HMRC calls to agents – new procedures announced

HMRC has recently been working with professional bodies on the Issues Overview Group  (IOG) to address agents’ security concerns where HMRC need to arrange a call back or when HMRC make an unexpected call to agents about their clients. 

A solution has been identified and the process will now operate as outlined below.

Agent single use passwords for call backs.

Where an agent requests a call back for a matter related to either Self-Assessment or PAYE for an issue that cannot be dealt with during their initial call to HMRC, HMRC will take a password from the agent to be quoted by the HMRC adviser or technician who makes that call back. The password will be for that call only.

Unexpected calls from HMRC

The process for unsolicited calls from Debt Management and Banking (DMB) and VAT departments when an agent requires proof that the call is genuinely from HMRC is as follows:

  • DMB can be asked to quote two characters from the agent reference number. They may also make reference to earlier contacts or information held.
  • VAT will quote the 4 digit ID as an extra assurance. This is issued by HMRC Central Agent Maintainer team (CAAT) and is allocated to an agent when they register as a new agent.  The 4 number ID is unique to that agent and is used by HMRC to maintain the agent’s correspondence details.

Callers will also offer a call back should the agent remain concerned.

SA/PAYE unsolicited calls may be made by HMRC if there is a need to discuss correspondence recently received. Callers will offer reference to earlier correspondence/phone calls as proof of identity. 

HMRC have identified SA/PAYE, DMB and VAT as the most likely to require these processes. However, if either of these situations regularly occur with other departments, HMRC are willing to explore a similar solution if it is necessary.

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