BASDA Chair updates on a ‘Covid-19 – Key Issues’ call with HMRC
HMRC Stakeholder Briefing: COVID-19 Financial Scams
As a well-known organisation with a recognisable brand, HMRC is a target for scammers. Criminals are taking advantage of the package of measures announced by the Government to support people and businesses affected by coronavirus. HMRC has detected more than 70 Covid-related financial scams to date, most by text message and some by email. To download the full document click the button below.
Kevin raised concerns that the threshold for bulk submission currently too high (>100 employees) and should be set at a much more realistic level (c. >20 employees) in order to mitigate workloads and potential for errors (as data ‘copied and pasted’). HMRC noted and wanted to see initial performance before considering changes.
Agent handling of claims on behalf of their clients (employers) seemed a little unclear and so the resulting guidance was shared (from HMRC):
Q: Am I authorised to complete CJRS claim for my client?
Agents who are authorised to act on behalf of clients for PAYE matters online will be able to make the claims provided they:
- are registered as an agent with HMRC and have a PAYE Agent code
- have enrolled for PAYE online Service for Agents
- have been authorised to act online for their client in PAYE. This could be via an existing FBI2 form or the Online Agent Authorisation process.
If an agent is unsure of the level of authorisation they have, they should check the list of payroll clients in their agent portal. If the client is listed as ‘confirmed’ they can make CJRS applications on their client’s behalf. However, if they are not listed, or listed as ‘limited authorisation’ then the agent cannot currently claim on behalf of the client.
Q: How can an agent who is not currently authorised online become authorised?
If an agent is registered with HMRC but has not been authorised to act online for their clients in PAYE, they can seek authorisation to be able to act for the client.
Rather than using paper form FBI2 or the online agent authorisation process, agents can ask their clients to authorise them to act for PAYE through the client’s Business Tax Account. This is a faster route to ensure the right permissions are in place.
Prior steps required:
- The client will need to have enrolled for PAYE online for employers (activation codes have now been temporarily suspended so this is instantaneous).
- The agent must also be enrolled for PAYE online services for Agents.
- The agent needs to give their Agent Government Gateway ID to the client.
Steps for client to authorise agent:
- The client signs into HMRC online services (their Business Tax Account).
- In BTA, select “Manage Account” and select the “Add, view or change tax agent” option under the heading Tax Agents.
- Select “PAYE for employers” and click continue.
- On the “Manage who can access your taxes and schemes” page, click the “Add an agent” link next to the service that you want to assign an agent for (e.g. PAYE).
- Enter your Agents Government Gateway ID provided to you by your agent and click continue.
- Click on “Add Agent” to confirm you want to add the selected agent.
- You will receive confirmation the agent has been added on the screen.
Putting in place this authorisation will enable an agent to act for the client in all PAYE matters online, not just for this scheme. So, if this authorisation is intended to be specific to the CJRS claim, you should advise your client to remove the agent access via the BTA once the claim is made.
HMRC is looking at ways to make third party authorisations simpler and will aim to publish further guidance on this next week.
Finally, Kevin and many of the assembled rep bodies gave recognition to the great job that HMRC are doing in responding the Chancellor’s declared initiatives – especially the very rapid development and delivery of CJRS.
Kevin also raised concerns around the ITSA timetable, given the lack of clarity at this year’s budget along with added difficulties that a number of developers will face in responding in the usual timeframes (given the remote working and staff availability). Kevin lodged with the directorate the need to work closely with BASDA to plan a suitable timetable here; this appeared to be taken on-board and Kevin will continue to influence such plans accordingly – bringing in members (via their SIG).
Kevin also expressed concern about the fact that HMRC’s systems were set to the wrong CT rate and that we still have no clarity as to when this will be resolved and the accompanying schema update. This was taken away by the directorate to escalate accordingly (cognisant of current resourcing and Covid-19 focus).
Please continue to use/join your relevant SIG (Specialist Interest Group) as they will initially progress matters for you, and also have the BASDA Chair as a further escalation route. If you’d like to discuss what SIG(s) may be most relevant to you, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter.email@example.com.
BASDA remains totally committed to best serve its members and fully subscribes to continuous improvement. Please feel free to share any observations or suggestions you have with BASDA’s Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org).