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

HMRC topical issue reminders

  • From 2 May 2017 HMRC will no longer provide agents with information on their clients’ pay, tax and employment history over the phone:
    • Instead any requested information will be sent directly to the client. 
    • Clients can also check details in their personal tax account.
    • HMRC are working on a facility to enable agents to access this information online, this is due to go live later this year.
  • The next reporting deadline for employment intermediaries is 5 May 2017.  If you haven’t supplied any workers in the quarter you still need to file a nil return.
  • A reminder that clients can appeal online against a 2015-16 late filing penalty.
  • From April 2017 income tax relief for interest and other finance costs is restricted for landlords.
  • Taxpayers have until September 2018 to use the Worldwide Disclosure Facility to bring their offshore tax affairs up to date.  Failure to do so may lead to tougher penalties and civil or criminal investigation.
  • HMRC are using new measures introduced in April 2016 to tackle online VAT fraud:
    • Overseas sellers can be directed to appoint a UK based VAT representative or provide security.
    • Online marketplaces can be held jointly and severally liable for an overseas seller’s VAT debts.
  • If you have UK resident clients with offshore investments you may need to send them a notification letter by 31 August 2017.
  • Amendments to VAT guides are highlighted, including:
    • VAT Notice 733: Flat Rate Scheme for small businesses.
    • VAT Notice 700/1: should I be registered for VAT?
    • VAT Notice 700/11: cancelling your registration.
    • VAT Notice 700/45: how to correct VAT errors and make adjustments or claims.
    • VAT Notice 700/67: registration scheme for racehorse owners.
    • VAT Notice 701/29: betting, gaming and lotteries.
    • VAT Notice 718: the Margin scheme and global accounting.
    • VAT Notice 718/2: the auctioneers’ scheme.
    • VAT Notice 742A: opting to tax land and buildings.

HMRC PAYE and payroll reminders

  • From the end of 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.
  • On 6 April 2017 the plan 1 threshold for student loans increased to £17,775. The plan 2 threshold stayed at £21,000.
  • Where the new rules for off-payroll working in the public sector apply, fee payers are not required to report or deduct Student Loan Payments, so should ignore any prompts or notices received.
  • Taxpayers are reminded to tell HMRC straight away if they stop employing people:
    • This can be done via an FPS or EPS by entering the cessation date in the ‘date scheme ceased’ box.
  • From 6 April 2017 employers with a pay bill over £3m will have to report and pay the Apprenticeship Levy
  • A reminder that the minimum contribution levels for auto-enrolment are increasing from 6 April 2018 and 2019.


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

The update also lists various consultation responses which were published earlier this year, including on partnership taxation, tackling the hidden economy and SDLT filing and payment.

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

Do you like our content and want to know more? Sign up now * for Nichola's FREE SME tax news, tips and topical more

*There are no strings attached: you will be free to unsubscribe at any time and we don't pass on anyone's details to anyone else and as you can see we don't blur our content with annoying adverts.