HMRC have issued their Agent Update for April 2021. We have summarised the key content for you with links to our detailed guidance on the topics covered.
Some of the following items have been duplicated in this month's Employer Bulletin. Rather than reproduce these, we have linked to those updates where appropriate. See: Employer Bulletin: April 2021:
2019-20 Tax Returns Update
Voluntary Class 2 National Insurance for 2019-20 tax returns filed after 31 January 2021
Summary: impacted taxpayers
A taxpayer is impacted and should read this guidance if they have:
- Paid voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions for 2019-20.
- Filed their 2019-20 return after 31 January 2021.
- Received the customer service message (see below).
- This document provides further guidance on the COVID-19 measure to not charge late filing penalties for late Self Assessment returns filed by 28 February 2021. Information has already been published on GOV.UK, including:
- Impacts for customers who pay (or wish to pay) voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions were not included in the original guidance.
- This document explains the issues for impacted customers and what HMRC is doing to resolve these.
- It’s intended to be used to formulate responses to external queries regarding voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions, for those who filed after 31 January, but by 28 February 2021.
- On 25 January 2021, HMRC responded to agent representation and clear internal evidence that some customers would not be able to file their returns by 31 January 2021, by deciding not to charge late filing penalties for late returns submitted by 28 February 2021.
- Taxpayers whose net profits are below the 2019-20 Small Profits Threshold (£6,365) are not liable to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions but can pay voluntarily to protect their contributory benefit entitlement, including State Pension.
- HMRC’s processing rules don’t allow for voluntary Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) to be included in returns filed after 31 January 2021 and this has not changed as part of the late filing penalty measure.
- Some customers who did not file on time will have already paid voluntary Class 2 National Insurance Contributions or will pay when they file their return.
- Returns received after 31 January 2021 will automatically be amended to remove the voluntary Class 2 amount meaning that HMRC systems will not recognise any Class 2 National Insurance Contributions as being due.
- Payments the taxpayer made for voluntary Class 2 National Insurance Contributions will be either be:
- Allocated to other Self Assessment liabilities (including earlier outstanding amounts).
- Held in Self Assessment as a credit.
- Put towards their Payment On Account 1 for 2020-21.
- Refunded to the taxpayer.
- There’s no issue if taxpayer profits reach the 2019 -20 Small Profits Threshold (£6,365 or above).
- The taxpayer is liable to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions.
- The return will reflect this and allocate payments made to the overall liabilities, including the Class 2 National Insurance Contributions due.
If the taxpayer has paid voluntary Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (either before or after 31 January 2021) and files their return after 31 January 2021
- When the return is received, the voluntary Class 2 amount is automatically removed from the calculation and the following customer service message sent:
- ‘I have corrected your Self Assessment because you did not pay the Class 2 National Insurance shown on your tax return by 31 January. It is now too late to pay voluntary Class 2 National Insurance through your tax return. You can find out how to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions.’
- If the customer has not already made the payment and follows the advice in the message, they can make the payment directly to HMRC and it will be recorded as voluntary Class 2 National Insurance Contributions.
- If the customer makes the payment before or at the same time as filing the return, they’ll still get the same customer service message, but because they’re filing after 31 January 2021, the message will incorrectly reflect the position by stating they did not pay.
- HMRC have asked these customers to contact them so they can put things right.
HMRC accepting payments of voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions through Self Assessment without a return
- HMRC still expect customers to pay on time or request a Time to Pay Arrangement once the return has been filed.
- The payment due date for Self Assessment liabilities (including Class 2 National Insurance) is 31 January 2021, and this has not changed.
- Payments of Class 2 National Insurance contributions made after that date are late and can adversely impact claims to contributory benefits.
- When a payment is received before the return, HMRC has no way of knowing what it’s in relation to, until the return is submitted.
HMRC did not tell customers and agents to do something different to pay voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions when deferring the return
- HMRC has delivered many measures to help individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which have been at a fast pace.
- HMRC made the decision not to charge late filing penalties on returns filed by 28 February 2021 as soon as it had enough evidence to support the decision.
- Because of the tight timescales, HMRC could not put alternative methods of collecting voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions in place.
- Approximately one million taxpayers did not file their return by 31 January 2021.
- 71% of these are represented by an agent.
