HMRC have issued the Agent Update for October/November 2019. We have summarised the key content for you with links to our detailed guidance on the topics covered.

Some of the items included in this update were also included in the Agent update: Brexit Special and Employer Bulletin October 2019. Rather than duplicate these we have linked to those updates accordingly and where appropriate.

Grants for customs agents and intermediaries to recruit staff to manage customs declarations

HMRC has announced that it will provide a further £10 million in grants for customs agents and intermediaries to build capacity in managing customs declarations ahead of and following Brexit.

  • This is in addition to the £16m of funding announced in September 2019.
  • The additional grants are available to support costs of hiring staff, including £3,000 for recruitment costs and up to £10,000 for salary costs, in order to help build business capacity.
  • Applications will close once all the funding has been allocated or by 31 January 2020 at the latest.

See Agent update: Brexit Special

Changes for UK employees and self-employed working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland

Employers and employees: See Employer Bulletin October 2019 and Agent Update: Brexit Special.

Self-employed workers will need to do the following to prepare:

  • If they are currently working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland and have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, they will continue to pay UK NIC for the period shown on the form.
  • If the end-date on the form goes beyond the day the UK leaves the EU, they will need to contact the relevant EU/EEA or Swiss authority to confirm whether or not they need to start paying social security contributions in that country from that date
  • A replacement for the A1/E101 form will be issued for new applications after Brexit. You can still use the same form on GOV.UK to make an application after Brexit.
  • The Government is working to protect UK nationals by seeking reciprocal arrangements with the EU or Member States to maintain existing social security coordination until 31 December 2020. Individuals in scope will only pay social security contributions in one country at a time.

Ultra Low Emission Vehicles and World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure company car tax changes

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

Changes to the Short-Term Business Visitors (STBVs) special arrangement under Regulation 141

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

Employment Allowance reform – eligibility rules for the Employment Allowance are changing

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

PAYE Settlement Agreements and Welsh rates of Income tax. Are your clients operating the right tax code for their employees?

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

Termination payments: PENP for employees paid by equal monthly instalments

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

VAT reverse charge for building and construction delayed for 12 months

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

Tax Relief on Research and Development Projects

From 1 October 2019

  • HMRC are moving the payment processing element of tax relief on R&D to the Business Tax & Customs area.
  • Wealthy and Mid-Sized Business Teams will retain responsibility for compliance and technical aspects of any R&D relief claim.
  • Telephone calls will be handled by the Corporation Tax Helpline on 0300 200 3410. Technical queries only will be referred to the WMBC Team. The R&D technical helpline number is 03000 123 3440 or R&D technical queries can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • The process for submitting claims via completion of a CT600 will remain unchanged.

See R&D and Patent box

Disguised remuneration - Independent review of the loan charge

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

Changes to Business Risk Reviews for Large Business customers from 1 October 2019

HMRC has revised the system for large businesses which rates companies based on their behaviour and approach to paying tax.

From 1 October 2019 under the new ‘Business Risk Review+’ (BRR+) process companies will be put into low, moderate, moderate-high and high-risk categories, compared to the current approach which splits companies up into ‘low risk’ or ‘non-low risk’.

See Large business compliance risk review: consultation response

Student Loan Student and Postgraduate Loan Stop Prompts

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

Off-payroll working rules from April 2020

The responsibility for applying the off-payroll working rules is changing from April 2020. This change makes medium and large organisations, and agencies, responsible for ensuring their contractors pay the right tax and NICs.

HMRC have set up dedicated teams to provide education and guidance to around 60,000 businesses, public bodies and charities in scope of the reforms. This includes one-to-one support for around 2,000 of the UK’s biggest employers and direct communications to around 15,000 medium-sized businesses.

Online guidance was published on 22 August 2019 and is available as follows:

HMRC will launch an enhanced version of the CEST tool before the end of the year. See HMRC issue briefing: Reform of off-payroll working rules.

