Tax

 

Making Tax Digital

 

HMRC agent services

Details of live consultations and links to responses, changes to HMRC service and guidance, including:

 

Agent forum and engagement

Latest updates from the partnership between HMRC and the main agent representative bodies. Including:

 

Technical updates and reminders

COVID-19

We have published updated guidance for employers, businesses and employees, and more information can be found on GOV.UK.

 

VAT deferred due to COVID-19 — act now to avoid a penalty

You may be charged a 5% penalty or interest if you have deferred VAT outstanding.

HMRC will support any taxpayer in financial distress as a result of COVID-19. Contact us as soon as possible if you are struggling to pay your deferred VAT to make an arrangement to pay.

Businesses that deferred VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 were able to either:

  • pay in full by 31 March 2021
  • join the online VAT deferral new payment scheme by 21 June 2021 to spread payments of deferred VAT over smaller, interest free instalments
  •  contact HMRC to make an arrangement to pay by 30 June 2021

For more information on deferred VAT and the penalty charge, go to GOV.UK and search ‘VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19)’.

 

Further support on COVID-19 schemes

You and your clients can sign up to receive regular email updates from HMRC, to keep up to date with the latest information on our COVID-19 schemes. You can simply register and add the subscription topics you’re interested in.

Many agents have also benefitted from our webinars which offer information on the CJRS, other government support and how it applies to your clients.

 

Tax

 

Court of Appeal finds in favour of HMRC in disguised remuneration tax avoidance case

You may be contacted by clients about the outcome of the Court of Appeal decision in Hoey & Ors v Revenue & Customs [2022] EWCA Civ 656 (13 May 2022).

Mr Hoey was an IT contractor and used a disguised remuneration (DR) tax avoidance scheme promoted between 2006 and 2010. Mr Hoey worked through an umbrella company based outside the UK to provide his services to UK-based financial service companies. He received most of his earnings in the form of interest-free loans made by the trustees of employee benefit trusts, which were initially claimed not to be taxable. Following a previous Supreme Court ruling in RFC 2012 plc v Advocate General for Scotland [2017] UKSC 45, Mr Hoey accepted that the contributions to the employee benefit trusts, for onward loans to him, were chargeable to income tax as earnings.

There was no evidence that the UK-based companies that engaged Mr Hoey’s services had any knowledge of the tax avoidance arrangements that he had entered into, nor of any requirement to operate PAYE. Therefore, HMRC exercised its discretion under the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 to relieve those companies of any obligation to operate PAYE. This meant that Mr Hoey needed to pay the unpaid tax. The Court of Appeal accepted that HMRC had exercised its discretion lawfully, and that contrary to Mr Hoey’s argument, he was not entitled to a notional PAYE credit for the unpaid tax.

This case demonstrates that tax avoidance does not pay, as most schemes do not work. HMRC may collect tax directly from individuals who have used DR tax avoidance schemes, where this is appropriate. If your client used a DR scheme, and wishes to settle, whether or not the loan charge applies, they can do so under the DR settlement terms 2020. This includes customers who received loans before 9 December 2010, where HMRC still has open enquiries or assessments. If your client is unsure about settling, they can still make payments on account to stop interest accruing whilst they decide what to do.

Find out more about HMRC’s Don’t Get Caught Out campaign and the support available for customers who believe they are involved in a tax avoidance scheme.

 

New tax residence indicator tool

HMRC are pleased to have launched a new tool to help customers to determine their tax residence status. The link is available on GOV.UK at tax on foreign income: UK residence and tax.

The tool applies the rules as set out in the Statutory Residence Test (SRT) to help determine an individual’s residence status for tax purposes.

Further guidance on the SRT is available in RDR3 Statutory Residence Test.

The tool is suitable for most people whose affairs are straightforward and covers the:

  • automatic overseas test
  • automatic UK tests
  • sufficient ties test

For detailed information on the SRT please read RDRM11000 onwards.

As with all new guidance products we are happy to receive any feedback. You can send this to Richard Hardy at Richard.hardy@hmrc.gov.uk.

