Blog by Mark Purdue, Digita Senior Product Owner – Tax
HMRC is moving to paperless self assessment (Digital SA) and, as part of the increase in electronic communication; taxpayer information will be shared with software providers. This ultimately means that in the future, your client information held by HMRC will be accessed through Digita software, without the need for you to log into the HMRC website.
Currently, 85% of returns are filed online, but only 25% of this process ‘journey’ is electronic – the rest is paper. HMRC sends out 44 million letters a year and is moving to Digital SA to reduce costs and deliver information to taxpayers in a more convenient way. From next year, taxpayers registered for Self Assessment Online will need to opt-in to receiving the new electronic communication method, for example, for notices about tax return filing and enquiries.
HMRC hope that agents will be able to receive these new electronic communications by the end of 2014-15. Thomson Reuters is working closely with HMRC to ensure our users can view HMRC online messages through our products.
Sharing Client Information
As part of this increase in electronic communication, HMRC are going to share with software providers (i.e. Thomson Reuters) taxpayer information they may hold. For example, from 2015 you should have access to payment on account data for a client via Digita software. It is hoped further information will follow from 2016 onwards.
The ultimate goal is for HMRC to share with agents (via 3rd party software) whatever relevant client data they hold so that agents will not need to log into HMRC’s website to find client data. Within Digita software, we will be able to present relevant data as part of the client screen, thus streamlining the current process.
As way of an example, for an agent to find out if a client has made a tax payment, and how much was paid, here are the current steps, followed by the future steps:
Each request is made to HMRC’s server independently, which causes a lot of web traffic at HMRC.
Live payment on account information will be displayed as part of the Client Summary screen.
As part of the process of opening a client in our software, we will send one structured request to HMRC (for example, Client UTR, tax year, request payments) and present the live results.
For more information, visit https://taxagents.blog.gov.uk/2014/03/13/digital-self-assessment-a-better-service-for-agents/
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