If you’re considering appointing your accountant as your official spokesperson with the HM Revenue Customs, there are a few things you’ll need to do as you authorize this person. The HMRC will allow this, whether it’s a full time employee or an accountant with an accounting firm, provided you have taken the necessary steps to reduce liability and accept responsibility for the outcome.
Your representative, or “authorized agent”, as they are referred to by HMRC, can file your company tax returns and all associated documents, speak on your behalf with anyone at HMRC and can let HMRC know that your company is liable for corporation taxes. Further, you can broaden the scope of an agent already authorized in your business. For instance, if you have an agent who oversees VAT or PAYE, you may incorporate that same person’s services in other matters, provided you have notified HMRC beforehand. This person, whether he’s an accountant or employee, must register on the “Online Services” page at HMRC and this person must also provide documentation of his or her Government Gateway Agent ID. There are several forms you can easily download, complete and submit.
These agents are especially beneficial, especially during the busy tax season. The January 31, 2011 Self Assessment deadline is drawing near for tax specialists and advisors and this is just one example of how an accountant can step in to cover the bases. Not only that, but an accountant acting on your behalf will know certain things that could prove beneficial to your company. For instance, many business owners do not know there are a few exemptions for companies who fail to meet the filing deadline. The company accountant likely knows and he also knows the limitations associated with exemptions. One of those limitations, according to HMRC, includes a lack of software available to businesses to file taxes online. Non resident companies are also specific examples of these limitations. There are the rare events where HMRC advises a tax payer to not file online. That said, and in both these cases, it doesn’t eliminate the deadline; it only means these require traditional paper filings. While these details would be enough to drive most non-accounting personnel to madness, the specialist you’ve appointed surely already is aware of them.
Many accountants are encouraging their clients to incorporate the newly unveiled Direct Debit on the HMRC website. This ensures on time payments and helps clients avoid penalties and late fees, which can become substantial rather quickly. An accountant can also assist his client as he sets up scheduled payments, which is something that only an authorized agent can do online at the business owner’s direction.
Clearly there are many benefits associated with appointing your accountant as your authorized agent. Just as your rely on him to accurately keep track of your business, you can also trust him to cover these proverbial “bases” with HMRC. Just be sure to submit this information to HMRC so that there will be few, if any, glitches in your efforts.