The Agent Forum is the main portal through which agents can raise general queries about HMRC systems or processes that they come across in day-to-day practice direct with HMRC. We encourage members to sign up to the Forum and report concerns or ask questions via the Forum as it is only through providing feedback to HMRC that such issues can be identified and resolved.
The current version of the Agent Forum was launched on 7 October 2019. Tax agents can use the Forum to flag up concerns to HMRC, contribute their experiences as evidence and search to see whether the issues they are experiencing are also being faced by others, and what is being done about them. Agents will also receive updates on service issues and other relevant information from by HMRC via the Forum.
How to sign up
The Agent Forum is only visible to tax agents who are members of a professional body such as the ATT and CIOT, who have signed up to the Forum and been accepted by HMRC.
The Forum sits within HMRC's Customer Forums, which are intended for the wider public. To get access to the Agent Forum, you will need to set up a profile on the Customer Forum first and then request access to the Agent Forum. As part of the registration you will be asked for your name, professional body and membership number - it is not possible to post anonymously on the Agent Forum. Once the necessary details have been submitted, HMRC aim to approve your application within two working days. A step by step guide to signing up can be found here.
If you were already a contributor to the previous forum, then you should have received a link and instructions for transferring to the new forum when it went live in October 2019.
How to use the forum
The Forum is intended as a place for agents to report issues that are potentially widespread and affect a number of taxpayers or agents. It is not the appropriate place to raise client specific queries. No details which could be used to identify a client or other taxpayer should be posted onto the Forum. Where HMRC ask for details of a specific client's situation to provide evidence of the issue, this should be sent separately to agentforum.wt [at] hmrc.gov.uk, with the title of the thread and the thread reference in the subject line.
Members are reminded that the usual professional standards of behaviour apply to posts on the Forum as they would to any other form of communication with HMRC. The Forum itself has a board headed 'Agent Forum Guidance and User Information' which includes an Agent Forum good practice guide, further details on how the Forum operates and hints and tips on Forum use. Members are advised to familiarize themselves with these documents before posting on the Forum. Members who do not abide by the Forum rules can be removed from the Forum at HMRC's discretion.
Where an agent is experiencing a client-specific problem then a more effective route to resolution may be to contact one of HMRC's Agent Account Managers.
Professional body involvement
The Agent Forum is monitored by members of the Issues Overview Group (IOG), which includes the ATT. The IOG seek to identify potentially widespread issues to highlight to HMRC, to ask for issues which have not been satisfactorily resolved to be looked at again and to highlight relevant issues to members who are not on the Forum.
Members of ATT who don't wish to use the Agent Forum, or have a concern that they feel has not been adequately addressed on the Forum, should wt [at] att.org.uk (contact us).