An Agent Services Account is required to submit Making Tax Digital VAT returns. You may already have one, as they are also used for other online services such as trust registration. If you do, please skip to step 3.
If you don’t have an Agent Services Account, you will need to create one. This is a necessary step a tax agent must complete in order to access new HMRC services through software, for example Making Tax Digital for Business.
This does not replace existing credentials, or logins, which you will still use for all other existing online services, such as VATs online tax return service, as well as for those clients you do not sign up to Making Tax Digital services.
A critical requirement for creating an Agent Services Account is creating a new Government Gateway ID which will be used to access MTD services. Later, you will use this Government Gateway ID to grant permission to the Clear Books software to act on behalf of you as a tax agent and your taxpayer client.
You must create a new Government Gateway ID specifically for your Agent Services Account - you cannot use an existing Government Gateway ID which already has clients linked to it.
To create a new Agent services account head to the Government Gateway page linked here.
Select the account type.
You will then be prompted to enter your registration credentials. Subsequently, HMRC may require your Self Assessment unique tax reference (UTR) or Corporation Tax reference number and Postcode to identify your business.
As soon as this has been completed, HMRC will then automatically generate a unique Government Gateway User ID and send a copy of this to the registered email address.
You must then proceed to create an Agent Services account by clicking on this link.
Log in using the user ID and password obtained from Step 2. Complete the steps to create your Agent Services Account. Note down your Agent Services Account number to use later. Keep this somewhere safe because it cannot be recovered if you lose it! This is also referred to as the Agent Reference Number (ARN).
Follow the instructions on-screen to create a VAT service in your Agent Services Account.
Linking your clients
Linking your clients will allow you to use your Agent Services Account to represent your clients, specifically to access their VAT details and to submit Making Tax Digital VAT returns on their behalf.
Linking your clients allows HMRC systems to recognise existing agent/client authorisations. This is the MTD equivalent of importing your form 64-8 or Online Agent Authorisation (OAA) agencies. Linking your clients means you do not need to re-authorise those relationships to act on behalf of your clients in MTD VAT.
Navigate to the Services you might need section and click on the link Allow this account to access existing client relationships.
Log in using the User ID and Password for your old Government Gateway ID. Then enter your Agent Services Account number and business tax reference (sometimes called a Self Assessment UTR or Corporation Tax reference) and follow the steps to link your clients in bulk.
You will see a success screen indicating that you have connected the Government Gateway ID.
After you log out and back in to your Agent Services Account, you will not see anything to indicate that the linking was completed successfully (as at 22nd May 2018). To confirm this, you can repeat the process and you will see an error message stating “This ID is already connected to your account.” This is a limitation with HMRC’s system.
What happens next?
During the MTD VAT pilot, which started in April 2018, the next step is to opt-in your client for MTD VAT. In order to do this, you can head back into Clear Books and continue with the MTD Onboarding Wizard.
In step 4 of the wizard, click on the Sign up your clients for MTD VAT button, or alternatively click on this link to take you to the HMRC pilot scheme sign up page.
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