Issue 118 of agent update

Published 20 March 2024

Technical updates and reminders

Developments and changes to legislation and allowances relating to UK tax including:


Borders and Trade

Making Tax Digital

HMRC Agent Services

Details of live consultations and links to responses, changes to HMRC service and guidance, including: 

Agent online forum and engagement

Latest updates from the partnership between HMRC and the main agent representative bodies. Including: 


National Insurance contributions rates changes reminder

We are reminding agents that changes for their clients are due to take effect on 6 April 2024.  

On 6 March 2024 the Chancellor announced: 

  • a cut to the main rate of Class 1 employee National Insurance contributions from 10% to 8% from 6 April 2024 
  • National Insurance contribution rates for the self-employed across the UK will be cut by a further 2 pence on top of the 1 pence cut to 8% announced at Autumn Statement 2023 — this means that from April 2024 the main rate of Class 4 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed will now be reduced from 9% to 6% 

Other changes announced previously at Autumn Statement 2023 to take effect in April 2024 of particular interest to your self-employed clients include: 

  • abolition of the requirement to pay Class 2 
  • self-employed people with profits above £12,570 will no longer be required to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions, but will continue to receive access to contributory benefits including the State Pension 
  • those with profits between £6,725 and £12,570 will continue to get access to contributory benefits including the State Pension through a National Insurance credit without paying National Insurance contributions as they do currently 
  • those with profits under £6,725 and those who pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions voluntarily to get access to contributory benefits including the State Pension, will continue to be able to do so — the weekly rate they pay will be frozen at £3.45 for 2024 to 2025, rather than rising by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to £3.70 
  • the Small Profits Threshold — the point at which the self-employed start to receive National Insurance credits —  has been frozen at £6,725 

Most people pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance through Self Assessment

Agents may wish to remind clients that they must tell HMRC when they become self-employed as a sole trader or as a business partnership.  

The government will consult on further details of the Class 2 reform later this year. 

Read more information on National Insurance changes in the Spring Budget 2024: Personal Tax Factsheet and the Spring Budget 2024: Overview of tax legislation and rates (OOTLAR) on GOV.UK. 

Construction Industry Scheme changes from 6 April 2024

From 6 April 2024 there will be changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). We will update the CIS Reform Manual (CISR) to reflect the changes.

Gross Payment Status (GPS) compliance test

Compliance with VAT filing and payment obligations will be added to the compliance test for gaining and retaining GPS. For existing GPS holders the compliance test will only consider VAT compliance from 6 April 2024. 

To ensure minor VAT compliance failures will not result in GPS refusal or removal, there will be exceptions to compliance obligations.  

In line with other taxes, the following failures will be overlooked:  

  • 3 late submissions of VAT returns — up to 28 days late  
  • any late payment of VAT where the amount is under £100  

  • 3 late payments of VAT liability of £100 or more — up to 14 days late 

Existing appeal rights will apply and GPS will not be removed where there is a reasonable excuse for any compliance failures. 

HMRC is also bringing forward the first review of compliance from 12 months after application to 6 months. After this point it will revert to 12 months.

Fraudulent returns and information

The grounds that HMRC can immediately cancel GPS in cases of fraud will be extended to include VAT, Corporation Tax Self Assessment (CTSA), Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) and PAYE (Pay As You Earn). If HMRC has grounds to suspect that the GPS holder has fraudulently provided an incorrect return or incorrect information in relation to any of these taxes, GPS can be immediately removed. Existing appeal rights will apply.

Landlord to tenant payments

To reduce administrative and financial burdens on both landlords and tenants, most landlord to tenant payments for construction work will no longer be within the scope of the CIS.  

Payments made under a construction contract by a landlord to a tenant from 6 April 2024 will be outside the scope of the CIS, where: 

  • the payment is made by or on behalf of the landlord 
  • the person receiving the payment is a tenant or prospective tenant of the landlord 
  • the payment is for construction operations agreed in connection with a lease or an enforceable agreement to enter a lease 
  • the tenant that occupies or will occupy the property will carry out the construction operations itself, or a third person is contracted to carry out the construction operations 
  • the payment is for construction work intended primarily for the benefit and use of the tenant that occupies or will occupy the property under the lease 

The new rules supplement existing rules that exempt reverse premiums from the CIS, widening the range of contract payments outside of the CIS.