 

Corporate Interest Restriction — mandation of electronic filing

Corporate Interest Restriction (CIR) legislation applies to corporate entities. It aims to restrict a group’s deductions for interest expense and other financing costs for Corporation Tax purposes, to an amount that is commensurate with taxed UK activities, taking account of how much the group borrows from third parties such as banks and other finance options.

Further information is available on GOV.UK:

In 2018, HMRC introduced an online submission form (“the G-form”), and from July 2021, an Application Programming Interface (API), for submitting Interest Restriction Returns (IRRs), and for reporting company appointments and revocations. The G-form can be accessed via the links above, and the APIs can be found on the HMRC Developer Hub.

On 7 July 2022, a Statutory Instrument was laid in Parliament. The effect of the Statutory Instrument is that all IRRs and reporting company appointments or revocations must be submitted using either the G-form or the API. This will have effect for all submissions on or after 1 September 2022. This means that after that date, HMRC will not accept IRRs and appointments or revocations that are sent by email, post or attached to company tax returns.

The Statutory Instrument can be found on GOV.UK at UK Statutory Instruments.

 

Employer PAYE — new recurring Direct Debit functionality

Currently employers can set up a Direct Debit to collect a single payment, but not a recurring Direct Debit.

That is about to change as we are going to offer a recurring Direct Debit to employers.

This aligns to the ambitions of the HMRC Payments Strategy, to make available one consistent set of payment methods to all customers across all regimes.

Once available, there will be a change to the Business Tax Account (BTA) and the employers’ liabilities and payments screens. There will be a new link for ‘Set up a Direct Debit’. This will allow your clients to set up a Direct Debit instruction once (unless they cancel it), authorising HMRC to collect directly from their bank account based on their return submissions.

After an employer has set up a Direct Debit, the link will change to ‘Manage your Direct Debit’ and an employer will be able to view, change or cancel the Direct Debit online.

Payments which will be covered by Direct Debit will show within employers’ liabilities and payment screens for both employers and agents.

There is no agent journey, only employers will be able to create, view, amend and cancel a Direct Debit.

We are aiming to deliver this service early Autumn, around mid-September at the latest.

 

Employer PAYE liabilities and payments viewer update

We have been extending employer PAYE for the agent online service on a rolling basis. This service allows agents to see employer liabilities and payments which we hold.

The rollout is progressing well.

In mid to late-July we plan to remove our previous restrictions and will in future allow all agents with the PAYE online for agent’s enrolment to access the service. This will include those with the assistant as well as admin role.

We continue to receive positive responses from agents who are already using the service from both the exit survey and feedback responses held within the service.

 

Moving to the Customs Declaration Service by 30 September 2022

You may already know that the Customs Declaration Service is becoming the UK’s single customs platform and will replace the old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. This marks the first step towards the government’s vision of a Single Trade Window, which will have considerable benefits for businesses through reduced form-filling, better data use across government and a smoother experience for users.

After 30 September 2022, businesses will no longer be able to make import declarations on CHIEF.

From 1 October 2022, to continue importing they will need to make their import declarations on the Customs Declaration Service instead.

This includes traders or business travellers bringing commercial goods into Great Britain in their baggage after 30 September 2022. They will need to submit their declarations through the Customs Declaration Service — either individually or through a customs agent.

If your clients import goods, you should check they are making arrangements to submit their declarations on the Customs Declarations Service by 30 September 2022. They need to take action whether they make their own declarations or use a customs agent. It takes time for businesses to move across onto the Customs Declaration Service so they must act now.

If you make customs declarations on behalf of businesses

If you make customs declarations on behalf of businesses, you should have already started preparing for this change. You need to contact the businesses you make declarations on behalf of to ensure they have given you access to their Customs Declaration Service account. You must also check that you have all the relevant information you need from them in order to access their account.

Support available

We have lots of online support available to help you and your clients make the move to the Customs Declaration Service, including:

The last day businesses will be able to make export declarations on CHIEF is 31 March 2023. After this date, they will need to make these on the Customs Declaration Service.

 

Making Tax Digital

 

Making Tax Digital — are your clients ready

 

Making Tax Digital for VAT — make sure your clients are signed up

All VAT-registered businesses should now be using Making Tax Digital to keep digital records and submit tax returns to HMRC.

