HMRC Online opens Business Tax Dashboard
A new Business Tax Dashboard was added to HMRC’s website during the time it was offline for maintenance over Easter.
The march towards online filing in recent years has mainly been about taxpayers and their advisers feeding electronic information into HMRC. The new dashboard means that we’re beginning to see more information coming back. Accountants already have access to client lists and summary report through HMRC’s adviser pages. The Business Tax Dashboard brings together information about each business from the different online tax portals and was designed to cater for the department’s smaller business “customers”.
“HMRC's Business Tax Dashboard will give you an overall picture of your tax position including payments you have made and amounts you still owe. You will be able to see either Corporation Tax or Self Assessment information, depending on the type of business you have. You can also view information on VAT and PAYE for employers, if you have set up your business for these online services,” the department advises on its website.
The information provided includes the amounts of tax owed, and the status of payments and penalties. The dashboard can also be used to amend contact details, including an email address. However, that's as far as any interaction goes. There is no facility to reallocate payments or overpayments between taxes or periods, which would have made the BTD much more useful, but which perhaps betrays the lack of real integration behind the apparently unified Dashboard view. Joined up government may be too much to expect, but surely a joined up tax system is not asking too much is it?
Despite this being a new service, it includes a decent amount of historical data:
- Corporation Tax: accounting periods from 1 October 1993 onwards
- Self Assessment: tax year 1996-97 onwards
- PAYE for employers: 2010-11 onwards
- VAT: the current and 15 previous months.
The dashboards will be updated each weekend to reflect returns and payments that reached HMRC systems in the previous five days.
To use the dashboard, businesses will need to enroll for HMRC Online Services and then for either Corporation Tax or Self Assessment. Where they already use online services they need to ensure that they all use the same login, or merge the various accounts into one. This is potentially a holdup for many organisations which use an agent for their main tax filing and only use the online services for transactional taxes such as PAYE and VAT.
Frustratingly there is are no immediate plans to roll out dashboards to agents, the workaround being to ask clients to add you as a user on their account with administrator access - which is going to be rather cumbersome if you have a lot of clients and therefore a lot of different user IDs and passwords to remember. Agents can still view their client’s tax position for Corporation Tax and Self Assessment using the relevant online service, HMRC said, simply adding that it is looking to provide an agent dashboard, and access to client PAYE and VAT tax information "at a later date".
Nigel Harris will be taking the Business Tax Dashboard for a test drive once we can find an organisation registered for the new service and will add further details here shortly. The rather misleading link to an online demo on the new Setting up and using a Business Tax Dashboard page is actually a link to the old HMRC Online Services demo page rather than a demo of the new Business Tax Dashboard, but as soon as we can find a business set up to use the new service we'll add some suitably anonymised screenshots to this article to show you what it looks like!
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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.