Subcontractor registrations and applications for GPS

A new digital form for subcontractor registration and GPS applications will be introduced. Supporting evidence can be uploaded and there will be the ability to save and return to applications. 

From this time, subcontractors will no longer be able to register for the CIS or apply for GPS over the telephone, unless digitally excluded.

Update on benefit in kind and capital allowance guidance for double cab pickup trucks

HMRC updated guidance on the tax treatment of double cab pickups on Monday 12 February 2024, following a 2020 Court of Appeal judgment. The guidance had confirmed that from 1 July 2024 double cab pickup trucks with a payload of one tonne or more would be treated as cars rather than goods vehicles for both capital allowances and benefit in kind purposes.  

This guidance has now been withdrawn following the government’s announcement to legislate to ensure that double cab pickup vehicles continue to be treated as goods vehicles. 

Read the update on HMRC double cab pickup guidance on GOV.UK.   

Whilst the government consults on the draft legislation, double cab pickups with a payload of one tonne or more will continue to be treated as goods vehicles rather than cars. The legislation will be introduced in the next available Finance Bill.

Low income trusts and estates changes

From 6 April 2024, settlements and estates with income of all types up to £500 will not pay income tax on the considered income as it arises. Where income exceeds £500, tax will be payable on the full amount. 

For trusts, the de minimis amount is reduced for some groups of trusts set up by the same settlor. 

For accumulation and discretionary trusts with income that exceeds £500 the default basic rate (20%) and dividend ordinary rate (8.75%) will no longer apply to the first £1,000 of trust rate income.  

Tax pool adjustment payments, due when a discretionary distribution is made, continue to be payable, irrespective of the level of trust income in a year.  

For estates, the £500 tax-free amount will apply to all types of income, after taking off ISA income which continues to be exempt after a person has died until closure or up to 3 years following the death. 

Find more detail in our Trusts and Estates Newsletter. Further information regarding tax returns and related reporting forms will be available for the end of the 2024 to 2025 tax year.

Student and postgraduate loans thresholds from 6 April 2024

This article is for agents dealing with payroll.  

Student loan plan type and postgraduate loan thresholds and rates from 6 April 2024 are as follows: 

  • plan 1: £24,990 

  • plan 2: £27,295 

  • plan 4: £31,395 

  • postgraduate loan: £21,000 

Deductions for: 

  • plan type 1, 2 and 4 remain at 9% for any earnings above the respective thresholds 

  • postgraduate loan remains at 6% for any earnings above the respective threshold 

Guidance on student loans, plans and loan types will be updated on 6 April 2024 with the new thresholds. 

For more information on making loan deductions in different circumstances, read the student loan and postgraduate loan repayment guidance for employers on GOV.UK.

Reducing the risk of your employee paying too much

HMRC will send a student or postgraduate loan start notice either online or by post if an employee is due to repay.  

It is important that you check and use the correct: 

  • start date shown on the notice 

  • loan or plan type on the start notice 

This helps the employee pay the right amount at the right time. 

You should continue to make deductions until HMRC tells you to stop. 

If an employee’s earnings are: 

  • above the respective student loan and postgraduate loan thresholds and you do not make deductions, HMRC will send you a generic notification service prompt as a reminder — if deductions still have not started, we may contact you directly 

  • below the respective student loan and postgraduate loan thresholds, you should update an employee’s payroll record to show they have a student loan or postgraduate loan and file the start notice 

Read more about employers repayment guidance for student and postgraduate loans on GOV.UK.

Research and Development (R&D) tax reliefs — webinars

HMRC is running a series of webinars on Research and Development (R&D) tax reliefs to help customers understand: 

  • what qualifies as R&D 
  • how to claim correctly 
  • what the new merged scheme entails   

The webinars will also include the enhanced support available for R&D intensives schemes. 

Watch HMRC webinars for tax agents and advisers on GOV.UK.

Investment Zone direct tax offer

The Investment Zone programme is designed to grow the economy whilst empowering local places and supporting levelling up. This is done by building knowledge intensive clusters which build on the existing strengths of each area.     

The package of tax reliefs available in designated special tax sites within Investment Zones has been carefully designed to bring forward new investment by reducing the cost of doing business. Local government and research institutions can select from a flexible menu of interventions, including the tax offer, when designing their Investment Zone proposal.  