- HMRC do not know how many of these taxpayers have profits below the Small Profits Threshold and have paid or will pay voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions.
How HMRC is telling customers about this
- HMRC will publish a message on the Agent Forum and is exploring options to identify and make direct contact with affected customers.
- The following text is a draft of the proposed message for Agents:
- ‘HMRC is aware that some customers may have paid voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) even though they have deferred filing their 2019-20 SA return until after 31 January 2021. Unfortunately, HMRC processing rules don’t allow for voluntary Class 2 NICs to be included in the SA calculation for returns filed after 31 January, so any Class 2 NICs payment will not be linked to the deferred return. If your client has paid voluntary Class 2 NICs via SA but filed their return after 31 January 2021, they will receive a customer service message when they file their 2019-20 return telling them it’s too late to pay voluntarily, and they could receive a refund of the voluntary Class 2 NICs payment. If this situation arises please contact HMRC on the National Insurance Helpline 0300 200 3500.’
How to know a taxpayer is impacted
- A taxpayer is impacted if they’ve:
- Paid voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions.
- Filed their return after 31 January 2021.
- Received the customer service message.
- The customer service message will read: ‘I have corrected your Self Assessment because you did not pay the Class 2 National Insurance shown on your tax return by 31 January. It is now too late to pay voluntary Class 2 National Insurance through your tax return. You can find out how to pay this at GOV.UK’.
- If the customer does not read the customer service message, they may not know they are impacted until they:
- Receive a refund of the voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions they’ve paid.
- Access their personal tax account and no Class 2 National Insurance contributions are shown for 2019-20.
- Claim a contributory benefit, such as Employment Support Allowance or State Pension.
- View their Self Assessment statement and there’s a balance of account amount showing as a credit.
When a taxpayer should contact HMRC
- Customers should contact HMRC as soon as they’re aware they have been impacted.
- Guidance is available for HMRC staff for when customers make contact.
How HMRC will put this right
- If a taxpayer has received a refund, HMRC will give details of an alternative way to pay their Class 2 National Insurance Contributions.
- If a taxpayer has not received a refund, HMRC will arrange for the money paid to be recorded correctly as voluntary Class 2 National Insurance Contributions.
- HMRC will decide whether payments received after 31 January 2021 should be treated as paid on time, depending on the individual circumstances.
If customers take no action
- If customers take no action, they may have gaps in their National Insurance record.
- The effect of gaps varies from customer to customer and may not be felt until they come to claim State Pension.
- HMRC encourage all taxpayers to use their personal tax account and the 'Check your State Pension service' to understand if there are gaps in their National Insurance record.
- Find more information on GOV.UK.
- Customers can contact HMRC if they think their record is wrong.
Updates & reminders
Coronavirus (COVID-19): updated guidance
- Find updated guidance for employers, businesses and employees and more information on financial support for business.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Find more information on how to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and key deadlines that you and your clients must be aware of.
Change to amending PAYE Settlement Agreements (PSA) for COVID-19 items
£20 million for small and medium-sized enterprises is open for applications
Top Slicing Relief fully automated approach on life insurance policy gains
- The Top Slicing Relief fully automated approach on life insurance policy gains is active from 6 April 2021.
- HMRC is working to make sure all affected customers from 2018-19 onwards receive all the relief they’re entitled to.
Recalculation of reduced personal allowances
- The new measure acts to change how HMRC treat the personal allowance in the calculation of Top Slicing Relief.
- HMRC not changing how they calculate any other relief, allowance or rate, such as the savings nil rates.
- The measure provides clarification on beneficial ordering of the personal allowance within the Top Slicing Relief calculation.
- It confirms that allowances must be set, as far as possible, against other income in preference to the gain.
- This makes sure that personal allowance cannot be used twice in the tax year, which would lead to too much relief being claimed.
- This is not a change of policy.
- The relief calculation has always applied this method, otherwise, the calculation would produce excessive relief, or would allow relief to taxpayers who are not entitled to it.
The impacts on each year
- Of the 45,000 taxpayers who incur gains, HMRC estimate that 2,000 will benefit from these changes.
Outcomes of 2018-19 auto-recovery or manual re-work
- The 2018-19 automated process was carried out on 28 August 2020 and included customer returns for 2018-19.
- The returns were received by HMRC up to nine months prior to the run date.
