Accountants are having hard time contacting HMRC
Not all changes introduced by the British administration are changes for the better. From 1st of May 2017 accountancy companies representing businesses will face new difficulties when contacting HMRC, they will no longer be able to receive information about payments and taxes on behalf of their clients over the phone. The taxman decided that all responses to inquiries are sent directly by post to the tax payer, it is planned to introduce and online solution to solve this problem but it is unknown when such will be available.
Setting up a business in the UK is an option as popular as ever. Favourable tax system and low level of bureaucracy makes easier to maintain and grow business when compared to other European countries. But the truth is the same for all businesses, do what you do best and let others help you with the rest. The accountancy is one of those areas that many struggles with, that is why they trust external accountancy services such as ours to manage their financial affairs for them.
Unfortunately, changes introduced by the lawmakers are not always the best solution to the UK businesses. Until the April 2017 accountant could represent the taxpayer to obtain, over the phone, all tax information available about their clients. From 1st of May 2017 this will no longer be possible, since, to get information such as outstanding tax payments, HMRC account balance or others, a request has to be raised but now HMRC is sending a postal response directly to the tax payer, individual or company.
New rules in use
From 1st of May 2017 accountant authorised to represent company in tax matters can make an inquiry over the phone to HMRC, however, not all answers will be provided directly. If the questions relate to the payments or tax paid, the response will be posted directly to the payer. What is worse is the fact that the accountant will not even receive a copy of the letter. For the accountants to be able to continue working on tax returns for the businesses, tax payers will have to provide the response received from HMRC back to accountancy service provider.
Procedure that makes life harder
New rule will make things worse for both the accountancy agents and for the tax payers. More complex procedure will significantly extend time required to deal even with simple tax inquires. For the accountant to be able to provide effective and efficient service the business owner will have spent more time on passing relevant documents to the agent.
Online solution for accountants
It was announced that issue of contacting HMRC will be resolved by introducing digital system that will allow authorised accountancy service providers to obtain information about their clients. Unfortunately, it is unknown if access to such online system will be available to all agents or just some that will undergo additional vetting. In addition, the date when the system will become available is still unknown, although, the HMRC claims that it will take place in second half of the 2017.
Accountancy safe in the hands of experts.
Of course, in the light of new legislation introduced by the HMRC one of the solutions might be contacting HMRC in person to obtain information about incomes and taxes for ourselves or business we run but it is difficult to imagine that a person who entrusted tax affairs to an expert will, all of a sudden be proficient in understanding all the ins and outs of the tax system just to avoid a dubious procedure. Relying on accountancy services is a huge advantage, saves time and gives us certainty over this complex financial area of the business. After all we would not maintain our boiler ourselves and trusting the accountancy services is an obvious choice to maintain our tax affairs.
Trust the accountant
It must be said that, although, many changes introduced are positive to business owners, this change is a step back from efficient communication between taxpayers, those acting on their behalf for financial affairs and the HMRC. Unfairly the responsibility has been moved from the agents and HMRC to the taxpayer, time will show if the tax administration in the UK will demonstrate more consideration to the rights of the business owners to use authorised representatives and entrust them to capably represent their clients.