As announced at Autumn Statement 2023, the Investment Zone programme has been extended from 5 to 10 years. Each English Investment Zone will be provided with a £160 million envelope over 10 years. This can be used flexibly between spending on interventions such as skills, research and development and local infrastructure, dependent on local need. This single optional offer of tax incentives is scalable based on the number of eligible sites.

Capital Allowances

Two Capital Allowances will be available where qualifying conditions to claim the reliefs are met. The first tax incentive is a 100% first year allowance for qualifying expenditure on plant or machinery primarily for use in Investment Zone special tax sites, known as Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA). The second incentive is a 10% enhanced rate of Structures and Buildings Allowances (SBAs) for qualifying expenditure on non-residential structures and buildings situated in Investment Zone special tax sites.  

The Capital Allowances will be available for new investment made between the date the special tax site designation takes effect and the special tax site’s end date.

Employer National Insurance contributions

An employer will be able to claim a zero rate of secondary Class 1 National Insurance contributions on the earnings of eligible employees up to £25,000 per annum. This will apply to employers with a business premises in an Investment Zone special tax site, where the conditions to claim the relief are met.   

The National Insurance contributions relief will be available for all new employees employed between the date the special tax site designation takes effect and the special tax site’s end date. 

The employee: 

  • must be a new hire whose employment starts on or after 6 April 2022 and before the special tax site’s end date 

  • cannot have worked for that employer (or an employer connected to the employer) in the previous 24 months 

At the start of the qualifying period, the employer must reasonably expect that the employee will spend a minimum 60% of their working time in the Investment Zone special tax site. The relief will apply for 36 months per eligible employee.   

The zero rate of secondary employer National Insurance contributions for new employees working in the Investment Zone special tax site will apply to their earnings above the National Insurance contributions secondary threshold. This is up to and including the Investment Zone upper secondary threshold (which is equivalent to the Freeport upper secondary threshold).

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

SDLT is a devolved tax and the relief will be available for certain qualifying purchases of land and buildings in an Investment Zone special tax site in England. SDLT relief will also be available when buying a lease for land or buildings, including renewing a long lease and any rental payments for the lease, where qualifying conditions are met.   

SDLT relief will be available for purchases between the date the special tax site designation takes effect and the special tax site’s end date.    

Guidance will be available to self-assess eligibility for claiming these reliefs in April 2024.  

Read more about Investment Zone special tax sites with enhanced tax and National Insurance contributions reliefs and the Investment Zones policy prospectus.

Stopping paper repayment notifications for Corporation Tax and Self Assessment

We’re changing how we let you and your clients know we’ve issued a Corporation Tax or Self Assessment repayment by: 

  • BACS 
  • credit card 
  • debit card 

There is no change to the repayment process itself, so customers will still receive any monies owed to them as normal.  

From 8 April 2024, we’ll no longer send a letter notifying you or your client of a repayment, as these letters often arrive after the repayment has been made, leading to confusion and increased contact from customers.  

Customers will still receive repayments into their chosen bank account or credit card balance as usual and can see any transactions in their online account

As agents you can also review transactions on your clients’ behalf on your HMRC online services for agents account.

Mandating the payrolling of benefits in kind from April 2026

As set out in the Financial Secretary to the Treasury’s tax simplification update on 16 January, the government is expanding the current payrolling process for the reporting and payment of Income Tax and Class 1A National Insurance Contributions on benefits in kind.  This will mean that the payrolling of benefits in kind (BiKs) will be mandated from April 2026.   

More information is available about the Simplification Update statement on the website.

Payrolling the Income Tax due on benefits in kind is currently available to employers on a voluntary basis. Those who do not wish to payroll are still able to file form P11D at the end of the year. Class 1A National Insurance contributions cannot currently be payrolled so a P11D(b) form needs to be submitted at the end of the year. Considering the recent announcement, HMRC encourages anyone who can begin payrolling voluntarily to do so in preparation.  

As part of the work to modernise and simplify the reporting and payment of Income Tax, agents will be able to register to payroll benefits in kind from April 2024. The 2025 to 2026 tax year will be the first year that you will be able to payroll benefits in kind. 

HMRC is engaging with stakeholders to discuss our proposals to inform design and delivery decisions. Draft legislation will be published later in the year as part of the usual tax legislation process. HMRC will also work with industry experts to produce guidance, which will be made available in advance of 2026.   

