Agent Update 53: Latest news for tax agents from HMRC

Payroll changes and guidance from HMRC, plus what extra services are in the pipeline for agents
The latest bi-monthly round up of developments in tax has been issued. In Agent Update 53 HMRC has identified its top articles as:

·        Agent Services (formerly Agent Online Self Serve)

·        Changes to the Employment Allowance

·        PAYE and NIC – the special reporting rules for agencies, employment businesses and others. HMRC is launching extra help for those affected by the agency or employment intermediary reporting rules, which apply where staff are outside PAYE and NIC, ahead of stepping up its compliance activity and applying the penalty regime..

The update also contains information on the following:

·        Compliance issues including HMRC’s Spotlight 29 on misleading claims made by tax avoidance scheme promoters

·        PAYE including the end of the ‘on or before’ easement for micro-employers

·        Pension schemes including the alignment of the dates of minimum auto enrolment increases with the tax year

·        Update on Working Together including details of the Agent Account Manager Service for client specific queries and how to raise widespread issues through professional bodies

·        Guidance on the submission of P11D and s336 claims

·        Expenses exemption replacing dispensations from 6 April 2016

Agent services
HMRC’s blog for tax agents explains the change of name and gives details of its priorities for 2016/17. The four priority delivery areas are:

·        On-boarding – this will enable agents using third party software to access services and features contained in the personal and the business tax accounts. It will give them the ability to see and do what their clients are able to do through their tax account.

·        Subscription - a process that will allow HMRC to collect data about a tax agency as part of HMRC's agent strategy.

·        Authorisation - enhance existing online agent authorisation.

·        Inbound Secure Messaging – ongoing work to understand what information agents want to send to HMRC and how to provide for this digitally.

We would encourage as many members as possible please to register for HMRC’s Talking Points on Agent services on 19 May 2016 at 12 noon (note earlier than usual time). This will be an opportunity to hear about, and feedback to HMRC on, the key issue of agent access to online information currently only available to clients.
Employment Allowance
Note that the Tax Faculty disagrees with HMRC’s interpretation of the law in relation to Employment Allowance as expressed in this update and has taken the matter up with HMRC. See our news item on Employer Update for April 2016 for further details.