See Off-payroll working: PSCs & Private Sector Engagers

Tax-Free Childcare

Are your clients paying too much for childcare?

  • Parents can save up to £2,000 per child per year on regulated childcare costs, such as childminders, nannies, before and after school clubs and holiday clubs.
  • For example, if your client’s childcare costs are £750 per month, they’d only need to pay £600 because the government will add a £150 ‘top-up’ into their childcare account.

See Tax-Free childcare.

Residence updates to the Residence, Domicile and Remittance Manual (RDRM)

The HMRC booklet RDR3 has been withdrawn and the information contained therein incorporated into the existing RDRM. A simplified page on GOV.UK has links to the new manual pages.

See SRT: Statutory Residence Test

National Insurance contributions and the link to State Pension and benefits

  • If your client does not pay NICs, get NI credits, or Class 2 payments have been refunded because they were not registered properly, they may have gaps in their NI record and not have enough qualifying years to get the new State Pension (nSP).
  • HMRC encourages customers to use their Personal Tax Account to check their state pension.
  • If your self-employed client is not paying Class 2 NICs you may need to complete and submit form CWF1 to register them for paying NICs.

Making payments to HMRC easier

Your clients may already be aware of the green ‘pay now’ button on GOV.UK offering them the option to pay their liabilities using HMRCs preferred payment methods of Direct Debit, Bank Transfer (Faster Payments, Bacs, CHAPS), debit or corporate credit card.

By 3 September 2019 this facility was extended to the remaining qualifying how to pay guides including Class 2 and 3 NICs and various other indirect taxes and duties. See Paying HMRC GOV.UK for more details

Tax Disputes

If your client is in dispute with HMRC over an appealable tax decision HMRC wish to remind you about their Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service whereby they hope to resolve your tax dispute within 120 days.

For more information see:


The National Insurance Contribution (Termination Award and Sporting Testimonial) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 24 July 2019. This Act created a new Class 1A charge on termination awards over £30,000 and payments from sporting testimonials above £100,000.

HMRC have published draft regulations and would welcome the views of advisors and employers.

See Termination, redundancy and leaving payments (from 6 April 2018)

Contact & HMRC service

  • 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.
  • Complain to HMRC: to make a complaint against HMRC on behalf of your client you must be appointed as their tax advisor.
  • 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.
  • Where’s my reply? Find out when you can expect to get a reply from HMRC to a query or request you have made.
  • You can check the latest updates to HMRC manuals or subscribe to automatic notification of change.
  • Future online downtime. HMRC provide information about planned downtime which will affect the availability of online services.
  • Staying safe online. HMRC continuously monitors systems and customer records to guard against fraudulent activity, providing regular updates on scams they are aware of.
  • Phishing emails and bogus contact: A new type of phishing scam regarding ‘Tax Returns’, which is being circulated in high volumes, has been added.
  • Online training material and useful resources for tax agents and advisers: HMRC videos on YouTube, online learning modules and live and pre-recorded webinars are available for tax agents and advisers providing you with free help, learning and support on topical subjects.

Other content

Other recent publications

Pensions regulator: your automatic enrolment duties as an employer

See Employer Bulletin October 2019

Issues Overview Group (IOG)

The IOG is a joint forum of HMRC and professional bodies (PBs) which progresses key operational issues or problems raised on the online Agent Forum, or identified by HMRC or PBs.

Recent issues raised on the Agent Forum include:

  1. SA284 – Payments on Account
  2. MTDVAT115 – Overseas businesses
  3. SA297 – Non-resident dividend tax credit
  4. SA284 – Processing of SA online return
  5. MTDVAT116 – Viewing number of GGW clients linked to ASA.

Agents are invited to contact their professional body if they are seeking prioritisation of other issues on the online Agent Forum. The IOG and Professional Bodies continue to engage with HMRC on Class 2 NICs.

External link:

Agent update 74