- For example, returns filed online on 28 November 2019 and later.
- 2018-19 returns submitted under an exclusion are being manually reviewed and include customer returns for 2018-19.
- These returns were received by HMRC up to nine months prior (returns received on 28 November 2019 and later). If changes to the calculation of Top Slicing Relief is required, these returns are being amended.
- For affected returns submitted prior to 28 November 2019, an amended return must have been submitted by 31 January 2021.
- Affected customers who filed before 28 November 2019 and have not submitted an amended 2018-19 return, can make a claim for overpayment relief.
- Find more information on overpayment relief claims.
2019 to 2020 e-Filing exclusion list
- An exclusion has been added to the Self Assessment Individual Exclusions for online filing for 2019 to 2020.
- Affected taxpayers are required to complete paper returns to get the correct calculation.
- No taxpayer will receive less relief than was calculated by HMRC under the previous legislation.
- From 6 April 2021, the changes have been incorporated into the Self Assessment calculator. Taxpayers will not need to provide any extra information and the correct amount of relief will be calculated as part of the online tax return.
- For periods before 2018-19, returns should be filed on the basis of the legislation that applied at the time those returns were required to be made.
Changes to Off-Payroll Working (IR35) rules
Off-Payroll Working (IR35) changes to Real-Time Information (RTI) payroll and Self Assessment
Extensions to Capital Allowances: first-year allowances, business cars and lease rental restrictions
Corporation Tax Self Assessment (CTSA)
- From 6 April 2021, all companies claiming Research and Development Payable Tax Credit and Research and Development Expenditure Credit are required to submit a supplementary form, the CT600L, with the company tax return CT600, which contained the claim(s).
- Companies that are claiming Research and Development Expenditure Credit and have it brought forward from earlier accounting periods, may be affected by a service issue.
- Companies with Research and Development Expenditure Credit carried forward should check the Corporation Tax service issues page to see if they’re affected and what to do if they are.
Student loans update
- Official Rate of Interest for the 2021 to 2022 tax year
- Student and postgraduate loans thresholds and rates from 6 April 2021
- Off-Payroll Working
- Scottish Student Loans
- Starter Checklist: student and postgraduate loan
- Student and postgraduate loan Generic Notification Service (GNS) messages
- Student and postgraduate loan start notice
Income Tax budget announcements
- The UK, Scottish and Welsh Parliaments have now approved Income Tax rates and thresholds.
- No later recoding exercise is necessary.
VAT reverse charge on construction and building services
Changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
VAT deferral new payment scheme
- The VAT deferral new payment scheme is open for all businesses that:
- Deferred VAT due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.
- Still have payments to make.
- Were unable to pay in full by 31 March 2021.
- This includes those on Payment on Account and Annual Accounting schemes.
- Your clients can apply now to spread these payments over a number of months: the later businesses join the fewer instalments are available to them.
- Businesses should join by 21 April 2021 to benefit from 10 interest-free instalments.
- Businesses can join the scheme quickly and simply online, without the need to call HMRC.
- Businesses need to apply by or before 21 June 2021 if they want to join the scheme online.
- Find more information about the VAT deferral new payment scheme including the things your clients need to do before joining.
Cancellation of VAT Direct Debit when moving to new IT system
- This change affects VAT businesses that are not signed up to Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT (and a small number of businesses who already are).
- HMRC will decommission the VAT mainframe in 2022. To do this they will move all the remaining customer accounts from the mainframe to a new IT system.
- HMRC intend to start moving these accounts in July 2021 and hope to finish the work by September 2021.
- HMRC will cancel customer direct debits before moving them to the new system and will notify the affected customers about this in a letter, which will direct them to log in to their Business Tax Account (after they’ve been moved to the new system) to re-setup their direct debit and provide a contact email address.
- If their direct debit is not reinstated, taxpayers will be required to pay their VAT through a different method.
- UK Banking Regulations require HMRC to inform taxpayers paying by direct debit of the amount and date their direct debit will be taken.
- Due to the short space of time available between submitting and paying for VAT, HMRC will use email addresses to notify customers of this information.
- Unfortunately, HMRC cannot advise agents exactly when their clients’ accounts will be migrated to the new IT platform.
- When submitting returns on behalf of their clients, agents will sign into the ‘old’ agent portal as normal.
