PCRT helpsheet: Electronic filing of tax returns

This helpsheet provides further guidance on the application of the Fundamental Principles and Standards covering the electronic filing of tax returns and the potential security risks that tax advisers must consider, as well as links to more information from HMRC.

Tax administration systems, including the UK’s, are increasingly moving to mandatory electronic filing of tax returns.

Ideally a member will explicitly file in their capacity as agent. In some cases, HMRC will issue a pin code to the client for the agent to use.

A member is advised to use the facilities provided for agents and to avoid knowing or using the client’s personal access credentials wherever possible. A member should keep their access credentials safe from unauthorised use and consider periodic change of passwords. Other useful information can be found at:

A member is recommended to forward suspicious emails to HMRC at phishing [at] hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and then delete them. It is also important to avoid clicking on websites or links in suspicious emails, or opening attachments.

A member should consider carefully the terms which they agree with the tax authority in order to use electronic filing. These may, for example, include provisions around the security of access credentials or different deadlines.

A member will need to consider whether the process of electronic filing creates any different obligations for them from paper filing.

If electronic filing causes a member to become involved in the payment or repayment of tax, the member should ensure they fully understand their role and responsibilities. A member should ensure that their role and responsibilities and those of their client in relation to the electronic filing process are clearly set out and understood by the client. This is ideally achieved through the engagement letter.

Electronic filing systems are constantly evolving and a member should ensure their procedures are updated as and when appropriate.