HMRC have issued their Agent Update for October 2023. We have summarised the key content for you with links to our detailed guidance on the topics covered.
Alcohol Duty: check if you can take advantage of the new reliefs
From 1 August 2023, Alcohol Duty changed and there are reliefs that could be available:
- Small Producer Relief: a revised and extended version of the Small Brewers Relief, which applies to producers of all alcoholic products under 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
- Draught Relief: this reduces the tax due on draught alcoholic products under 8.5% ABV, packaged in containers of at least 20 litres and designed to connect to a qualifying dispense system.
- There are also transitional arrangements for producers and importers of some wine products.
- See HMRC guidance and the Small Producers Relief Calculator.
Loss carry back claims for Corporation Tax
HMRC has produced guidance to help keep repayment claim delays to a minimum.
- Include the most up-to-date bank details on the CT600.
- If including the claim on the CT600, tick Box 45 and supply a breakdown of the claim with corresponding computations showing how the loss is to be used.
- Do not submit an amended CT600 for the same accounting period if it does not contain new information.
- Do not submit an amended return for the period in which the losses are to be used (unless amending other aspects).
- Do not submit an original CT600 by post, the online service must be used.
Overlap Relief: preparing for the new tax year basis
- The new Online form for submitting requests for details about Overlap Relief was launched on 11 September 2023.
- Unless the taxpayer has a 31 March or 5 April year-end, they may need to know what Overlap Relief they are entitled to before they submit their 2023-24 Tax Return (for the Transitional Year).
- HMRC can provide this figure if the information has been submitted in previous Tax Returns.
- If the information is not available, it could be calculated using historical profit figures.
- In order to obtain the figures via the online form, specific information is required by HMRC.
Launch of tax agent toolkit for the assurance of remittances to be reported on tax returns
- HMRC launched a toolkit on 2 October 2023 to aid agents in ensuring that their clients are reporting all taxable remittances on their Self Assessment Tax Returns.
- The toolkit sets out HMRC’s expectations in relation to the issues that need to be considered and helps assess whether taxable remittances have occurred.
- This is a complex area and external support may be required if the agent does not have experience in this area.
Risks relating to remittance reporting:
- Agent not having all the relevant information.
- Incomplete record keeping, including not being able to identify the source of funds in bank accounts or used to buy assets.
- Interaction with anti-avoidance legislation, such as settlements, transfer of assets abroad and Capital Gains.
- Remittances by other relevant persons or through offshore structures.
- Relevant debts and collateral.
- Use of credit cards.
- Remittances of gifts by third parties.
Making a valid claim for Research and Development (R&D) tax relief
There are some rules that need to be adhered to in order to make a valid R&D claim:
- Claim Notification form: From 1 April 2023, a claim form may need to be submitted if this is the first claim or the first claim in three years.
- Additional Information Form (AIF): From 8 August 2023, all claims must be supported by an AIF, which must be submitted before the Corporation Tax return (CT600).
Correcting payroll mistakes: updated content
From April 2019, the way employers can correct payroll mistakes for earlier years has changed. See Employer Bulletin: October 2023 which also deals with errors in deducting student loan or postgraduate loan repayments
Correcting an employee’s National Insurance deductions: updated content
How to correct depends on when the mistake was made. See Employer Bulletin: October 2023
Statutory Residence Test (SRT): webinar
HMRC are hosting an educational webinar on the SRT in November 2023. Agents will be notified if they are subscribed to the help and support email service.
Making Tax Digital
Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment: the case for change
- MTD for ITSA brings benefits for the Self Assessment regime, such as helping taxpayers get their tax affairs right the first time, reducing the tax gap and supporting productivity and growth.
- It also has wider benefits, such that it aids technological advances and improvements for HMRC and its systems and provides a more joined-up view of a taxpayer's tax affairs.
- Further updates on the progress of MTD for ITSA will be given once HMRC has concluded its review of the needs of small businesses.
Update on the removal of functionality to copy across existing VAT clients to agent services accounts
- It was announced in the Agent Update for August, that the proposed removal of the copying across functionality for VAT would be rolled out in October 2023. This has not been possible due to technical complexities and further updates will be provided as soon as possible.
