Tax Credits: Agents
This section of the site explains the process for becoming an agent on behalf of a tax credit claimant.
If you are a professional (such as a solicitor, accountant or tax adviser) acting on behalf of a tax credits claimant, you may need to obtain authorisation to deal with HMRC as an agent. This is different from being an intermediary or an appointee. The agent is usually appointed to act on an ongoing basis, compared to the short-term involvement of an intermediary.
How to obtain authorisation as an agent
HMRC have published a guide to acting as an agent for tax credit purposes on their website.
Agents must use form 64-8 to in order to obtain authorisation to act behalf of their client. The online authorisation process cannot be used for tax credits. Forms need to be sent to:
HM Revenue & Customs
Central Agent Authorisation Team
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
For tax credits, authorised agents do not get copies of the documentation which HMRC sends to clients (in contrast to the position for self-assessment). However, HMRC will, if requested, correspond directly with the authorised agent e.g. where there is an enquiry or a dispute on a technical matter.
HMRC have stated that you can only apply for agent authorisation for tax credits where there is an existing claim or if you're confident that a claim is due. For tax credits applications made within 12 months of form 64-8 being submitted, you can have your authority applied to the client record by contacting the Agent Priority Line. After that, a new form 64-8 will be needed.
HMRC have published some tips on how to speed up the paper authorisation process which can be found on their website.
In the case of a joint tax credits claim, both partners must give authority and the current version of the 64-8 has a signature box for the other partner.
Agents tax credit helpline
If you are handling tax credits issues on your clients' behalf, you can call the Agent Priority Line for tax credits on Tel 0845 300 3943. This line is open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday and 8.00 am to 4.00 pm on Saturday. This line is for agents only.
According to the HMRC website, calls to this number will be routed to one Contact Centre site. When the call comes through to the Contact Centre, it is identified as an agent call and advisers will have the relevant guidance for verifying and dealing with agents to hand. This should ensure a more efficient service for you when managing your client's tax credits affairs.
Whether or not you decide to deal with tax credits on behalf of your clients, your engagement letter should make the position absolutely clear.
The main professional bodies (CIOT, ATT, ICAEW, ACCA, ICAS, CIMA, IIT) have collaborated on a set of engagement letters for tax practitioners that include tax credits.
Updated 5 April 2013