Accountants and tax advisers have been able to view the VAT registration certificates of their clients listed in the old Government Gateway account (GGA) for many years. Businesses have been able to view them in the Business Tax Account (BTA).
But when a business is signed up to Making Tax Digital (MTD) this functionality is removed from the BTA and from the agent’s old GGA.
Is this a problem?
Yes. Whenever we make a change to a registration for our clients using a VAT484 we’ll wait 3 weeks for it to be processed then log into our old GGA to check the registration certificate has been updated. In future we’ll have to phone HMRC. Anyone who has attempted to phone the VAT General Enquiries Helpline recently will know how difficult it is to get through. So, this wastes our time. It also wastes HMRC’s time when and if we eventually get through.
HMRC say they want digital by default yet here they have removed functionality leaving us no choice but to resort to phone or even post.
Why have HMRC done this?
We feel HMRC will say it is for ‘security’ reasons because they have used that excuse for the failure to list clients in the Agents Service Account (ASA). And it is an ‘excuse’, not a ‘reason’. This change only affects clients that are signed up for MTD. We can still view the registration certificate for non-MTD clients. This means if HMRC use the ‘security’ excuse, the security problem must only affect MTD. How wonder how HMRC will squirm out of this one.
And of course, this is typical of HMRC’s recent behaviour.
- Introduce a new system.
- Implement punitive penalties for failing to comply.
- Remove access to information vital for compliance.
Result – penalty revenue increases.