HMRC have issued their Agent Update for February / March 2017: we have summarised the key content for you with links to our detailed guidance on the topics covered.

HMRC topical issue reminders

  • Agents and clients can now register for the new ATED digital service ahead of the April 2017 filing period.
  • Non-resident CGT (NRCGT) returns:
    • A NRCGT return doesn’t have to be filed where the disposal is covered by the CGT ‘no gain no loss’ provisions, e.g. on a transfer between spouses.
    • HMRC are seeing many cases where it is claimed this filing exemption applies because the computation results in no gain or loss for other reasons (e.g use of market values or allowable deductions).  This is not correct and returns still need to be filed in these circumstances.
    • See Non-resident CGT: UK residential property
  • HMRC are reviewing and updating their penalty collection systems to include:
  • From April 2017 HMRC will no longer accept any telephone calls to verify subcontractors under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).
  • Last year Companies House rejected around 88,000 out of the 2.7 million sets of accounts it received.  The top four reasons for rejection were:
    • Signature and name of the person signing the accounts not appearing at the foot of the balance sheet.
    • The company name and number not precisely matching that on the public record.
    • Small companies and micro-entities not including required exemption statements on the balance sheet.
    • Using an incorrect accounting reference date.
  • Pensions:
    • The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published new information on auto enrolment for business advisers.
    • A reminder that clients ignoring their auto enrolment duties will face enforcement action.
  • The Spring Budget will be on 8 March, and the Finance Bill published on 20 March.
  • Tax free childcare launches in early 2017:childcare providers need to sign up now to be able to receive payments under the new scheme.
  • Amendments to VAT guides are highlighted, including:
    • VAT Notice 733: Flat Rate Scheme for small businesses.
    • VAT Notice 702: Imports
    • VAT notice 701/58: Charity advertising and goods connected with collecting donations.

HMRC PAYE and payroll reminders

  • From May 2017 HMRC will use real time information to make automatic adjustments to PAYE tax codes as they happen, rather than waiting until the end of the tax year.
  • National Minimum Wage (NMW)/ National Living Wage (NLW) rates increase from 1 April.
  • From 6 April 2017 employers with a pay bill over £3m will have to report and pay the Apprenticeship Levy.  The Agent Services private beta will be enhanced to show information on this.
  • If clients are wanting to payroll benefits and expenses they need to register with HMRC’s online service before the start of the tax year.
  • HMRC are aware that some employers are not using the correct tax code for Scottish taxpayers: payroll software has to be up to date prior to 18 February 2017 to be able to apply the correct code.


The update lists the following open consultations which are due to close in February and March 2017:

The update also lists the large number of consultation responses which were published early in the year, including the initial responses on Making Tax Digital.

HMRC service reminders

  • HMRC working with Tax Agents Blog.  This provides another channel to communicate about consultations, news and updates, and the rollout of new digital services for agents.
  • HMRC twitter account Twitter@HMRCgovuk.
  • Agent Account Managers (AAMs). A UK wide team of AAMs will liaise with HMRC and agents regarding client issues when normal channels break down.
  • Complain to HMRC.  To make a complaint against HMRC on behalf of your client you must be appointed as their tax advisor.
  • Where’s my reply? This service provides an estimated date that HMRC will respond to queries.
  • Email alerts for employers. Agents should encourage employers to register for email alerts to be notified about coding changes and information published on Government Web pages.
  • Future online downtime.  HMRC provide information about planned downtime which will affect the availability of online services.
  • Staying safe online.  HMRC provides details and updates of scams that they are aware of together with information to help identify genuine and bogus contact.

Other content

In addition to the above, the update contains its usual mix of briefing notices and toolkits, and an update on Working Together

A link to the published Update can be found here or accessed via HMRC's website

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