If you wish to provide feedback relating to the mandating of payroll software to report benefits you can email

How this will affect you

If you provide BiKs to your employees, Income Tax and Class 1A National Insurance contributions will have to be reported and paid in real time via payroll software from April 2026.  The 2025 to 2026 tax year will be the last year that we will accept P11Ds and P11D(b)s for annual reporting of BiKs in most cases.   

HMRC will help businesses to prepare for the transition by providing guidance in advance of 2026.

Restricting nominations and assignments — Research and Development (R&D) tax relief

As part of changes made by the Finance Act 2024, HMRC will no longer make payments of Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) R&D tax credit or Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) to nominees for claims submitted on or after 1 April 2024. New assignments of these payments made on or after 22 November 2023 are void. For affected claims, claimant companies will need to provide their own payment details on the CT600.  

This was announced on 22 November 2023 when a technical note was published. It was also flagged in Issue 116 of these updates, and at the Research and Development Communication Forum on 15 December 2023. 

This measure is subject to limited exceptions. If you believe one of the exceptions applies, you or your client must write to HMRC with the payment details your client wishes us to use, with evidence to show that the exception applies. The measure only applies to R&D tax credit and RDEC payments. HMRC will continue to honour nominee details for general Corporation Tax repayment purposes. 

Detailed technical guidance and the addresses you will need to provide written evidence will be made available at CIRD81805 – R&D tax relief: conditions to be satisfied: restriction of nominations and assignments.

Basis period reform — reporting on a tax year basis

HMRC is continuing to raise awareness for the basis period reform changes from April 2024. 

In February 2024, we sent a letter to our unrepresented customers who may be affected by basis period reform which gives information about the changes and signposts the GOV.UK support available.  

Customers can find guidance and support, including a YouTube video providing a short overview of the changes at get help with basis period reform on GOV.UK. 

This page also includes a link to an upcoming interactive guidance tool for self-employed customers, due to be released alongside Self Assessment tax returns in April. This will help customers calculate their transition profits.

Creative industry tax reliefs — mandatory online form for claims

A reminder that as of 1 April 2024 all claims for creative industry tax reliefs or creative industry expenditure credits must be submitted with supporting evidence alongside the Company Tax Return.

Use our new mandatory form to share supporting evidence, either before or on the same day the Company Tax Return is submitted.

Find the form and further information about the new creative industry expenditure credits on GOV.UK.

Borders and Trade

VAT margin scheme — your clients may need to take action before 30 April 2024

In September 2023, we wrote to businesses that buy used motor vehicles in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and move them to Northern Ireland (NI) for resale.  

We asked businesses to check their records for any vehicles held in stock since before 1 May 2023. This is because the way businesses account for VAT on sales of second-hand motor vehicles resold after 31 October 2023 has changed. 

Based on feedback from businesses we extended this date to 30 April 2024.  

This is a reminder that the VAT margin scheme cannot be used for these vehicles after 30 April 2024.

What your clients need to do

Any second-hand motor vehicles in stock, bought in Great Britain and moved to Northern Ireland before 1 May 2023, are only eligible for the VAT margin scheme if they are resold on or before 30 April 2024.  

If these vehicles are resold on or after 1 May 2024, your client will need to account for VAT on the full selling price.

Second-hand motor vehicle payment scheme

We introduced the second-hand motor vehicle payment scheme on 1 May 2023.  

Second-hand vehicles bought in Great Britain and moved to Northern Ireland for resale on or after 1 May 2023 may be eligible for a VAT-related payment under this scheme. This scheme has replaced the VAT margin scheme.  

VAT should be charged on the full selling price of the vehicle when sold. However, the VAT-related payment means that when the vehicle is resold in Northern Ireland, the net amount of VAT paid is the same as when using the VAT margin scheme.

Find more information on: 

All routes now open for Customs Declaration Service export migration

All businesses are now able to move their export declarations to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). 

HMRC have previously confirmed that businesses will have a 3 month period from being contacted to move to the Customs Declaration Service. Businesses will have until Tuesday 4 June 2024 to move to the Customs Declaration Service.   

After this date, customs declarations will no longer be able to be submitted through the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF).  

HMRC will continue to provide guidance to support businesses making declarations through Custom Declaration Service.

Changes to supplementary declarations

In May 2024, HMRC will introduce changes to the Simplified Customs Declaration Process (SCDP) and Simplified Export Declaration Process (SEDP). These changes reflect views gathered through a call for evidence held in 2022, that indicated businesses and the wider border industry would value more time to complete declarations and more flexibility in respect of aggregation timeframes.

