Introduction to this document

Authority letter to HMRC

If you want someone, for example your accountant or a friend, to communicate with HMRC on your behalf, you must put this in writing. If you don’t, he won’t be prepared to discuss your VAT or other tax affairs with anyone but you.

Getting around a confidentiality issue

HMRC isn’t allowed to reveal confidential information to a tax advisor/accountant unless it holds the authority to do so. However, although the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise merged into Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), any existing authority held by the Inland Revenue doesn’t work for VAT correspondence. For example, appeals to HMRC against a late filing penalty for a VAT return have been rejected because it did not hold a direct authority from the taxpayer.

HMRC has now updated its authorising your agent document (Form 64-8) to allow you to state which taxes the advisor will be dealing with, including VAT. However (pending the processing of an new 64-8 you may have submitted), we suggest sending in an Authority Letter to HMRC along with the next appeal/correspondence. This should avoid the hassle of the appeal being rejected or HMRC refusing to answer your advisor’s letters.