Tax agents who file their clients’ VAT returns using HMRC’s online service may find that the functionality has moved from the older agent online service portal to the newer agent services account.
HMRC has started moving the VAT records of traders who are not signed-up to Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT from an old database (VAT mainframe or VMF) to a new database (Enterprise Tax Management Platform or ETMP).
The change began in April 2021 and is being phased in over the next six months or so. Other than the look and feel of some of the screens the change will not generally be noticed by businesses that file their own returns.
However, once a VAT record has been transferred from VMF to ETMP, agents can only access the online VAT return filing service for that client through their agent services account (ASA) and not the older agent online services (AOS) portal.
ICAEW’s Tax Faculty understands that there is a prompt in the AOS which tells agents that they need to access the service through their ASA.
This change does not mean that the client has been automatically signed up to MTD by HMRC; it is only a change to how the online VAT return is accessed by agents.
As explained in Agent Update 83 the transfer is more complicated for traders that pay by direct debit for whom HMRC does not hold a valid email address.
HMRC will not start transferring these particular records until July 2021 and will write to each business explaining what they will need to do to continue paying by direct debit.
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