What is an Agent Service Account? Why do you need one? Troubleshooting, Making Tax Digital for VAT, Making VAT Digital, lost user-id? 

This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide.

In order to file VAT online for your clients using HMRC's Making Tax Digital for VAT, also here shortened to MVD as in Making VAT Digital, tax agents have to set up a new online account with HMRC.

Why do I need an Agent Services Account (ASA)?

  • Once set up, you can use your ASA details to file VAT returns for your clients using their software.
  • Alternatively, if it has been agreed with your client, you can use their software and file returns using their own HMRC login details. This practice is not recommended, as it will look as if the client, and not the agent, has filed the return.

Don't I have an Agent Services account already?

  • Your existing online agent account/(s) with HMRC is/(are) called 'Agent Services'. HMRC sometimes calls the old one 'online services for agents account'.

What's the difference between my Agent Services v Agent Services Account (ASA)?

  • Your existing Agent Services account(s), some firms have multiple ones, still shows your SA, CT, VAT etc clients, allows you to act as a delegate etc.
  • The ASA is for Making VAT Digital and a few other services. Once set up you then go into this to link up to your VAT clients once they are enabled for MVD.

What is the existing Agent Services account for?

The existing Agent Services account is for:

  1. Corporation Tax for Agents: HMRC Online Services.
  2. Gambling Tax for Agents: HMRC Online Services.
  3. Machine Games Duty for Agents: HMRC Online Services.
  4. Notification of Vehicle Arrivals for agents: HMRC Online Services.
  5. PAYE for Agents: HMRC Online Services for reporting PAYE and CIS.
  6. Self Assessment for Agents: HMRC online services.
  7. Submit your Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings return.
  8. VAT online services for agents.

What is the new Agent Service Account (ASA) used for?

The new Agent Service Account (ASA) is for:

  1. Signing up clients who are in Making Tax Digital for VAT.
  2. Updating your client's details for Making Tax Digital for VAT.
  3. Register your client’s estate.
  4. Register your client’s trust.
  5. Filing an online CGT on UK property return for clients who have disposed of UK residential property.

What can I see in my ASA?

Not much: it does not show a client list or which services you can use.

When do I use my ASA?

  • To authorise new clients who are within MVD.
  • To authorise new trust clients.
  • To file an online CGT on UK property return for a client.

When do I use my old Agent services online?

  • To authorise new clients for IT, CT etc.
  • To authorise VAT registered clients who are not within MVD.

How to set up ASA

UPDATE: new additional requirement. HMRC have now deemed that all agents must now undergo anti-money laundering checks when they set up the account.

1. You are asked to log in using your existing AS login credentials, ignore this: you cannot use your current Government Gateway account to create an agent services account. Step 1 is to therefore make a new Government Gateway Account and then use this to set up your new ASA.

2. Select your trading style (sole trader, company etc)

3. Enter your UTR and postcode

4. Follow the remaining instructions and note down your new:

  • Password.
  • ID [this will be the user ID for login].
  • Memorable word.
  • Agent ID [this is not the user ID for login].
  • A/C reference no.

5. Once you have created the account:

  • You will need to add the login details for each of the agent Government Gateway accounts your business uses for your Income Tax Self Assessment and VAT clients.
  • This is the login to your existing online Agent Services, not the new ASA just created.
  • Repeat this process for each Government Gateway account your business uses.

6. Authorising clients for MVD

Problem: Client must be already 'signed up' to report their VAT returns through software [they must be in the MVD pilot or signed up - do next step before this one if necessary].

  • Enter their VAT registration number and date of registration. 
  • To find their date of registration, go into the client's tax service account > VAT, At a glance > View VAT registration certificate.

7. EXTRA IMPORTANT STEP Sign up clients for MVD [to authorise them]

  • This is not done via the ASA: you need to have done this before the step above. 
  • Businesses that pay VAT by Direct Debit cannot sign up in the 15 working days leading up to, or the five working days after sending a VAT Return.
  • Don't sign up for MVD until you have functional compatible software organised and working.
  • If you are an existing software user you will need enable it for MVD: this is a separate process within the software.
  • If you are using spreadsheets you will need to acquire bridging software to allow you to submit your return from your spreadsheet.
  • Once your clients are authorised you can add them to your ASA.
  • You do not need to add clients to your ASA if you are using their software with them to file their returns. 

ASA problems

How to access my ASA?

  • Type 'Login to Agent Services Account' in your search engine and follow HMRC links.
  • DO NOT search for 'login HMRC' as it takes you to the wrong place. Bizarrely,  you can login to HMRC using your new ASA login details but this takes you to what looks just like your old Agent Services online account.

You set up the account and it tells you that you already have one.

  • Solution: firstly, see if anyone else has set one up/did you set one up to register for trusts and whether you have the login details? If not, phone the HMRC helpline and you need to get the old ASA deleted. Wait three to four days and then go and try and set up a new ASA.

Lost user-id

  • Solution: check online service availability for any issues, follow instructions, failing that phone HMRC.

Lost password

  • Solution: check online service availability for any issues, follow instructions, failing that phone HMRC.

Can't authorise client

Error messages (after entering VAT number and date of registration).

  • This client has not signed up to report their VAT returns through software.
  • They cannot authorise you for this service until they have signed up.

 Solution: see step 7 above, you have to ensure clients are signed up to MVD, have the correct software, have enabled their software.

When can't I sign up?

  • If you pay your VAT by Direct Debit you will not be able to sign up in the 15 working days leading up to your submission date and the five working days immediately after it.

I've logged into new ASA and there is nothing there

  • There is nothing there to see.

I've logged into my new ASA and it looks just like my existing Agent services online account except that there are no services added, what now?

  • This is a common complaint. We have found the solution! See How to access my ASA? above.

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