How to avoid losing access to your agent account
‘Failing to respond to an innocuous looking letter from HMRC can end up with your agent account being blocked.’
HMRC periodically writes to agents to ask them to confirm who supervises them for anti-money laundering (AML) regulation purposes. It is not clear what triggers this check but it might be an instance such as a change of agent address.
The letter includes a questionnaire to be completed and returned to HMRC. The completed questionnaire must be accompanied by a letter of confirmation from ICAEW, if it is the AML supervisor. The required letter can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The impact on agents, if they do not respond, is serious. If a satisfactory response is not received by HMRC, it does attempt to phone the agent. In the absence of a response, HMRC will block the agent’s account as a next step. The agent can still sign into their agent accounts, but will find that they don’t have access to services (sometimes only some services are blocked).
ICAEW is in discussions with HMRC about improving the process. In the meantime, tax agent ICAEW members in practice are advised to keep a look out for such a letter and ensure that they respond.