Before HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can deal directly with a tax ‘adviser’ (for example an accountant or agent), during a compliance check - a valid and specific authorisation needs to be in place. This will allow HMRC compliance officers to deal with the adviser about all aspects of the compliance check.
This guide explains how to set up a temporary authorisation which will cover matters relating only to a compliance check, and the circumstances when a permanent authorisation applies.
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HMRC needs to know if an adviser has been authorised to act just for the compliance check, or if the authorisation is more permanent and covers the customer’s day-to-day tax affairs for all matters included in the compliance check.
If HMRC already holds a formal agent authorisation (form 64-8 or online authorisation) and it covers all matters that are being checked, then this will cover the compliance check and no further authorisation is needed. But, if an existing authorisation doesn't cover all the matters HMRC is checking, then further authorisation will be needed. The following sections explain this.
The customer may have already authorised an adviser to deal with some or all of their tax affairs and want to retain their services on the same basis, but they would like to either:
Alternatively, they may not have authorised anyone, but want to appoint someone to deal just with the compliance check.
In these circumstances, they should complete form ‘Comp1 Temporary Authorisation’. Using this form will help to make sure that other HMRC records are not updated incorrectly to cancel an existing authorisation, or to show a temporary adviser as a permanent one.
The completed form should be sent to the HMRC officer dealing with the compliance check.
Only HMRC staff dealing with the compliance check will be aware of this authorisation. Staff from other parts of HMRC will not be able to discuss the tax matters of the customer or share information with the adviser. If an adviser needs to deal with other parts of HMRC about the compliance check, they should contact the HMRC officer dealing with the check.
The following example illustrates the circumstances in which a customer may want to permanently authorise an existing adviser to handle matters that are included in the check.
The customer has authorised an adviser to handle their Self Assessment tax affairs. HMRC starts a compliance check into their Self Assessment tax return and VAT Returns. HMRC can't deal directly with the adviser during the compliance check, as they haven't been authorised to act for VAT. The customer decides that they want the adviser to deal with all their VAT matters and Self Assessment matters permanently.
In this instance, the customer would need to replace the existing authorisation with a new one, by using HMRC's online service or completing form 64-8 Authorising your agent. Once completed, the 64-8 should be returned to the HMRC address shown on the form.
If a customer decides to do this, it will help if they tell the HMRC officer dealing with their compliance check.