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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Agent operational guidance: the role of agents: contact with agents

Our customers’ affairs are private and confidential, so you must have an authority from the customer before you can talk to or write to their agent. Whenever you deal with an agent you should always check the head of duty record for authority prior to disclosing any information.

We encourage authorisations to be set up online. Where this isn’t possible, for example for tax credits customers, a paper form 64-8 is an alternative authority, or the customer can put the details in a letter. The letter must contain all the details set out on form 64-8 and, in particular, in what capacity the agent is acting. There is also form FBI 2 for the PAYE/CIS for employers’ online service only.

Where a customer wishes to appoint a temporary tax adviser to deal with their tax affairs in relation to a compliance check, they can use form Comp1, see Tax adviser authorisation for compliance checks.

An agent may be authorised to act in respect of one tax but not others. If you are a caseworker involved in cross tax compliance checks you should be careful to tell the agent that you are conducting a check, which includes the tax that they are authorised to deal with, without providing specific detail of the other taxes involved. For specific guidance about dealing with agents during compliance checks, see CH201500.

When a customer dies any authority becomes invalid from the date of death. The personal representative will require a new authority.

There is more information on the HMRC website about agent authorisation.