From this week, HMRC extended their facilities for dealing with informal representatives such as family and friends of elderly or disadvantaged taxpayers – this is known as ‘deemed consent’.
Subject to security and identity checks, ‘deemed consent’ allows representatives to speak to HMRC by phone and request written details of the taxpayer’s record, duplicate tax returns, copies of letters and forms or book a home visit although HMRC have an obligation to respect taxpayer confidentiality and therefore can only send written details to the taxpayer themselves, not to their representative.
Before HMRC originally launched their deemed consent service last November, security processes for the authorisation of ‘friends and family’ representatives were outdated and onerous including extensive form filling, confusing security passwords and long delays. Calls were therefore made by voluntary sector bodies for greater flexibility for vulnerable taxpayers to enable representation.
This useful scheme is in place for income tax matters, and has now been extended to include NIC matters. However , there are limitations – enquiries relating to tax credits, child benefit and VAT are still out of scope, and taxpayers still have to address these themselves, however vulnerable or incapacitated they may be.