Your HMRC Agent
Why Authorise an Agent for your Self Assessment
After my last Bookkeeping Q&A Workshops, the function of an Agent came up in a conversation.
It is one of those things, that until you request somebody to file your return on your behalf, or you find yourself in a sticky situation, you don't necessarily know about.
So what is an 'Agent'?
An Agent is a professional, who has requested an 'Agent Status' from HMRC, in order to act on behalf of their client, from their own login to HMRC.
If you have got your Government Gateway Login sorted, then you are able to log into your HMRC Account and fill out and file your own self assessment. Although the Government Gateway does have multiple purposes, not just Self Assessment Tax Return.
An Agent has one login to HMRC, (that is similar to your Government Gateway Login) where they can access multiple people's Self Assessment from one login.
One can be an agent for Self Assessment & NI, PAYE, VAT, etc. When one becomes an agent, they do get an agent ID Number.
So for example Wise-Bookkeeping has Aliz as an agent at the moment for Self Assessment & Class 2 & Class 4 NI. Which means that Aliz can file a Tax Return for Wise-Bookkeeping clients, without the clients needing to share their own Government Gateway login with Aliz. It means, that Aliz can only access their Self Assessment data, and nothing else that they may manage under Government Gateway Login.
OK, so what are the Advantages of an Agent?
Well, you know the HMRC phone line, the one that usually takes you an hour to get through to speak to someone? The one that is for the public? That one. See, HMRC has an 'Agent Dedicated Line' which gets answered a lot quicker. Handy isn't it? So for those sticky situations that you may find yourself in, This becomes a Very Handy feature to have!
How do I Authorise an Agent?
The process is really simple, and you find it also via our Sole Trader / Tax Return page. All an Agent like Aliz would need from you, in order to Trigger the authorisation letter from HMRC, via their Agent-Login, is your UTR [10 Digit Unique Taxpayer Reference, e.g: 12345 67891] and your Postcode (or the postcode that you have registered the UTR-to), if you have changed address since.
These 2 details then would be put into The Agent's HMRC login, under 'Request Authorisation' and when the request is submitted, You, the client will receive a letter usually within 10 - 14 days from the point of request, with an Authorisation Code that looks like this: SA12345678. This code usually arrives in an A5 Brown Envelope from HMRC on an A4 Letter.
This code then has an expiry date, which means that you would need to let your Agent know about this code, within the 30 day expiry period.
Your agent will know when your code is about to expire, as inside their HMRC Login, HMRC tells them when the code has been issued, sent, and when is it due to expire. Your Agent will also get a reminder email 7 days prior to expiry of this code.
Once you've passed the code over to your Agent, and they have submitted the code, the same way as they were requesting it, via their HMRC Login, your agent becomes authorised to speak to HMRC on your issues that you've asked & authorised them to. And on which they are registered as an Agent for.
What if I haven't got a Government Gateway Login?
That is not a problem, you can still authorise an agent who then will be able to file your Self Assessment Tax Return online or deal with your matters on your behalf with HMRC. You do not need to have your own Government Gateway login established, in order to have an Agent Authorised.
Can Wise-Bookkeeping be My Agent?
Wise-Bookkeeping offers the Agent Authorisation process for free, and we are also happy to deal with some of your sticky situations you may have got into, free of charge, so just get in touch and ask us! There's always a solution for everything, and it is usually a lot quicker for us to solve it on your behalf, with our magic 'Agent Dedicated Line'.
So we offer the Agent Authorisation process, without you needing to ask us to file your Tax Return on your behalf. We could just be Your Agent and that's it.