The changes

Businesses will have more time to submit declarations. The Duty Deferment Account (DDA) payment date for all Customs Declaration Service (CDS) users will be extended from day 15 to day 16 of the calendar month, with an option to aggregate supplementary declarations across a calendar month.  

GOV.UK guidance will be updated in April 2024 with details of how to apply for monthly aggregation.   

If you have any queries about this change contact the Customs and Trade International Helpline on 0300 322 9434, or if you’re a large business contact your Customer Contact Manager or Customs and International Trade (CIT) Tax Specialist.

Making Tax Digital

Regulations on Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) is being introduced by HMRC to modernise the way small businesses and landlords manage their tax affairs. It will reduce the tax gap — the amount of tax that is due but goes unpaid — by minimising the amount lost to error or failure to take reasonable care.  

On 22 February 2024, the government laid regulations in Parliament on the requirements and scope of Making Tax Digital for ITSA. These change the timeline and income thresholds of MTD for ITSA. They also reflect design improvements and simplifications announced at the Autumn Statement in 2023. 

We also published a Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) to accompany the regulations.  

This means from April 2026, self-employed individuals and landlords with an income over £50,000 will be legally required to keep digital records and send simple quarterly updates to HMRC using compatible software. Those with an income over £30,000 will need to do this from April 2027. 

Making Tax Digital for ITSA aims to bring a range of benefits for taxpayers, both now and in the future. For example, using compatible software will help customers get their tax affairs right and better support them to plan their budgets.

Take part in testing

From April 2024, we are carrying out further testing to ensure that when the system is launched in April 2026, it provides agents and their clients with the best experience. We are encouraging agents to take part in the testing programme from April 2024. It will be a good opportunity to familiarise yourself and a small number of your clients with MTD for ITSA well ahead of 2026. This will help you to prepare your business and be ready to support the rest of your clients. During testing you will have access to a dedicated customer support team to help you through the process and your feedback will help shape the system. 

To take part in testing, agents need to be registered with HMRC for an agent services account (ASA). Find out how to create an agent services account on GOV.UK. You will also have to use the digital handshake to get authorised by your client to act on their behalf. Once you have done this, you can sign them up if they meet the criteria. 

More information on how to sign-up and who is eligible will be shared in future agent updates and on GOV.UK.

Removal of services from HMRC’s legacy Online Service for Agents

On 16 April 2024 we will remove some functionality from HMRC’s legacy VAT services. You will no longer be able to use this service to submit a VAT return, set up or amend a direct debit or change VAT registration details on behalf of your client. This does not impact services within the Agent Services Account (ASA).

From 16 May 2024 the remainder of services on the legacy portal will be withdrawn. These are:

  •  view account
  •  view submitted returns

Access to the links for Reverse Charges Sales List (RCSL), Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) and VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS) within the Online Service for Agents will be unaffected by the withdrawal of the VAT for Agents service from Online Service for Agents.

The reason for the change

We are in the process of decommissioning our outdated legacy computer system. Our customers were moved to a new IT platform when we introduced Making Tax Digital for VAT. Agents and a small number of customers still have access to the legacy VAT services. Amendments made in the legacy system do not automatically update customer records on the new platform. This can lead to a delay in updating records.

How this affects agents

Agents must use the ASA to transact on behalf of their VAT clients and should no longer use the legacy Online Service for Agents

You will be unable to create or amend Direct Debits on behalf of your client using the legacy Online Service for Agents. Your client will need to self-serve through their VAT Online Account, to adhere with banking regulations. The VAT C9 form is available if more than one signature is required on a Direct Debit Instruction (DDI). 

Be aware that amendments you make to client details via the Online Service for Agents until closure will not be automatically reflected in your clients’ records. This includes Direct Debit Instruction amendments, which could result in delayed payment to HMRC and prevent repayments reaching your client on time. Do not use this service to advise us of any changes with immediate effect.

Use your ASA to advise HMRC of changes to your clients VAT account, view their account, view submitted returns, print a VAT certificate, cancel a VAT registration, and print VAT returns on behalf of your client.

If you are not yet authorised to represent your client via the ASA, you will need to complete a digital handshake. More information on how to use the digital handshake is available on GOV.UK.

How this affects clients

The small number of clients who still have access to the legacy IT service will not be able to submit a VAT return, set up or amend a direct debit or change VAT registration details. Clients affected will be directed to the new service by relevant guidance.

