The BTD functionality, a welcome development for those in business, provides information on payments made and amounts due per returns submitted. More details are in the recent Employers’ Bulletin at: www.tax.org.uk/tax-policy/newsdesk/2012/EB_41.
Anyone accessing HMRC online services for the first time since the recent upgrade is being asked if they want to set up a BTD, which is available if you have one or more of the core HMRC online business services set up through the same login credentials.
If different services are accessed through separate login credentials then you will first need to amalgamate these services into one login. SA only taxpayers seem to be able to accept the ‘offer’, but the BTD will only show their SA tax position.
The addition of PAYE tax payments and liabilities is something that the CIOT and ATT has been seeking on behalf of members, and will enable businesses to see where their payments have been allocated.
BTD for agents
Members acting as agents to other taxpayers will not be able to access their clients’ dashboards, so will be unable to see the information relating to PAYE, although information relating to other taxes should be available as before, on separate screens.
HMRC were provided funding to build the service for business first, as part of the Government’s transparency initiative. It is unfortunate that it is not yet available to agents, who act for the majority of businesses. However, the CIOT and ATT and other professional bodies have been pushing HMRC to build the full functionality for agents. We understand that this is currently being looked at by HMRC.
Warning to members in practice
Agents should not be tempted to ‘borrow’ their clients’ credentials to access their BTD.
Although there is no specific mention in CIOT and ATT guidance around using another person's log-in, under the Professional Rules and Practice Guidelines (PRPG) and Professional Conduct in Relation to Tax (PCRT), a member needs to comply with the fundamental principles, including Integrity.
Paragraph 2.2 of the PCRT states: ‘A member must act honestly in all his dealings with his clients, all tax authorities and other interested parties, and do nothing knowingly or carelessly that might mislead.’
HMRC Online terms and conditions
Those accessing HMRC’s online filing system since the recent upgrade are being asked to confirm their acceptance of HMRC’s terms and conditions (T&Cs). A few points to note include:
- Lending login credentials to an agent contravenes HMRC’s Online terms and conditions, which are available at: https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/information/terms - see para 6.1.
- User ID and passwords (or Digital Certificate) should be kept safe and secret. Users can change a password on the HMRC or Government Gateway websites.
- The secure online mailbox, which is automatically set up for each user, only retains messages for a certain period.
- Some HMRC Online Services (eg SA) allow authorised Agents and their clients to see details of previously filed returns. Therefore, where a former Agent has been the nominee to receive a client's tax repayment, the information on the return includes that Agent's bank account and sort code details.
23 April 2012