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Personal Tax Accounts – An Update

written by Editor, 22 December 2015

Guest blog by, Mark Purdue, Product Manager – Tax products

I have previously written about the impact the move to tax accounts is going to have on the profession (see here), and last week we moved a couple of important steps closer, as;

1. Personal Tax Accounts were launched, and
2. HMRC published a detailed update to their “Making Tax Digital” programme

Personal Tax Accounts Launch

Admittedly, the launch was a quiet affair, referenced on their Digital Blog , but that said, it is now available to all.

Registration is via the “Verify Gov” service; a service provider by selected third party organisations to validate your ID, before being allowed to access the tax account.  For verification, you’ll initially need some official documents (e.g. passport, driving license), a credit card, and the answer to some credit related questions.  Once your account is created, security is via two factor authentication (password and mobile phone PIN or email), so you should have confidence your data is secure.

You can create your own tax account via the Gov.UK site.

Currently, the functionality may be limited, but you get a feel for how the tax accounts will be of use to clients (and agents) in the future.  At the moment, there are sections for;
• Benefits and tax credits
• Pension
• National Insurance, and
• Income tax

The first three sections are predominantly links to forms, which will be enhanced in the future.  However, the income tax section already has personal data present.  As I am an employee, I can see my earnings and tax to date, together with an estimate of earnings and tax for the remainder of the tax year.  I can also see my notice of coding (although editing is off limits currently).

In addition, there are links to checking if you qualify for the Married Allowance (10% transfer of personal allowance), and another to give a friend/family member access as a trusted helper.  You can also change your postal address.

Making Tax Digital

Early last week, a new document was published by HMRC here, which provides further detail on how and when the Government’s Digital Plan will be delivered.  The above launch of the Personal Tax Accounts is just the beginning of this process.  Over the next few years, as functionality becomes incorporated into the tax account, the need for a self assessment tax return diminishes.

At Thomson Reuters, we are already working closely with HMRC on allowing our software to access authorised tax account information.  We have involved some of our users in HMRC usability studies, ensuring the set-up process meets the needs of the profession, and our developers are working with HMRC on exchanging test data via the first phase of the API’s.

Early in the New Year, I’ll be posting an update on how that work is progressing.

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