VAT returns should be made through Making Tax Digital compatible software unless we have granted an exemption.

Clients must have a Government Gateway user ID and password to access the latest VAT online account.  Guidance on how to gain access to the online account through the Government Gateway is available on GOV.UK.

HMRC Agent Services

Helping contractors steer clear of tax avoidance schemes

If you have clients that are contractors, tell them about our ‘Tax avoidance - don’t get caught out’ campaign.

We have plenty of support on offer for contractors to:  

  • recognise what tax avoidance is by spotting the warning signs

  • get help to leave a tax avoidance scheme

  • report a suspicious scheme

We also publish details of named tax avoidance schemes, promoters, enablers and suppliers. This is not a complete list. There may be others that we cannot currently publish. Remember, HMRC never approves tax avoidance schemes for use.    

Share our supportive campaign resources to help us protect your clients from tax avoidance and an unexpected tax bill, including sharing or liking our posts on your relevant social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and X (Twitter).

Self Assessment 2023 to 2024 exclusions and special case documents for individuals, partnerships and trusts

These documents are produced for software developers working with Self Assessment online services, but we know that some tax agents also find them useful for clients with complicated tax affairs. 

Read further guidance on: 

GOV.UK One Login: a new way to access HMRC’s online services for some customers

GOV.UK One Login is a new way of signing into government services using an email address and password.   

Following the internal launch of GOV.UK One Login with a select group of HMRC colleagues in February, we expect to open GOV.UK One Login from May 2024 to some new individual customers who do not have a Government Gateway account. When asked, they will be prompted to create a GOV.UK One Login to access our online services.   

At present, this change is only for new individual customers and there is no action for you to complete. Agents will continue to use Government Gateway and will be asked to create a GOV.UK One Login at a later stage.   

If your clients already have a Government Gateway account, they should continue to access our online services in the same way they do now. At a later stage, they will be asked to create a GOV.UK One Login.  

Remember, as an agent, you should not use your client’s log in credentials or access their online tax account.   

Find out more about accessing HMRC online services using GOV.UK One Login.

Have your say — raising standards in the tax advice market: strengthening the regulatory framework and improving registration

As announced at Spring Budget 2024, the government has launched a consultation on raising standards in the tax advice market. The consultation seeks views on ways to strengthen the regulatory framework and improve registration.  

The consultation covers and asks questions about: 

  • potential approaches to raising standards 
  • whether the government should introduce a requirement for paid tax practitioners to be a member of a recognised professional body 
  • how professional bodies and the government can work together to raise standards of tax practitioners 
  • who should be included in any future requirements 
  • mandating registration with HMRC for tax practitioners who wish to interact with HMRC on behalf of their clients

You can find the raising standards in the tax advice market: strengthening the regulatory framework and improving registration consultation on GOV.UK.

Responding is easy, you can email your views to

The consultation closes on 29 May 2024.  

We are keen to hear from agents who are members of professional bodies and those who are not, so the government has the best possible insight to inform its decision on what will happen next.  

We look forward to hearing from you.

Tax relief on property repairs — correction letter

We wrote to approximately 2300 customers in November and December 2023 asking them to check their Self Assessment (SA) return for 2021 to 2022 to ensure they had claimed the correct amount of expenses for their property income.  

We provided examples of qualifying and non-qualifying expenditure, indicating where to find guidance and further information. This included advising that upgrading a central heating boiler from an older, less efficient model cannot be claimed as expenditure in your Self Assessment return.  

HMRC acknowledge that the example given about central heating boilers is ambiguous and could be interpreted in a way that was not intended. We apologise for this ambiguity and any uncertainty this has caused.  

We will issue a revised letter to landlords who were originally sent the letter to clarify the matter and will advise that alterations due to advancements in technology are generally treated as an allowable repair rather than an improvement if the functionality and character of the asset is broadly the same.  

The letter will also offer landlords an HMRC point of contact if further clarity is needed. It is important that HMRC’s compliance activity is delivered in line with our professional standards which reflect HMRC’s charter. We regularly assess the application of our professional standards to help us identify areas where improvement is needed. Where activity falls short of our standards, we take steps such as increased quality checking to prevent the same mistake from happening again. 

If you are unaware of this, contact Victoria Duxbury-Patel at

Support for customers who need extra help

We have principles of support for customers who need extra help. These set out our commitment to support customers according to their needs, and underpin the HMRC Charter.   

