27 Apr An Alternative Way of Resolving Issues with HMRC
The Agent Account Manager (AAM) service acts as an intermediary between HMRC and agents. It was set up as a means to progress matters when communication has broken down or has not been fruitful.
Examples of where it may be useful include issues where there have been excessive delays on refunds, demands for payment when offsets have not been processed, misallocated payments, problems with agent authorisation, and lack of communication between HMRC departments.
The AAM takes the form of a structured e-mail, used to escalate a specific matter to the UK wide team of managers. The advisor is then contacted by a dedicated AAM within three working days.
Elspeth has been in communication with HMRC for several months. She made an error with her UTR number on the cheque used to pay her last tax bill, and the amount was not allocated to her tax account. She then received several demands and has been hit with penalties as well. She has sent a photocopy of the cheque to prove payment and to enable a missing payment trace, but despite this has been continually harassed by the collections team. Hearing about the AAM, her accountant registers and raises the issue. A manager contacts the agent and persuades HMRC to cease collections action until the payment is located. As you can see this matter should have been resolved directly; however, matters had become entrenched. This is exactly what the service is for.
WHAT CAN’T IT DO?
HMRC stresses that the service is only for use where normal channels have broken down. Before use it’s vital to contact the HMRC office with which you have previously been dealing to make every attempt to resolve the problem. AAMs act as intermediaries between agents and HMRC only when this has been done. Issues being dealt with by other parts of HMRC, such as compliance checks or appeals against HMRC decisions, cannot be dealt with through AAM. Neither can AAM offer advice on technical issues or the interpretation of tax legislation.
To use the service it’s necessary to register online (see Follow up ). This can be done as an insurance measure without having a specific query in mind. An automatic e-mail acknowledgement will be sent once HMRC receives the application.
Pro advice. Registration is on a per office basis: if a practice has more than one branch or office, one representative from each branch will need to register.
SUBMITTING CLIENT ISSUES
Once registered, practitioners make contact by filling in an online form with details of the client-specific issue. Again, there should be an automatic acknowledgement. A reference number for the specific query will be given.
One of HMRC’s AAM team should then make contact to discuss how to take the case forward.