Even if they currently keep digital records, they must use Making Tax Digital-compatible software to file their VAT returns. You can see a list of software compatible with Making Tax Digital for VAT, including free and low-cost options, to choose the Making Tax Digital software that is right for them.

If your client has not signed up to Making Tax Digital, they need to do so before they file their next VAT return, otherwise they could receive a penalty. You can use our step-by-step guide to sign your clients up to Making Tax Digital if you have not already.

 

Agent Services Account (ASA) — granular permissions

The ASA currently allows all staff within a practice, access to all client records and tax services if they know the right client identifiers. There is no functionality that allows agents to control this. HMRC are developing granular permissions functionality in the ASA that will allow agents to control who accesses client records and can opt in / out of using it. It is specifically aimed to support small to medium sized agents, with up to 1,000 employees.

To prepare for the release of this functionality you will need to ensure that you have an administrator role in your ASA. Only administrators will have access to this new feature from the ‘Manage Account’ section on the ASA home page once you’ve logged in.

Administrators will have the ability to create access groups and add selected clients and team members to them. Clients can be searched and filtered by their name, their tax reference and their tax service.

We are testing this new feature with tax agents of varying size and feedback to date has been positive.

This new functionality will be released to a small number of agents at first before being rolled out to the wider agent community.

 

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment — pilot expansion

From April 2024, all businesses with combined annual income from self-employment or property above £10,000 will have to submit their tax return in a different way, as part of Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment.

We want to ensure Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment is well tested before its introduction, and that agents and customers have opportunities to feedback on how it will work in practice. That’s why we’re running a pilot, inviting agents to recommend clients who can help us test and learn.

Last month we asked you to start thinking about which of your clients may be eligible to join the pilot and we would like to thank those who have already started the process of signing up their clients. We would now like to encourage others to start signing up a small number of their clients.

To do this, you should speak to your software developer who will be able to advise on next steps. You can also send an email to the following mailbox if you are interested in the pilot and would like further advice, mailboxmakingtaxdigital@hmrc.gov.uk.

The pilot is still a test environment. Those taking part have the benefit of testing Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment before April 2024, including their own internal processes for managing Making Tax Digital.

Currently, to be eligible, customers will need to have an accounting period that aligns exactly to the tax year (6 April to 5 April) to join the 2022 to 2023 pilot, and have Making Tax Digital compatible software before signing up.

If you are interested in joining, we suggest you review your clients to assess who is likely to be eligible based on the current eligibility criteria.

Where customers meet the eligibility criteria we would first like to bring customers with only the following circumstances into the pilot:

  • self-employment (including multiple self-employments)
  • UK property
  • Gift Aid
  • Pay As You Earn income, including employment income and occupational pensions (excluding those with a coded out liability)
  • UK interest
  • UK dividends

This list is the first group of customer circumstances that we wish to test, but the list will grow as we successfully test each criteria.

We will provide further details on the pilot in due course.

 

HMRC agent services

 

Updates to the VAT Registration Service (VRS) from 1 August

HMRC has been developing a new VAT Registration Service (VRS) which will speed up the process and improve our security. We have been testing the service throughout the past 18 months and have now had over 37,000 customers successfully register their own business. The next step is to switch on the new functionality for Agents, at which time we will divert all new applications from the legacy service. One of the key changes is that every customer will be automatically signed up to Making Tax Digital as part of registration, removing the need for that extra step.

The service will go live on 1 August 2022. We recommend that if you have incomplete, unsubmitted VAT applications for your customers, that these are submitted by 31 July 2022 at 5pm. Any partially completed, saved applications on the old service will be lost after this time. You will however have the same functionality in the new service to save applications for up to 4 weeks before submitting them.

Any further details surrounding the new service will be published in future Agent Updates.

 

PAYE Settlement Agreements (PSA) — introducing new digital version of the PSA1 form

HMRC has recently completed a review of customer feedback from employers who make use of PAYE Settlement Agreements (PSAs). Acting on that feedback we have redesigned the PSA1 form in line with your needs. We have also introduced a more efficient digital submission route.

