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Setting up – Registration, Licences and Insurance

  • Anti-Money Laundering

Since 15 December 2007 professionals have had to register for Anti-Money Laundering supervision under the MLR 2007. The Chartered Institute of Taxation is a supervisory body for this purpose. Full details on the requirements, how to register and members’ obligations can be found here. Many members will be automatically supervised through their practising certificates with other bodies to which they belong.

  • Practice registration

The tax profession is still unregulated though the introduction of the Money Laundering regulations is a step towards a regulated profession. So the onus is on you to comply with the Practice Guidelines issued by the Institute.

  • Insurance

The Institute requires Members in Practice to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). See the Professional Standards section for further details. You will find details on the definition of a Member in Practice and minimum levels of PII required. You will also find the details on circumstances when you don't need insurance, for example, members working as a contractor for another firm and the work performed by the member is covered under the contracting firms PII. Although both the CIOT and the ATT set out a minimum level of insurance cover, do consider the type of work you will be undertaking for clients and if you are involved in high risk work do consider paying for a higher level of cover. Your Letter of Engagement can also influence the level of insurance cover needed, so do read the points referred to later, in the guidance on setting up – procedural matters.

  • Data Protection

It is almost a given these days that a practice of all sizes will hold client records on electronic files. The practice will need to register with the Information Commissioner, formerly the Data Protection Register and maintain office practices in line with the requirements. More information can be found at www.ico.gov.uk.

  • Other licences

Think about the work that you will be doing and the facilities you will be using at work. If you operate from separate business premises and you have a television in the office to watch the Budget (or a not to be missed sporting event), remember you will need a TV licence.

  • Registering with HM Revenue and Customs as an agent and to file online

You will need to apply to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for an agent code. Details of how to apply for agent codes are available at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/agents/authorisation.htmOnce you have an agent code, you can use it to:

enrol for the relevant online service – see the guide at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/demo/agent/register/index.html

apply for client authorisations online – see http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/agents/online-authorisation.htm or

apply for client authorisations on the paper form 64-8 – you must always use the current form which may be available in your tax software program or from the HMRC ‘forms’ link from the homepage.

You will require a separate agent code (also sometimes called an agent reference number) for each tax service, such as Income Tax Self Assessment, Corporation Tax Self Assessment and PAYE for employers. There is a separate system for VAT online – see http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/agents/online-authorisation.htm#6 .

For Income Tax Self Assessment and Corporation Tax Self Assessment, you should write to the HMRC Agent Maintainer at the following address and provide your name, business name, address and telephone number together with a copy of your firm’s letterhead, along with details of the taxes you plan to deal with:

HM Revenue & Customs
Central Agent Authorisation Team
Agent Maintainer
Benton Park View
Longbenton
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

The Agent Maintainer should also be notified of any changes to the practice name or contact details or if your practice ceases or merges with another practice. In such cases the agent Maintainer may be able to transfer all the clients into the merged firm.

When you write to the Agent Maintainer it is best not to enclose any other information or documents, such as client forms 64-8. It is best to obtain your agent code first so this can be entered on the form.

You may also need to register for PAYE, which can be done online at https://www.iragentreg.gov.uk/agentreference/agent_registration.htm.

Finally, do allow ample time for the agent code to be issued and to register for online services. The whole process can take a few months due to security checks which need to be carried out on each applicant to ensure they are a bona fide agent.

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