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HMRC’s VAT online service for agents to be decommissioned

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 26 Mar 2024

Agents should use their agent services account to manage the VAT affairs of all clients going forward.

HMRC has announced that it will phase out the remaining functionality from its legacy VAT services.  

From 16 April 2024, agents will no longer be able to use HMRC’s online service for agents to: 

  • submit a VAT return;
  • set up or amend a direct debit; or
  • change VAT registration details on behalf of a client. 

From 16 May 2024, the remaining services accessed through the online service for agents will be withdrawn. These allow the agent to view their clients account and submitted returns. 

Access to the links within the online service for agents will be unaffected by the withdrawal of the VAT services. These links include: reverse charge sales lists (RCSL), notification of vehicle arrivals (NOVA) and the VAT mini one stop shop (MOSS). 

HMRC is making this change as part of ongoing upgrades to its IT systems. When HMRC introduced making tax digital for VAT, taxpayer records were moved to a new IT platform. However, amendments made through the legacy VAT online service for agents do not automatically update customer records on the new platform. Manual updates strain HMRC resources and cause delays in updating VAT records. 

Agent Services Account 

These changes will have no impact on the services already within the agent services account (ASA). Agents should use their ASA to: 

  • advise HMRC of changes to their client’s VAT account;
  • view their client’s account;
  • view submitted VAT returns; 
  • print a VAT certificate;
  • cancel a VAT registration; and 
  • print VAT returns on behalf of their client. 

Agents are encouraged to transition their clients to the ASA as soon as possible. Agents not yet authorised to represent their client via the ASA will need to complete a digital handshake

Direct debits 

Amendments to direct debits made through the online service for agents will not automatically be reflected in the clients’ records. This could result in delayed payment to HMRC and subsequent penalties. 

To adhere with banking regulations, businesses should self-serve through their VAT online account if they need to create or amend a direct debit. If the business needs more than one signature to set up or change a direct debit, it should use a VAT C9 form

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