The new form is available on GOV.UK:

HMRC encourages all employers to take up the new reporting method. This is the most efficient way to submit PSA1 and HMRC’s preferred method of receiving it

The new digital format offers many benefits for employers. These include easy, standardized reporting, improved accuracy, speedier processing times and fewer resulting queries.

If using the paper version, employers may have to complete more than one PSA1 depending on where employees live. The new digital PSA1 will allow employers to submit one form for all employees regardless of their location.

 

HMRC launches consultation to address concerns about Repayment Agents

On 22 June 2022 we launched a 12-week consultation — Raising standards in tax advice: Protecting customers claiming tax repayments to consider ways to better protect taxpayers from Repayment Agents who make routine tax claims on people’s behalf, but can take up to half, or even more, of the payment.

We are seeking views on whether HMRC should:

·        restrict the use of assignments

·        introduce measures designed to ensure taxpayers see material information about a repayment agent’s service before entering into a contractual agreement

·        require repayment agents to formally register with HMRC

The consultation is part of the government’s agenda to raise standards in the market for tax advice and will run for 12 weeks, ending on 14 September 2022.

We are keen to hear views from all tax agents, particularly those specialising in helping taxpayers claim repayments.

You can share your views by emailing repaymentsconsultation@hmrc.gov.uk or individuals can complete the survey on GOV.UK.

 

Incorrect application for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) R40 Claims

We recently asked agents to send R40 PPI forms to:

PPI tax interest claims
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1ZR

We’ve been monitoring these forms and noticed a number of frequent mistakes which are stopping us from processing them.

To make sure we can process claims as quickly as possible can you please make sure you are following the guidance below:

·        only include the agent details on the spaces provided on the R40 form

·        if the repayment is to be sent to somebody other than the customer, make sure the customer completes and authorises the nominee fields on the form at section 12

·        check you have correctly completed fields 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3

·        individual applications should be submitted for each tax year on the existing standard R40 form without any attachments

·        do not include covering letters, evidence or any other form of attachment with the R40 form. If attachments are included with an R40 application, these applications will be identified when we open the post and steered away from the quicker automation route

  • do not include any other tax reclaim types within that R40 form

 

The Trust Registration Service

Reporting a discrepancy in Trust Registration Service data

From September 2022, Relevant Persons must ask trustees or agents who are engaging in a new business relationship with them to provide proof of registration on the Trust Registration Service.

A Relevant Person is an organisation working in a professional capacity that carries out due diligence checks under anti-money laundering regulations. Relevant Persons are also known as Obliged Entities. We acknowledge that as an agent, you may also be a Relevant Person.

The trustee or agent who is engaging in the business relationship will need to use the online service to download a PDF copy of a report to show proof of registration. This report can be emailed to the Relevant Person or alternatively, can be printed off.

If a Relevant Person finds a discrepancy in trust data when reviewing proof of registration, these organisations will seek to resolve this directly with the trustee or agent who is engaging in the business relationship in the first instance. For example, by pointing out the discrepancy and asking them to update the proof of registration and provide the updated version. If a Relevant Person cannot resolve the discrepancy directly with them, they must then report the discrepancy to HMRC.

HMRC will write to trustees if a discrepancy is reported, asking for the discrepancy to be resolved. If the trustee wishes for their agent to action the discrepancy letter, they must pass this onto their agent themselves.

Once the trustee or agent has made the appropriate changes, they should download a new proof of registration document and supply this to the Relevant Person. If the Relevant Person is satisfied that the discrepancy has been resolved, they can continue to engage in a business relationship with the trust.

Further details on discrepancy reporting will be shared through future communications, guidance will be shared via GOV.UK.

Trust Data requests

From September 2022, HMRC may share information on the Trust Registration Service (TRS) in limited circumstances with some third parties following a Trust Data Request. Trust Data Requests can be submitted on or after 1 September 2022.

Legitimate Interest Trust Data Request

Individuals or organisations must demonstrate that they are looking into a specific instance of money laundering or terrorist financing in relation to a specific trust, and that the information on the register that is the subject of the request will further that investigation.