- If the obligation to file their VAT return is there, the return can be submitted.
- If the obligation is not there, the client’s VAT record has been migrated.
- The agent should log in to their Agent Services Account (ASA) and submit the VAT return using the non-MTD filing service that is available from within the ASA.
- See HMRC's last update on the transformation of VAT services in Agent Update 82.
Rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax for non-UK Residents
- From 1 April 2021, different rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will apply to purchasers of residential property in England and Northern Ireland who are non-UK resident.
- A 2% surcharge on top of existing SDLT residential rates will apply to non-UK resident purchasers, be they individuals, trusts, partnerships or companies (including certain UK resident companies controlled by non-UK resident persons).
- Specific SDLT residency tests will apply in determining whether a purchaser is a non-UK resident.
- The surcharge will apply to purchases of freehold and leasehold residential property, including to the rental element of leasehold property.
- Individual purchasers may be able to claim a refund of the surcharge if they meet residency requirements, within a 12-month period after the effective date of transaction.
- Crown employees or their spouse or civil partners may be able to claim an up-front relief from the surcharge.
- Find guidance on the rates of SDLT for non-UK residents and the SDLT residency tests.
- The online SDLT calculator has been updated and can now be used for calculating the SDLT due on the purchase of a residential property by a non-UK resident on or after 1 April 2021.
Extended filing dates for internationally mobile workers
‘Derivative contracts’ held by non-resident company landlords with a UK property business
Finance Act 2019, Schedule 5, changes how non-resident company landlords with a UK property business are taxed on their profits
- From 6 April 2020, profits of such a business that were previously charged to Income Tax will now be taxed under the Corporation Tax regime.
- HMRC recognises this will be a significant change for some businesses.
- In addition to the general guidance that’s already published, HMRC have also made a supplement document.
- This will provide non-resident company landlords who are party to a derivative contract for the purpose of their UK property business, a brief introduction to both the general Corporation Tax treatment of derivative contracts, and also the transitional provisions contained in Finance Act 2019, Schedule 5, in the form of several working examples.
Trust Registration Service
- The Trust Registration Service (TRS) is being modified to enable the registration of non-taxpaying trusts.
- HMRC are now able to provide more detail on the timescales and registration deadlines. HMRC:
- Expect the TRS service to be open for non-taxpaying trust registrations by Autumn 2021, rather than Spring 2021.
- Appreciate the inconvenience caused by this delay to their IT systems, given the original legislative deadline of March 2022.
- Will be extending the deadline, to provide trustees and agents approximately 12 months in which to register, from the date that the service is available.
- Further updates and clarification on the final deadline will be confirmed in due course.
- HMRC are currently in the development phase of extending TRS to include functionality to register non-tax paying trusts.
- To help HMRC in developing this aspect of the service, they are looking to speak to people who have set up a trust or are a trustee for a trust that is non-taxable.
- HMRC would also like to hear from you if you’re an agent who will be registering a trust that is non-taxable, on behalf of a client.
- If you’re interested in participating in user research, now or in the future, email
- Find more information about the extension of TRS to non-taxpaying trusts This page includes an overview which gives:
- Details of the non-taxpaying trusts that are required to register.
- Details of the non-taxpaying trusts that are not required to register.
- Information that will be needed to complete the registration.
- These pages will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.
See UK Trusts
Corporate Interest Restriction legislation
- The Corporate Interest Restriction (CIR) rules apply from 1 April 2017.
- The rules restrict a group’s deductions for interest expense and other financing costs to an amount that is commensurate with its activities taxed in the UK, taking account of how much the group borrows from third parties.
- In the Budget on 3 March 2021, it was announced that two amendments to the CIR rules are being made to ensure the regime works as intended. These rules are:
- To clarify the way special provisions (at s.452, TIOPA 2010) apply in the context of a UK Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) group.
- To ensure that no penalties arise for the late filing of an Interest Restriction Return if there is a reasonable excuse for the failure.
- Guidance on how CIR applies to REITs can be found at CFM97700.
- Guidance on late filing penalties for Interest Restriction Returns can be found at CFM99000.
- Employer use of National Insurance Contribution, category 'M'.
- Help your clients understand their Child Benefit entitlements.
- Earlier Year Update (EYU).
- Correcting seasonal worker payroll using Basic PAYE Tools.
