Making Tax Digital for VAT is set to come into force in April 2019. By that time agents will have to have set up Agent Services Accounts. These accounts are what agents will use to access the new online HMRC services that have been developed as part of the MTD programme.

In April 2019, ASA will become the portal through which all agents will file VAT returns for their clients who have to keep digital records under MTD for VAT. The existing portal for VAT will be closed for most businesses and will solely be accessible to those businesses who are not required under MTD to submit digital VAT returns.

The ultimate aim is for ASA to be the sole point of access for agents allowing them to use HMRC services for their clients. At present agents use a several different Government Gateway accounts to access services. This means that it is not unusual for firms to have made several different departments, teams, offices or heads of tax for the different online accounts that they have to manage. Having a solitary account should make it easier for HMRC to get an idea of an agent’s client relations.

Of course having a single access point does raise questions around security and it is planned that in future the ASA will be protected by a 2-step verification process. This already exists for Personal and  Business Tax Accounts which require a pin code to be entered to a landline, mobile or authenticator app in addition to a username and password.