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HMRC courts advisers for self-service tax system

HMRC courts advisers for self-service tax system

HM Revenue and Customs wants to improve relationships with tax advisers and change the way they do business with each other.

HMRC wants to make a lot of mundane tax administration self-service for professional agents.

A consultancy document “Establishing the future relationship between the Tax Agent community and HMRC” has been launched explaining the proposals in detail.

Scheme will reduce costs

The two main strategies are:

  • Introducing self-service access to client files by enrolling professional agents who offer paid-for packages to clients rather than free advice to family, friends and the community sector.

HMRC intends to let these agents deal with PAYE codes, payments and collecting outstanding tax. The self service scheme will be rolled out over a period of several months.

  • Tailoring services and support to match agent and client needs. This will also target poor practice – presumably by HMRC and agents

HMRC’s Brian Redford said: “Tax agents play a vital role in the delivery of the tax system – it could not function without them. HMRC wants to introduce these changes to improve the service we offer, take account of changing customer needs and make the administration of tax in the UK more efficient and consistent.

“We have worked closely with agent representative bodies because we know that they seek the same outcome for the taxpayer as we do – helping all taxpayers meet tax obligations as effectively and efficiently as possible. We hope that as many agents as possible let us have their views on the proposals in the consultation.”

Unpaid administrators

Some tax practitioners suspect HMRC is switching some services to agents, who will act as unpaid administrators.

Melanie Dawes, HMRC’s Director of Business Tax, said: “I want HMRC to make its engagement with agents and their clients as easy as possible. This will help reduce costs for customers, their representatives and HMRC.”

Download the consultation document from