Feedback from ICAEW members on the new income record viewer service has, as anticipated, focused on the problems created by the additional ‘digital handshake’ authorisation step that is required.
To get access to the service, agents must generate a link from their agent services account and email it to the client. The client must then complete the digital handshake and needs government gateway credentials to do so.
ICAEW’s Tax Faculty has confirmed with HMRC that the link an agent generates is specific to the agent, rather than to the client. This opens the possibility of generating a link for one client that can be copied and pasted into an email that is sent to multiple clients. Each client will need to complete the digital handshake individually.
There are some important points to note about the service.
- Authority only needs to be obtained once.
- Digitally excluded clients can phone HMRC and ask to speak to the extra support team who can complete the digital handshake on their behalf.
- The information provided by the service is more reliable than the similar self assessment pre-population service.
- The service is available for PAYE income taxpayers who are in self assessment and those who are not.
HMRC would have liked to make the service available where 64-8 authority for income tax is in place. However, that was not possible on security grounds. The data is very valuable to fraudsters and HMRC systems are constantly under attack. HMRC does plan to rationalise the different ways that clients authorise agents but that requires time and investment.
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