HMRC’s Support for Agents
Did you know that HMRC’s Agent Account Managers (AAM’s) can help you to quickly resolve ongoing client specific problems when the usual escalation channels have failed?
HMRC tell us that so far over 8,000 agents have signed up for the help and HMRC has taken up over 4,400 issues. You can register using the online form: User Registration Form, which takes about 5 minutes to complete.
More information about the AAM Service is at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/agents/aam.htm.
AAMs were introduced by HMRC following discussions with agent professional bodies. They provide a number of services for agents. Their main role is to help resolve client-specific problems where the agent has been unable to do so through the normal HMRC methods. They are not, however, intended to replace HMRC's process for formal complaints.
They can also arrange speakers for Branch events and meetings, and arrange HMRC Learning Together educational events.
The user registration form asks for various personal and business details plus some other information. A lot of the information requested is not compulsory and we have asked HMRC to explain how they will use it. HMRC have advised us that the information will be used to improve the overall service provided, enable them to target education and support more appropriately and develop a more tailored approach to dealing with agents.
As a number of members queried the volume of information requested and the use to which it would be put, HMRC have kindly provided replies on this. Their response refers to specific parts of the form and we have summarised the key points below:
Part 2 – About you
HMRC do not feel that they can reduce this as the information provided enables them to keep their files up to date and maintain an accurate record of those agents that have registered.
Specifically, HMRC have identified the following uses for the information requested in this section:
- to compare their knowledge of the AAM registered agents with information gained from other sources and help them to provide the most appropriate level of support to different groups of agents.
- to target education and support through better knowledge of AAM registered agents and develop ‘bespoke’ material of interest to various groups of agents
- to segment agents according to their client base, which is really useful in developing the most appropriate approach. HMRC knows from experience, for example, that those with higher numbers of clients are more likely to respond to written correspondence than those with a smaller client base and can develop their approach accordingly.
- HMRC recognise that membership of a Professional Body (PB) provides an increased level of support to agents and knowing which PBs the agent is affiliated to enables them to work better with the PBs involved.
Part 3 – About your business
Knowledge of the number of people involved with tax work in an agent’s firm enables HMRC to plan, develop and deliver learning events at an agent’s premises where the audience makes this worthwhile. Without this information HMRC would not be in a position to offer this.
Part 4 – About your use of HMRC agent services
The information requested here again enables HMRC to tailor education and support more appropriately. A recent example of work they are doing currently with Agent Toolkits is a prime example. HMRC know that of the agents registered for the AAM Service 2,000 indicated that they had used toolkits within the last 12 months. As a result HMRC did not contact these agents about their toolkits face to face events.
16 March 2012