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HMRC changes agent authorisation for VAT

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Published: 06 Feb 2024 Update History

The digital handshake in the agent services account should now be used for almost all agent authorisations for VAT.
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VAT for agents will be removed from HMRC’s online agent authorisation (OAA) service from 16 February 2024. The ability to copy VAT authorisations from the older HMRC online services for agents account to the newer agent services account (ASA), by linking the government gateway credentials, will be removed on the same date. 

This means that the digital handshake authorisation from the ASA becomes the main way to be authorised as a VAT agent. It will now be the only way to obtain authorisation if the agent is to file VAT returns or access the VAT services available in the ASA.  

If a client is digitally excluded or unable to complete the digital handshake, the agent should still generate the request for authorisation from the ASA. The client should then contact HMRC for assistance. 

Authorisation codes generated in the OAA service before‌‌‌ ‌‌16‌‌‌ ‌‌February 2024 must be used before 18‌‌‌ ‌‌March 2024. 

There are no changes to the authorisation processes for income tax or corporation tax.    

Advisory only agents 

Advisory only VAT agents should obtain authorisation using the ASA digital handshake service unless a separate VAT filing agent continues to act for the client. HMRC’s systems do not yet have the functionality for multiple agent authorisations. Where a filing agent continues to act and that authorisation needs to remain in place, the advisory only agent will need to file a paper 64-8 and probably also include a copy of the 64-8 with any correspondence. 

Legacy VAT services

OAA will continue to be available after 16 February 2024 for legacy VAT services including:

  • VAT EU refunds;
  • notification of vehicle arrivals;
  • VAT One Stop Shop; and
  • other legacy account services that have not migrated to the ASA.

BTA authorisation route

There is a further route to authorise an agent for VAT. It is available to clients in their business tax account (BTA). ICAEW’s Tax Faculty understands that authorisation via the BTA covers only legacy VAT services. 

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