Offshore Company Trust Data Request

Data can be requested on a trust that holds a controlling interest in a non-EEA (‘third country’) company or other legal entity. A ‘controlling interest’ is usually where the trust holds more than 50% of the shares in the entity or can control it in some other way.

Trust Data that may be shared

The information HMRC can share about a trust will be limited to the beneficial owners that are associated with the trust. For individuals, this includes the name, month and year of birth, country of residence, nationality, and their role in the trust.

For companies and other legal entities, the information will be limited to their name, office address and their role in the trust.

Circumstances where HMRC will not share data

HMRC will not share data on certain types of trusts, for example:

  • non-express taxable trusts that are registered only because of a liability to UK taxation and not also as a registerable express trust
  • express trusts which are excluded from registration, which are only registered because of their liability to UK taxation, a list of these can be found at TRSM23000
  • non-UK trusts with no trustees resident in the UK, that are registered only because they hold UK land or property

For legitimate interest Trust Data Requests, if HMRC deems that the legitimate interest has not been adequately demonstrated, HMRC will not share information on the register. Legitimate interest is not adequately demonstrated when:

  • the requestor is not requesting data in order to further an investigation into a specified instance of money laundering or terrorist financing
  • the information provided by the requestor does not sufficiently show reasonable grounds for suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing on the specific trust on which the request has been made

For offshore company Trust Data Requests, if TRS records do not show that a controlling interest in an offshore company exists, HMRC will not share information held on the register.

HMRC will not share information on specific individuals if exemptions apply to them, this means if we have been made aware that the individual:

  • is under 18
  • lacks mental capacity
  • is at disproportionate risk of one of the following: fraud, kidnapping blackmail, extortion, harassment, violence or intimidation as a result of releasing that information

Further details on trust data requests will be shared through future communications, guidance will be shared via GOV.UK.

Government Gateway — Great Britain driving licence added as additional evidence source

We recently added Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) driving licences as an additional evidence source, helping more of our customers get online to use our digital services.

We need 2 forms of evidence to confirm a customer’s identity online and customers are now able to select 2 items from the following where they are available:

  • tax credit claim details
  • P60 or most recent payslips
  • UK passport details
  • information held on your credit file (such as loans, credit cards or mortgages)
  • your Self Assessment tax return (in the last 3 years)
  • Great Britain driving licence or Northern Ireland driving licence

Please let your clients know about this change, where it is relevant to them.

You should never ask for or use your client’s HMRC login details to access their tax account.

 

Phishing emails with malicious attachments

HMRC is supporting an increasing number of agents who have been targeted by phishing emails sent by criminals. These are designed to look as though they have come from legitimate senders, such as HMRC, broadband providers, accountancy software suppliers or pension providers. But they contain attachments or links that, if opened, install software designed to allow criminals to steal passwords and data from the victims, or take remote control of their systems.

This data is then used to commit additional fraud such as accessing agents’ HMRC accounts and making fraudulent registrations using stolen client data.

Some things to consider that can help you spot and defend against these attacks:

1.    Were you expecting the email?

2.    Inspect the full sender address; it will often show the email is not from who it’s suggesting it’s from.

3.    Inspect any links in the email. Do they redirect you to a file sharing service like Dropbox? Are they not obviously associated with the sender?

4.    Look at the email content. Are there spelling or grammatical errors, or dates and times that do not match?

5.    Inspect the file extensions (suffix at the end of a file name) of attachments and downloads. Extensions ‘.exe’ ‘.msi’ and ‘.dll’ show that the file will install software when clicked on. Archives like zip files can also disguise malicious files.

6.    If an attachment or download is a Microsoft document, try not be tricked into clicking an ‘enable content’ button, which can enable malicious actions.

To help us fight these crimes, forward suspicious emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599. Report tax scam phone calls to us on GOV.UK.

You can also contact HMRC directly but only use phone numbers from our contact details on GOV.UK.

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a phishing scam, and report it to Action Fraud (in Scotland, contact the police on 101).

For further information on protecting your business, visit the National Cyber Security Centre website at ncsc.gov.uk.

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