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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Agent operational guidance: High Volume Agents

High Volume Agents (HVAs) deal with large numbers of clients, often for a short time only, and make repayment claims or submit returns that generate repayments.

HVAs usually

  • provide services on a commission or ‘no repayment no fee’ basis
  • target clients in a specific trade or industry, for example the construction industry
  • submit high numbers of repayment claims relating to expenses incurred in their clients’ employment or trade
  • receive the tax repayment as a nominee for their client
  • are not members of a professional taxation accountancy body, although some of their staff may hold professional qualifications
  • have little or no face to face contact with their clients as much of their business is carried out electronically.

A repayment claim can be made using any of the following

  • P87
  • stand alone claim by correspondence
  • Self Assessment tax return
  • unsolicited return.

The range of expenses claimed that results in a repayment usually include

  • travel
  • subsistence
  • overnight accommodation
  • cost of food
  • use of home
  • wife, civil partner or relative’s wages
  • cost of tools
  • protective or specialist clothing
  • laundry
  • telephone costs.

Many HVAs have trained staff who are fully aware of the legitimate claims that can be made in their clients’ business area. They prepare accounts accurately and swiftly for a competitive price. However, based on evidence that HMRC has gathered since 2009, many HVAs present a high risk to both HMRC and their clients.

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HMRC will continue to address the issues specific HVAs present through an ongoing programme of risk assessment and agent meetings.

Guidance about how to report your concerns where an HVA is involved in suspicious repayment or registration activity is at CH850000.

Where an HVA demonstrates poor technical ability, (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , see CH845000.

If you suspect a tax agent of dishonest conduct see CH880400, you must contact the Agent Compliance Team (ACT).

If an HVA is rude, abusive, threatening or violent, see CH855000.