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HMRC Extends 'Deemed Consent' Regime To NICs

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

05 September 2014


The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) in the UK has welcomed a change of policy from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), from September 2, 2014, enabling informal representatives of elderly or disadvantaged taxpayers, such as family and friends, to deal with matters on their behalf related to National Insurance Contributions through its "deemed consent" scheme.

HMRC said the disclosure of HMRC information through Deemed Consent now covers pay-as-you-earn (PAYE), self assessment, and national insurance helplines.

The LITRG had said, before HMRC launched their deemed consent service in November 2013, that HMRC's processes for security and authorization of friends and family representatives were antiquated and cumbersome, including onerous form filling, confusing security passwords, and long delays. "We and other voluntary sector bodies called for greater flexibility for vulnerable taxpayers to enable representation by friends and family. We welcomed the launch of deemed consent for income tax inquiries as a way of simplifying the system and allowing informal representation, and we are pleased that HMRC have now decided to extend it to National Insurance queries," LITRG said.

'Deemed consent' allows representatives, subject to security and identity checks, to speak to HMRC by phone and request written details of the taxpayer's record, duplicate tax returns, copies of letters and forms, or book a home visit. HMRC have an obligation to respect taxpayer confidentiality and therefore can only send such written details to the taxpayer themselves, not to their representative.

LITRG continued: "While we welcome this extension of a useful service, we are nevertheless disappointed that the extension of deemed consent to National Insurance offers no facility to book a home visit as for income tax. It is likely that most users of this service will be representing taxpayers who need enhanced support (NES customers, in HMRC terminology), and as home visits are one of the enhanced types of service available to NES customers it seems strangely illogical that they are they are denied to those inquiring about NICs."

"We would also like to see the service extended to cover tax credits, child benefit, and VAT, and to eventually be on offer to all taxpayers whatever their query."

TAGS: Insurance | tax | insurance | United Kingdom | tax credits | social security | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | individual income tax | Tax

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