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Businesses encouraged to access their BTA

30 September 2020: New guidance from HMRC explains the services available in business tax accounts (BTAs). ICAEW’s Tax Faculty outlines what the account offers.

HMRC has rectified a gap in the information available on gov.uk by publishing guidance on using HMRC’s business tax account and a new sign in page.

The account, which is perhaps better described a portal to online HMRC services, allows businesses to manage all their taxes in one place. This includes the main taxes – income tax self assessment, corporation tax, VAT, employer PAYE and national insurance – and a long list of other taxes and duties.

With increasing digitalisation of HMRC services, new obligations associated with importing and exporting goods after the end of the EU exit transition period and the advantages of being able to transact online during the pandemic, this is a good time for business to ensure that they make the most of the services in the BTA.

Agents do not have access to the BTA; some (but not yet all) of the services are available to agents through the agent portal or the agent services account, further detail is available for Tax Faculty members in TAXguide 04/20 and TAXguide 05/20.

Services that business may wish to use include:

  • Filing returns for taxes that they manage themselves.
  • Keeping track of liabilities and payments.
  • Making payments and applying for refunds.
  • Applying online for time to pay for income tax self assessment and to spread deferred VAT liabilities when that service becomes available in early 2021.
  • Authorising an agent.
  • Updating account details (address, telephone, email).

To get the best out of the account a business should use only one government gateway user ID for all taxes. Once the account has been set up, additional taxes can be added. In some cases, this involves an activation code being posted by HMRC and this can cause some delay. It is possible to limit staff members’ access to only certain taxes.

Many businesses will already have access to some online HMRC services but may benefit from reviewing what services they are enrolled for or consolidating access onto one government gateway user ID. Other businesses may not use online HMRC services but would benefit from doing so.

Other services, such as national insurance contributions history, are available in the personal tax account. HMRC’s ambition is to bring all services together into a single digital account.