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News added on 09.07.2018

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Agent Services Account for MTD - get ahead?

In recent webinars, HMRC recommends that agents should set up a new online Agent Services Account and the sooner the better. Is this really advice you should follow?

New access to new HMRC services. If you want to act as a professional agent for clients in the brave new world of HMRC MTD online services, you need a new HMRC account. It’s called an Agent Services Account (ASA) and it’s the new way to access HMRC’s digital services. Currently you can only use ASAs for MTD pilots (income tax and VAT) and for the Trust Registration Service. For other client work, you still need the government gateway access you’re already using, and the two means of access are going to be running alongside each other for a while to come. Because ASAs have limited use you might wonder why bother. The answer is that new HMRC digital services will only be accessible through an ASA. You’ll probably want or need to be familiar with them by the time MTD for VAT (MTDfV) becomes mandatory for VAT periods starting from 1 April 2019.

Tip. You only need one ASA per firm, not per office.

ASA set up. The set-up process is accessed from GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-an-hmrc-agent-services-account. Whoever does it will need the firm’s UTR, plus the postcode for the address associated with the UTR, the e-mail address which will be used for admin e-mails from HMRC - make sure those with admin roles in your business are aware of this. HMRC estimates that it takes about half an hour to set the account up.

In practice. After you’ve registered your firm HMRC will give you an agent reference number. You can then link this to your existing 64-8 client relationships. If you have more than one government gateway ID, say for different offices, you repeat the process for each. If you add new clients using your government gateway credentials after you’ve got your ASA set up, they should automatically get added to your ASA list.

With less that nine months until MTD for VAT, setting up your Agent Services Account now makes good sense. Get it out of the way so you can put your efforts into getting clients ready.

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