HMRC recently published an item on its Working with tax agents blog, Submitting tax returns for clients who have not received a return or a notice to file.
It has always been possible to file an income tax return using commercial self assessment software if the client was previously in self assessment and their UTR is available. This approach is used regularly by agents where the client has been incorrectly removed from self assessment by HMRC or where self assessment is the simplest way of dealing with the liability or refund due for the year.
The increase to the threshold for savings and dividend income below which HMRC does not automatically require a self assessment tax return, see previous news item Taxable dividend and interest income below the threshold for a self assessment tax return: the process clarified, is likely to make this practice more prevalent, especially as HMRC cannot currently pre-populate these figures.
HMRC is now asking agents to re-register their clients for self assessment before filing a return to ensure that the record is corrected and that PAYE calculations (P800s or PA302 simple assessments) are supressed or cancelled. We have asked HMRC to clarify why this additional step is required and why HMRC cannot instead update the record when the self assessment return is filed.
A client can be registered online as HMRC suggests or by phoning the agent dedicated line. We have had some reports of HMRC contact centres resisting agent requests for the issue of a tax return. Please feedback your experiences in the comments below.