MTD VAT and/or Income Tax or you can register them, but the process must be completed one client at a time, as their personal information must be entered as part of the registration.
IRIS will be presenting more information about MTD and much else besides at IRIS World events in London, Manchester and Glasgow in October.
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AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.