Agent strategy ‘contains fundamental issues’

THE TAX AGENT strategy contains a “significant number of fundamental issues” before it can be implemented, the CIoT has said.

HM Revenue & Customs published its proposals for authorised tax advisors to use the self-serve system, which would allow them greater access to HMRC systems. Enrolled advisors would be able to change PAYE codings and addresses themselves under the scheme.

The initiative has been broadly welcomed by the profession but the CIoT and the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) have warned that members have expressed the need for an independent oversight for the disenrollment and suspending of advisors. The institutes’ response, which received contributions from around 1,500 members, also highlighted the need for effective security systems to guard against criminals and a lack of further burdens on the advisors themselves.

Andrew Meeson, president of the ATT, said: “It needs to be clear who will have access to self-serve: many feel strongly that the unrepresented need some access. And we need reassurance over security of data within HMRC systems if these are opened up to all agents. Until these issues are resolved, no professional agent will want to be a part of the system.”

Anthony Thomas, president of the CIOT, said: “Tax advisors have indicated that they are not interested in the sweetener of self-serve if it is part and parcel of an unpalatable package which will only manifest itself at a later stage.”

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