- Registration for payrolling benefits and expenses.
- Informal payrolling.
Making Tax Digital: Digital links
- A digital link is an electronic or digital transfer, or exchange of data, between software programs, products of applications.
- Businesses will be required to have digital links between software programs on their first VAT return starting on or after 1 April 2021.
- HMRC accept that the following are digital links:
- Emailing a spreadsheet containing digital records so the information can be imported into another software product.
- Linked cells in spreadsheets.
- Transferring a set of digital records onto a portable device (such as a pen drive, memory stick, flash drive) and physically giving this to someone else who then imports that data into their software.
- XML, CSV import and export, and download and upload of files.
- An automated data transfer.
- An API transfer.
- VAT Notice 700/22 contains more information on digital links and exemptions.
- HMRC will be running a series of webinars to help customers with digital links.
- Details of dates and how to sign up will shortly be available on GOV.UK.
HMRC Agent Services
Awareness of support for mid-sized business customers
- HMRC is committed to helping businesses get the help and support they need with regards to tax matters.
- HMRC want to make sure their mid-sized businesses are aware of the help available to them, and how they can contact HMRC.
- Your clients may have received a communication from HMRC, explaining the support available.
- HMRC define a mid-sized business as a business with either:
- A UK turnover of over £10 million.
- 20 employees or more.
- HMRC recognise that mid-sized businesses are a diverse population, ranging from complex groups of companies to relatively simple organisations. Through better-tailored services, HMRC can improve how we support their needs.
- Find online guidance and support, including webinars and videos, community forums and iForms.
- If you or your client need further support, the Mid-sized Business Customer Engagement team will help deal with your query or direct you to someone who can.
Calculating the minimum wage
HMRC’s principles of support for customers who need extra help
National Insurance holiday for employers of veterans
Corporate Interest Restriction: call for testers
- HMRC are looking for people to test the Corporate Interest Restriction Service’s new user interface. They particularly want to talk to you if you either:
- Only submit a small number of Interest Restriction Returns annually.
- Have had issues with submitting Interest Restriction Returns in the past.
- HMRC are planning to start testing on the Application Programming Interface in May or June 2021. If you’d like to help test the prototype, sign up to User Research.
- Software developers have now been provided with a roadmap to begin updating their products.
- Once the updated service is available, HMRC intend to make electronic filing of the Interest Restriction Return mandatory.
- At the moment, HMRC cannot say when the updated service will be available.
- Find out more about submitting a Corporate Interest Restriction return or Restriction on Corporation Tax relief for interest deductions.
Plastic Packaging Tax: call for research participants
- The Plastic Packaging Tax team is looking to meet with tax agents who assist clients with the Plastic Packaging Tax.
- HMRC's understanding is that some clients may use tax agents to support them in advance of (or after) the tax going live.
- HMRC's research is actively taking place and their next round will be in April 2021.
- HMRC will be running rounds of research with participants through to April 2022 and would be grateful for engagement with tax agent professionals.
Senior leaders talk about the Charter
Helping taxpayers get offshore tax right: survey and feedback
- The government’s recent tax policies and consultations update included the discussion document Helping Taxpayers Get Offshore Tax Right.
- HMRC are looking at the ways in which they can better support taxpayers to declare and pay the right offshore tax. Getting offshore tax right will make sure taxpayers know if their affairs are up to date and will reduce the need for HMRC to intervene to make corrections.
- HMRC welcome views on how they could:
- Use data in different ways to help taxpayers get their tax right.
- Better support for taxpayers with their offshore tax obligations.
- Work with agents and intermediaries to help promote offshore tax compliance among taxpayers.
- HMRC are going to publish a survey to gather information on:
- How easy it is for taxpayers to find information about offshore tax.
- Where taxpayers are making mistakes with their UK tax obligations from offshore assets and income.
- HMRC are encouraging early engagement in the policy development process to help gather evidence and test their initial thinking. Share your ideas by emailing
- There are several ways to pay HMRC:
- Direct Debit.
- Faster Payment.
- Personal debit card.
- Corporate credit and debit card.
- Payments made by corporate credit card incur a surcharge which goes direct to merchant acquirers, card schemes and card providers.
- This will also apply to corporate debit cards from 1 November 2020. Taxpayers may want to consider another payment method if they do not wish to incur this surcharge.
