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Completing your tax returns on your own can be tricky, especially if you know very little about the world of HMRC and tax. Which is understandable because it can be super confusing!

The good news is you can seek help – whether that be from a professional agent, a friend, or a family member. But how do you go about authorising someone to deal with HMRC on your behalf? Let’s dive in.

You can authorise a paid agent, family member, or friend to deal with HMRC on your behalf. When you ‘authorise’ someone, you’re letting HMRC know they have permission to discuss your tax affairs with the person you appoint. HMRC won’t be able to share this information if you don’t approve it.

A paid agent is most commonly a professional accountant or a tax advisor, but you can also authorise a friend or relative to manage your taxes online as a ‘trusted helper’.

Alternatively, if you need assistance asking HMRC questions or need some help filling out your tax forms, you can authorise a friend, family member, or voluntary organisation to act as an intermediary between you and HMRC, but while still having control of your tax returns.

Although you are giving permission for a tax agent or adviser to act on your behalf, you still retain full responsibility for your tax affairs and any dealings with HMRC. Yes, you have an agreement with your agent to make submissions correctly and on time, but should they fail to do so, any HMRC penalties will be issued to you, not your agent. So choosing a reliable, professional accountant is essential!

Whichever route you go down, you’ll still be legally responsible for your own taxes.

You’ll need to ensure they meet HMRC’s standards for agents before allowing them to act on your behalf with HMRC. Once you’re satisfied they meet the requirements, your agent will normally talk you through the authorisation process.

There are different ways they can get authorisation from you, including:

  • A digital handshake (this is where your agent sends you a link that allows you to authorise them to deal with HMRC on your behalf)
  • Online
  • Authorising them through your business tax account
  • Paper forms
You should never give out your Government Gateway ID or password.

A trusted helper may be beneficial for you if you would like a friend or family member to double-check that you:

  • Are paying the correct amount of income tax
  • Have updated your personal tax account
  • Have claimed any tax refunds you’re eligible for

A trusted helper can ensure everything is up to date on your account and, most importantly, accurate. That way, you can avoid any run-ins with HMRC.

Once you’ve chosen a friend or family member to help you with taxes, they’ll need to register to manage your tax online.

You may need help with your tax returns temporarily but don’t fancy hiring an accountant or asking a friend to become a trusted helper of your account. If you’re looking for short-term help, you’ll need to meet with the person you’ve asked and call HMRC together. This is so they can both identify the person who will be assisting you, while also confirming you’re happy for them to represent you.

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Yes, you can hire different agents for different taxes. For example, one agent could assist you with your Corporation Tax while the other deals with PAYE. It’s completely up to you, but you’ll need to ensure they are authorised and HMRC is aware.

Removing a tax agent from your account is pretty straightforward, but varies depending on how you authorised them, and what they’re authorised for.

Removing an agent’s authorisation after a digital handshake

If you authorised them through a digital handshake for things such as Making Tax Digital for VAT, or for managing a trust or estate, you need to remove them by:

  • Logging into your business tax account
  • Then clicking ‘Manage account’ at the top of the page
  • Selecting ‘Who can deal with HMRC for you’
  • Selecting ‘Remove authorisation’
  • Clicking ‘Yes’ to confirm you want to remove your agent’s authorisation
  • Then hit ‘Continue’

If your agent deals with more than one type of tax for you, and you want them removed from both, select ‘View who can deal with HMRC for you.’

Removing an agent after authorising them to complete your Self Assessment and Company Tax Return

To remove them you:

  • Log into your business tax account using your Government Gateway ID and password
  • Head to ‘Manage account’
  • Scroll to tax agents and click on ‘Add new or change tax agents’
  • Select the tax you’d like to remove the agent from
  • Click ‘Manage agents’
  • Select ‘Remove’
  • Then you need to select ‘Remove agent’

If you need to remove your agent from more than one tax service, select ‘Return to list of taxes and schemes.’
Your accountant can talk you through the process of authorising an agent. If you don’t have one yet, you can find out more about our online accountancy services by calling us on 020 33455 4047, or get an instant quote online.

About The Author

Rachael Anderson

A creative content writer specialising across business, finance and software topics. I have a love for all things writing, and creating engaging, easy to understand content that helps everyday people! Learn more about Rachael.

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