If you're an agent who makes VAT submissions on behalf of your clients, in order to sign up your clients to Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT, you must first set up an agent services account (ASA) with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
The agent services account is needed to access new HMRC online services, including Making Tax Digital (MTD). It doesn't replace your existing Government Gateway logins, which you will continue to use for existing services.
You only need one agent services account for your organisation and it should be set up by the person responsible for your organisation's tax or administrative matters, such as a director, owner or lead partner. You may already have an agent services account if you've signed up for the Trust Registration Service (TRS) or signed clients up for MTD for Income Tax.
Before you start
To create an agent services account and link your existing clients you'll need the following:
- Your agent firm's Self-Assessment, Partnership or Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
- The post code associated with that UTR.
- The Government Gateway IDs you currently use to submit VAT on behalf of your clients.
Create an agent services account
HMRC recommend that you use the Government Gateway ID that you currently use to manage clients.
- Visit the Get an HMRC agent service account page >
- Enter your Government Gateway User ID and password, then click Sign in.
- Follow the on-screen prompts and ensure you make a note of your Account Reference Number (ARN) and keep it secure.
You may be prompted to create a new Government Gateway ID as part of this process. If so, ensure you make a note of this as it's the ID you'll need to use for MTD submissions.
Link existing clients
Clients who are already linked to your existing Government Gateway IDs can be linked to your agent services account. Doing this means you won't have to request authorisation from those clients when you sign them up for MTD.
- Visit the Link your current clients to your agent services account page >
- Click Sign in, enter your ASA Government Gateway User ID and password then click Sign in.
- On the agent services homepage click Allow this account to access existing client relationships.
- Click Start now then enter the old Government Gateway credentials that you previously used to submit VAT on behalf of your clients then click Sign in.
- Enter your new agent services account number and your agent firm's Self-Assessment, Partnership or Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
- Click Connect.
- Repeat for each Government Gateway ID you previously used to submit VAT on behalf of your clients.
Any clients you add to your old Government Gateway IDs from now on will also be added to your agent services account automatically. Any new clients, or existing clients who've not yet signed up to use an HMRC online service, can be invited one by one from the Manage your clients area of your agent services account.
Sign up your clients for MTD
When to sign up
Your clients can sign themselves up for MTD, or you can do this for them. Once a client is signed up, from that point onwards their VAT Returns must be submitted using the new MTD system and can no longer use the previous channel. Before you sign up a client for MTD, check the following:
- You have MTD compatible software for this client.
- Their latest VAT Return under the Government Gateway has been reconciled and submitted.
- Your client's data is up to date, accurate and complete.
- Signing up for MTD must be done at least 5 working days after the last non-MTD VAT Return submission and at least 8 working days before the first MTD VAT Return submission.
- You've advised your client that you are signing them up for MTD.
- Depending on your client's business entity type you will need their Company Registration Number (CRN), Partnership UTR or National Insurance number, and their post code.
During these steps your client will receive an email which they must verify to complete the sign up process.
- Visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sign-up-for-making-tax-digital-for-vat
- Under the Sign up your clients if you're an agent section, click the Sign up your clients for Making Tax Digital for VAT link.
- Enter your new Government Gateway User ID and password then click Sign in.
- Follow the on-screen prompts, entering the requested information about your client. When authorising your third party software, choose Sage Business Cloud.
Once you confirm your client's email address, they are sent a verification email. Your client must click the link in the email before you can continue.
Once your client has verified their email address, click Continue.
- If prompted, you must accept the terms and conditions on behalf of your client.
You will receive two emails from HMRC, one confirming that your client's information has been received and a second, usually within 72 hours, confirming that you can start submitting for this client under MTD.
To submit VAT Returns using the new MTD system you may need to switch on the MTD features in your software. For more information about your software, visit our MTD Help Centre.
- You can find a step-by-step guide for agents by visiting Gov.uk
- You can find further guidance in our list of useful resources.
- To check Sage software MTD-readiness, take a look at our guide.
- For your Government Gateway account use a practice rather than an individual's email address.
- Once signed up for MTD VAT you can no longer type the VAT Return values into the Government Gateway.
- The client list can't be viewed within the Agent Services Account.
- When submitting MTD VAT Returns you will need to use the new Government Gateway ID you created for your Agent Services Account.
- Plan for client email confirmation - Your clients must be signed up individually for MTD VAT. This generates an email to the client and you will receive an email, usually within 72 hours, confirming you can submit on their behalf.
- Be aware of the key dates for signing clients for mandatory MTD.
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