Taxation logo taxation mission text

Since 1927 the leading authority on tax law, practice and administration

Digital ‘brings new opportunities for working together’

27 May 2014
Issue: 4453 / Categories: For Action , News , Admin , Online

HMRC should design all future services with agents in mind, says review

Digital will be key in encouraging constructive interaction between HMRC and tax advisers, according to a review by the department.

The Revenue has published an update of its agents’ strategy, which claims “changes in the commercial market and the growth of software will provide new opportunities for working together in the digital environment”.

The key points:

  • for various reasons, not all about tax, many taxpayers will continue to employ a paid tax agent;
  • evolving expectations and advances in IT, increasing competition from software developers and other professional service providers are driving innovation in paid agent business models;
  • HMRC should design all future digital services with agents in mind;
  • The department ought to work with agents to promote voluntary compliance; and
  • the taxman should work more closely with software developers and service providers, to determine the role they should play in supporting tax compliance strategy.

The Revenue’s executive committee has endorsed the review and asked the department to work with agents’ representative bodies to develop the work.

The department’s next steps:

  • to increase understanding of the agent population, its relationships with clients and the work agents do for clients and use this to plan for future market trends;
  • segment the agent population according to how it interacts with HMRC, with a view to differentiating between services;
  • work with the representative bodies to maintain high standards across the industry;
  • build on agent online self serve, identify other transactions that agents could carry out digitally on behalf of clients; and
  • consider the extent to which those who meet certain, as yet to be determined, standards should be given access to more services.

The tax authority plans to develop its proposals by talking to agents through consultative groups and by attending events.

The department is to also run a pilot of its new digital offering called agent online self-serve. It will take place before the end of the year and provide a limited service to a small number of users

Issue: 4453 / Categories: For Action , News , Admin , Online
back to top icon