Find out how to get help and what extra support is available.

Tax Agent Toolkits

HMRC have 20 tax agent toolkits available for you to download and use. They have been designed to address the most common errors seen from previous years. They include checklists of the key issues to consider and links to HMRC technical guidance and manuals. 

Be aware that our toolkits are currently being updated. 

Here is the breakdown of toolkits by category:

By identifying the most common errors this may prompt a conversation between you and your clients to ensure submissions are correct.


Complain to HMRC

You can complain to HMRC.

To make a complaint to HMRC on behalf of your client you must be appointed as their Tax Advisor.

Where’s my reply for tax agents

Find out when you can expect to get a reply from HMRC to a query or request you have made. There is also a dedicated service for tax agents to:                                                                                                

  • register you as an agent to use HMRC Online Services 

  • process an application for authority to act on behalf of a client


You can check the latest updates to HMRC manuals or subscribe to automatic notification of changes. You can also suggest improvements for pages of our manuals by using the feedback options in the page footer.


Online training material and useful resources for tax agents and advisers 

HMRC videos on YouTube, online learning modules, and live and pre-recorded webinars are available for tax agents and advisers providing you with free help, learning and support on topical subjects.


National Insurance Services to Pensions Industry: countdown bulletins 

Countdown Bulletin 53 has been added to this collection.  

Revenue and Customs briefs 

These are briefs announcing changes in policy or setting out the legal background to an issue. They generally have a short lifespan, as announced changes are incorporated into permanent guidance and the brief is then removed.

Agent online forum and engagement

Improving the quality of agent forum posts

Work is continuing to improve the flow and response to potential systemic issues raised on the agent online forum. Improving the content and systemic focus of posts will assist in improving answers and response times.  

Guidance on how to structure effective posts is published in the following editions of agent update: 

  • agent update: 108 — posts should provide evidence to support investigation of potential systemic issue

  • agent update: 112 — avoid responsive posts of comment or opinion without any additional supporting evidence

  • agent update: 113 — posts must provide additional evidence of a different nature when seeking to reopen previously locked posts 

  • agent update: 114 — initial feedback on GOV.UK should be made using GOV.UK contact form before posting on the agent online forum

  • agent update: 116 — posts should be about a single issue, a separate post is required for follow on questions after an answer is provided

Agents using the agent online forum service are reminded to adhere to the terms and conditions and observe the guidance, to sustain and improve the quality of the service. Failure to adhere to the terms and conditions could result in access to the service being suspended or removed.

Providing feedback on information on GOV.UK

Before posting about GOV.UK content on the agent online forum, feedback should be provided directly to GOV.UK. To receive a reply directly from a subject expert on GOV.UK content agents are requested to complete the GOV.UK contact form, accessed from the contact link at the bottom of each page.  

Copy a link to the page into the form and provide your feedback or suggestions on the content. You will receive an acknowledgement and a HMRC subject matter expert will email a response once your feedback has been reviewed.

Unable to use SA1 form and Agent Dedicated Line (ADL) not putting client back into Self Assessment (SA)

Issues Overview Group members discussed the SA1 rejection issue at their meeting on 7 February 2024. Members have provided example cases which are helping to identify causes and eventual resolution.  

It has been established that the issues being experienced are primarily around re-registrations and rejection notifications.


A client with an existing Unique Tax Reference (UTR) coming back to Self Assessment. A fix has been implemented which will allow an SA1 to be received without receiving a rejection notice, provided that the existing UTR is not entered.

Rejection notifications

Rejection notifications are being received when carrying out initial online registrations for new registrations as well as re-registrations. The rejection message received states ‘Please check the information that you have provided is correct’. This error will take time to investigate and resolve. We ask you to continue to advise HMRC when this issue occurs.

Marriage Allowance

In line with the updated guidance in previous agent updates. We have updated the Marriage Allowance guidance on the GOV.UK pages.  

The changes that have been made are on the: 

  • ‘How to apply’ page, in the section ‘Apply through Self Assessment’ 

  • ‘If your circumstances change’ page, in the section ‘How to cancel’

GDPR bulk deletion exercise

The bulk deletion exercise required for General Data Protection Register (GDPR) is now complete. Any agent who did not opt-in will get the error 404 message when trying to access the agent online forum. Those agents will need to re-register. For some posts and threads an author will not be shown.  These are posts from agents who have to re-register.

Contact Information for professional and representative bodies

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