HMRC launches new Income Record Viewer Service
Chris Campbell explains how agents can now use HMRC’s new Income Record Viewer service to find out client income and tax details
What is the HMRC Income Record Viewer service?
HMRC has recently launched its new Income Record Viewer service. Once registered, this will allow agents to access their client’s employment income and tax details for the current tax year and the previous four tax years.
Agents should also be able to access their client’s employment details, benefits and kind, tax and student loan deductions, as well as the PAYE coding notice for the current tax year. In addition, agents should be able to access information on state and occupational retirement pensions and information on underpaid tax (where relevant).
To access the Income Record Viewer service, it is necessary for the agent to use their Agent Services Account to register. Clients need to be added individually using their National Insurance number and date of birth. The client then needs to be sent an authorisation link for their online approval via a “digital handshake”. This is a one-off approval, so clients should not need to repeat the process in future years.
Although this could provide valuable information for agents to enable them to better support their clients, the fact that the client is being asked to essentially re-approve their agent (and is expected to do so online) is likely to cause frustration for both clients and agents alike, and this is something that ICAS has made representations to HMRC about on behalf of Members. It could also cause administrative challenges for firms with a large number of clients, as these would all need to be individually registered to benefit from the additional functionality.
Unfortunately, HMRC will not currently allow agents to rely on their existing agent authorisations, so it will be necessary to register using the Agent Services Account. This is also something that ICAS has provided feedback on, alongside other professional bodies.
That said, whilst there are potential improvements that could be made (such as access to a client’s National Insurance record), the new service should be seen as a positive step forward, as it will give agents access to information that may be more reliable than the pre-population option available in tax return software. The service will also provide agents with access to information not previously available online or from phoning the Agent Dedicated Line.
Let us know your views
The ICAS tax team would appreciate any feedback from Members on how the Income Record Viewer service is working for them and their clients.
We welcome Members’ input to inform our work on consultations or other tax-related matters – email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your insights and feedback. ICAS responds to many tax calls for evidence and consultations, as well as producing tax policy papers and reports. We also regularly attend meetings with HMRC at which service levels, delays and other issues are discussed, and we raise problems being encountered by Members.