HMRC Agent Services
Important information for customers using ‘pay by bank’ to pay HMRC
- Feedback has indicated that a small minority of customers are unsure about using ‘pay by bank’ when paying HMRC because they notice their payment has gone through the HMRC Shipley bank account, when they are historically used to paying HMRC Cumbernauld.
- This is not a scam and these payments will be processed correctly.
Advance Valuation Ruling service now available to all
- The Advance Valuation Ruling service is now available to agents representing traders who cannot use a business tax account.
- The service provides traders with legal certainty on the valuation method of goods they are importing into the UK, for a period of three years. It is an optional service.
To use the service, traders need:
- A Government Gateway user ID.
- An EORI number.
Further information on the Advance Valuation Ruling service can be found on GOV.UK.
New YouTube videos for Self Assessment
- There are four new YouTube videos to help customers with registering and stopping Self Assessment.
- The links are:
Income Record Viewer: the must-have tool for agents
- The Income Record Viewer (IRV) allows agents to check their client’s pay, tax, employment history, pension and tax codes.
- To access it, you'll need authorisation from your clients. Your client only needs to authorise you once using their personal Government Gateway account.
- Get access here: Get access to the IRV and watch the YouTube video explaining client authorisation.
McCloud digital service launch
- The McCloud digital service (‘Calculate your public service pensions adjustment’) that enables members, affected by public sector pension reform, to claim compensation and make tax changes was launched as a beta service on 5 October 2023. Due to time constraints, some elements of the digital service are not yet available.
- Agents can use the digital service on behalf of their clients to calculate compensation and adjustments to filed tax returns that are needed, but they can’t currently submit a digital claim on behalf of a client.
- In the meantime, HMRC is providing a way for agents to submit the claim on behalf of their client either by email or post and will provide further details shortly.
Changes to the Agent Dedicated Line
- With effect from 2 October 2023, there have been changes to the Agent Dedicated Line (ADL):
- The 10-minute service level on the ADL is no longer in place: waiting times on the ADL may vary depending on how many agents are calling at one time and agents may wait longer than usual for their call to be answered.
- The ADL now features call waiting times in in-call messages.
- Agents with certain types of PAYE queries (like PAYE coding or PAYE repayment queries) will need to select the PAYE option (option 2) when calling the ADL. The call will be routed to an experienced PAYE adviser.
- The in-call selection process has been updated: agents should listen to the options available and select the one that best reflects their reason for calling, to ensure their call is handled in the right place.
- If agents have multiple queries on different subjects, HMRC advisors can redirect the call and connect them to the right ADL team who can deal with their query.
The Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations: share your views
- HMRC is currently reviewing the requirements for the registration and approval of warehousekeepers, and owners of goods and duty representatives storing excise goods warehoused in the UK. These requirements form part of The Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Good Regulations (WOWGR) 1999.
- HMRC would welcome your views on potential changes to these regulations to: gain a better understanding of whether businesses benefit from the provisions of WOWGR and identify any risks if WOWGR were reformed
If you would like to get involved, email
Tax agent toolkits
HMRC have many Tax agent toolkits available for you to download and use that address the most common errors seen in previous years.
Complain about HMRC: To make a complaint to HMRC on behalf of your client you must be appointed as their tax advisor.
Where’s My Reply? for tax agents: Find out when you can expect to get a reply from HMRC to a query or request you have made. There is also a dedicated service for tax agents to:
- Register you as an agent to use HMRC Online Services.
- Process an application for authority to act on behalf of a client.
Check the latest updates to HMRC manuals or subscribe to the automatic notification of changes.
Countdown Bulletin 53 is the latest bulletin in this collection.
Agent forum and engagement
Issues Overview Group & agent forum
- SA-22356: Marriage Allowance: The Agent Dedicated Line is able to confirm whether an enduring Marriage Allowance claim exists for a client. Alternatively, the existence of an enduring Marriage Allowance claim can be determined by checking the suffix of your client’s tax code (suffix ‘N’ indicates transfer to spouse in place and suffix ‘M’ indicates receipt from spouse in place).
- CT-38844: Delays in submitting the CT600 returns Agents have reported experiencing delays in submitting and receiving acknowledgements. A solution is being developed and is expected towards the end of the year.
- Working from home tax relief: Agents should check their clients' tax codes to see if they receive relief and confirm whether they continue to be eligible since the end of the COVID-19 easements.