Government support for businesses
- The government has recently launched a new Business Support campaign.
- This brings a range of business advice and support into one place, from help with finance and business planning, to export advice.
- For more information, visit www.businesssupport.gov.uk.
Consultations: professional indemnity insurance and defining tax advice consultation
- The government has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce a requirement for tax advisers to hold professional indemnity insurance (PII). HMRC are inviting you to share your views.
- This consultation asks questions about:
- The market for PII.
- If it should be mandatory for tax advisers to hold PII.
- Enforcement options.
- The potential impacts.
- A definition of tax advice.
- Read details of the consultation
- Email your views to
- The consultation closes on Tuesday 15 June.
Tax Agent Toolkits
The complete catalogue of HMRC toolkits has been updated to assist with the completion of:
- 2019-20 Company Tax Returns.
- 2019-20 Self Assessment Tax Returns including Capital Gains Tax toolkits.
- 2019-20 National Insurance Contributions and Statutory Payments, employers’ end of year forms and 2020-21 recordkeeping.
- 2019-20 Property Rental Income.
- 2020 VAT toolkits.
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.
- You can check the latest updates to HMRC manuals or subscribe to an 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 recent publications
Agent Forum & Engagement
NCSC launch a new cyber-security newsletter for small organisations
Agent Forum update
- The Agent Forum is a platform where agents raise potential widespread issues and ask questions about HMRC’s systems and processes, which may have significant impacts to the agent community.
- Agents can highlight issues they’re experiencing and share this with members on the forum.
- The forum can also be used to communicate important changes within HMRC legislation or processes and is a quick and effective way to get messages out.
- The Agent Forum Guidance and Information board has been created to improve the landing and forum pages, to make them easier to navigate and make sure important articles are highlighted.
- The forum has seen an increase in membership in 2020 and 2021, but particularly since the issue of the Agent Journey email in November 2020 from the agent community. The Agent Forum is invaluable to HMRC in identifying and resolving early-stage issues being experienced by agents.
- HMRC work closely with agent professional bodies through HMRC forums (such as Issues Overview Group and the Agent Support Group) where it prioritises and identify issues and discuss them with Subject Matter Experts to assess the impact and seek resolution.
- Recent issues trending on the forum include:
- HMRC post, and problems with the envelope stuffing machine.
- Provision of Self Employed Income Support Scheme information to agents.
- The forum has no issues under enquiry, where information has been requested from the agent community to assist with an ongoing investigation.
- Recent successful results on the Agent Forum include:
- CGT 30-day report: taxpayer non-tax resident anywhere.
- HMRC’s PDF contradiction and related problems.
- Deceased cases: resurrect the R27.
- Unexpected C79 has arrived.
Issues Overview Group update
- The latest meeting of the Issues Overview Group focussed on suggestions put forward by the professional bodies to improve the operation of the Agent Forum and the progression of issues. These included:
- Improvements required in informing users of service issues: HMRC are working closely with GOV.UK and IT communications to improve information flows.
- HMRC to be more transparent in responding to recurring issues: professional bodies suggested that if there’s not a solution or workaround to an issue, HMRC should clearly outline this (HMRC should also strive to be clearer on future plans to address the long-standing issue).
- Posting on the Agent Online forum: agents are requested to give only facts in evidence of a potential issue, rather than extended comments (this guidance will be reiterated in Agent Update and in the Agent Forum Good Practice Guide, placed in a prominent position on the forum).
- Clarity on the escalation process: the escalation process will be updated and included in the Agent Forum Good Practice Guide (where issues are unresolved on the Agent Forum, the Professional Bodies will identify priorities for escalation to the Issues Overview Group).
Agent-dedicated line (ADL)
- On 12 March 2021, HMRC held a successful meeting with representatives of the Representative Body Steering Group. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the:
- ADL service background.
- Need to rebrand to make sure the needs of agents and HMRC are met.
- Need to de-prioritise the service because of COVID-19.
- Several actions were agreed and HMRC gave a commitment to engage with the Representative Body Steering Group as the work progresses. A further update will be provided in six weeks.
- An overview of user research was delivered to professional bodies in February 2021 to help them understand how HMRC uses the data to meet customer needs. The professional bodies suggested improvements and continue to work with HMRC to strengthen work in this area.
- HMRC are seeking to recruit agents to participate in testing services.