How to register and get authorised as a tax agent to deal with HMRC

Find out what you need to do to become a tax agent and act on your client's behalf.

If you’re new to acting as a tax agent, there are some things you must do before you can register. Find out what steps you must take before you can register as a tax agent with HMRC.

If you handle tax for a friend or family member you must use the Trusted Helper service to get registered and act on their behalf.

You can access tax services through the agents services account and HMRC online services for agents. You may need to register for both depending on the tax service you want to use.

If staff members or contractors manage your business tax affairs, they should use the business tax account for the business rather than using an agent services account.

Register for an agent services account

You can use an agent services account to register and get authorised for:

  • Making Tax Digital for VAT
  • Manage a Capital Gains Tax on UK Property
  • Making Tax Digital for Income Tax
  • Manage a trust or estate
  • Plastic Packaging Tax

Register for an HMRC online services account for agents account

Register for agent codes and reference numbers

You must have an agent code before you can set up agent authorisation. Find out how to get an agent code for:

If you need to arrange authorisations for more than one of these, you’ll need to apply for separate codes for each tax service.

You’ll need your code for both online and paper authorisations.

VAT agent reference numbers

If you’re VAT registered you’ll need to use your VAT number to set up agent authorisation for:

  • VAT ― to submit VAT returns and change clients’ registration details
  • VAT EU Refunds
  • Notification of Vehicle Arrivals
  • VAT Mini One Stop Shop

If you’re not VAT-registered, you’ll need to apply for a VAT agent reference number before you can set up authorisation.

Agent reference numbers

You need an agent reference number for:

  • Machine Games Duty for agents
  • Gambling Tax for agents

You’ll get your agent reference for these as part of the registration process for each service within HMRC online services for agents.

When you need to use your agent code or reference number

Your agent code or reference number is specific to you as an agent, and the type of authorisation. You do not need a separate code for each client.

For example, if you have a Self Assessment agent code you must quote that code on authorisations for each Self Assessment client.

Create Government Gateway ID

You’ll need to create a Government Gateway ID in order to access HMRC online services for agents.

Enrol for online services

Log into HMRC online services for agents using your Government Gateway ID. For each service you need to use, you’ll need to enrol using your agent code or reference.

You will receive a letter from HMRC with a pin number which is used to activate the service. The service will then become available in ‘services you can use’.

Enrol for each service you need to use:

You can also register for the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings online service.

Get authorisation from your client

After you’ve enrolled, your clients can authorise you to act on their behalf for each service.

Options for getting authorisation are:

You can use HMRC paper forms to get authorised for:

  • individual, partnership and trust tax affairs
  • requests to HMRC for information on the High Income Child Benefit Charge to help calculate the charge
  • tax credits
  • Corporation Tax
  • PAYE for employers
  • Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) for contractors
  • VAT

You can get authorised as an agent online for these services:

  • Self-Assessment for agents
  • Corporation Tax for agents
  • PAYE for employers
  • Construction Industry Scheme
  • Employment Related Securities for employers
  • VAT for agents
  • VAT EU Refunds for Agents
  • Notification of Vehicle Arrivals
  • VAT mini one stop shop union schemes for agents
  • VAT mini one stop shop non-union schemes for agents

You can use your Business Tax Account to get authorised for these services:

  • PAYE for employers
  • VAT
  • Self- Assessment

You can only add an agent to activated enrolments.

Once you’re authorised, you can use HMRC online services to:

  • manage your client lists
  • file returns
  • update a client’s details
  • receive information about your client from HMRC

You can also contact HMRC by phone or post on behalf of your client.

Give your staff access

You can give your staff administrator or standard user access to help manage your client lists.

Find out more information about what roles and access you can give your staff.

Published 1 January 2014
Last updated 1 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Plastic Packaging Tax has been added to the list of taxes agents can access through the agent services account.

  2. The page has been updated to remove information for clients. Information about changing agent authorisation, creating online administrators and standard users has been moved to new pages.

  3. The page has been updated with information about moving clients between client lists.

  4. We have added guidance for agents managing their client's Capital Gains Tax on UK property account.

  5. Guidance about changes to your agent authorisations has been updated to make clear the changes you can make by phone.

  6. Information has been added on how a client can remove or amend their agent's authorisation.

  7. Updated to include link to new 'Register for the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings online service' guidance.

  8. Agent authorisation guidance has been updated to improve style and layout of content.

  9. The address agents apply to, to obtain an agent code for Self Assessment and Corporation Tax has changed.

  10. First published.