HMRC has given software companies the all-clear to release products which allow agents to retrieve some client data that is otherwise accessible online only to individuals through their Personal Tax Account.
This was signalled in Agent Update 59 which has some further details. The data includes:
Two step verification (2SV)
There is a process of Agent Authorisation, including 2SV, that agents will need to go through the first time they try to access this data for a client. The commercial software will prompt this process and once it has been completed that authorisation will continue for a period of 18 months.
Timing of availability of data
The employment, pension and benefit data will not be available until after HMRC has carried out the process of reconciling employer data. This process does not start until June and can be later so 2016/17 data will not be available until later this year.
Members who have queries on this functionality should contact their software provider but please also comment below on how this is working. It should partly mitigate the difficulties caused by the fact that HMRC is no longer giving agents pay and tax details over the phone, but a separate online solution which will work in all situations (including for clients who are not required to file a self assessment return) is expected later this year.
1) Brian Stevens - you'll notice that the top of this page still has the old Lady & Chopsticks - and I'm planning no speedy change to my website or letter head either (didn't like the last messing around much either :-) )
So in total agree with you on all fronts.
2) Also the institute should be kicking to get the revenue to fix the SA tax calculations as filing paper return's for a good chunk of my clients is going to be no fun - and then wait 6 months for the two people left in the Revenue department to enter them manually - ho - ho - ho - Making Tax Difficult Ho-ho-ho.
3) IR35 public purse - what a *** up - so the Revenue won't have any IT staff to fix things any way. Got a client in this, and without any 5% for expenses, will end up paying our fee out of taxed income. Ill thought out legislation badly executed, and badly explained - knee jerk legislation of the worst kind.
4) Now not supplying information (not just this but things like SA302) - because it's all available on the web site, and it's patently not, is just another sign of the the tail wagging dog that HMRC has become. Civil Servants have lost the meaning of the second word in the title.
The way that this works through our software (IRIS) is a complete fluff!
1. you have to go through the authorization process on each workstation and
2. we have two agents as we have two firms in the same office - the software only lets you select one! The workaround per IRIS and HMRC is that you can 'authorize" one agency - authorize the other - and then go through the same process each time. not very user friendly !
The issue of how 2SV will work for agents was covered in the HMRC Agent Services Talking Points in March which is available on www.icaew.com/.../mtd-for-agents. The 2SV requirement will be handled through the commercial software and will be required every 18 months or when new services are added.
Broadly, HMRC recommends that the account holder creates one or more deputies (administrators) in the Government Gateway who will each have their own user ID and password. This means that if the account holder is away from the office when the firm needs to refresh access to HMRC services using 2SV, any one of the deputies can sign in with their user ID and password to refresh access.
How does 2SV work for agents where staff are geographically separate ? Our team work in 3 different locations, do we have to pass codes around each time one of us logs in to our HMRC account ?!
As has been pointed out this will be next to useless for agents as it will arrive too late in the year once HMRC have reconciled the employer accounts. It would be preferable for them to first invest in a system where it did not take them most of the following tax year to reconcile the previous one! They need to get the basics right before adding more functionality.