In their Agent Update 59 HMRC announced that, from 2 May 2017, they would no longer provide information to agents over the phone regarding their clients’ pay, tax and employment histories.
HMRC indicated that this change of policy was due to concerns over a growing number of recent security issues, including agents pretending to be clients or calling on behalf of clients where they do not have the correct permissions.
HMRC have now provided further clarity over the scope of this change, confirming that they will no longer supply agents with any of the following:
- Pay and tax information.
- Any client information on bankruptcy, existing Deeds of Assignment, Section 9a enquiries (opened, ongoing or previously opened) or Individual Voluntary Agreements: this information has to be sought directly from the client.
- Any other employment history information such as P11D benefits received, except where this is required to complete a Self Assessment (SA) return for an existing SA customer (in which case HMRC will continue to supply the information for the time being).
This means that, currently, if agents need P60 information to complete a return they have two options:
- Call HMRC to request the information, which will then be sent by letter directly to their clients; or
- Ask clients to check the details themselves in their Personal Tax Account.
If information is needed urgently, for example to submit a return close to the filing deadline, the latter option will be much quicker. However, as agents cannot access their clients’ Personal Tax Accounts, this is dependent upon the client having set up their account and being comfortable using it.
HMRC are working on a digital facility to enable agents to access their clients’ details online. This is currently being tested with a small number of agents, and is expected to go live later this year.