UK Government

HM Revenue & Customs (National): A new relationship for HMRC and tax agents

Press release   •   Jun 01, 2011 11:35 BST

A consultation document proposing the transformation of the relationship between agents and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was published today.

The document, “Establishing the future relationship between the Tax Agent community and HMRC”, is based on two main proposals:

* Self serve - enrolling tax agents onto a database to provide additional security against fraud and to differentiate paid, professional tax agents from those in the voluntary and community sector and those who provide free help for friends and family. This will allow HMRC to place more control in the hands of enrolled agents by allowing them to carry out day to day transactions through “self serve”, for example, self authorisation to act on behalf of their clients, determining PAYE codes and managing payments and liabilities. Informed by responses to the consultation, implementation of “self serve” will be on a staged basis – starting with simple transactions.

* Agent engagement - Understanding more about the total engagement an agent has with HMRC, creating an “agent view” that brings together details of the agent and their client portfolio, to help target and tailor HMRC support services to agents and, where necessary, identify poor practice.

HMRC will work closely with representatives from the agent community to design the new service and safeguards.

The consultation also differentiates between agents who are paid and those who provide free help for friends and family.

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.”

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.”

HMRC will arrange a number of meetings and workshops with agents who are members of the representative bodies and those who are non affiliated to seek their views first hand. The department will also continue to liaise regularly with the main representative bodies through the Joint Tax Agent Strategy Steering Group.

The consultation document can be accessed at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/consultations.

Notes for editors

1. Responses should be sent by 16 September, by e-mail to agent.consultation@hmrc.gsi.gov.ukor by post to:

Agent Strategy Team
HMRC
Business Customer Unit
Floor 7N
South West Bush House
Strand
London WC2B 4RD

2. Please address any enquiries about the content or scope of the consultation, requests for hard copies and information about consultation events to:

Valerie Barton 
Tel: 020 7438 6383 
email: valerie.barton@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or
Lesley Agnew
Tel: 0141 285 4247 
email: lesley.agnew@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

3. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

NAT 48/11

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
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ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk