How to navigate the .GOV maze | Applied

How to navigate the .GOV maze

Kate Upcraft from AccountingWeb puts together some top tips that might offset the time you spend on .Gov filling in feedback forms – which do work sometime so don’t be discouraged – and wading through search results.

First off, use ‘filter by organisation’ box this can reduce several hundred results to dozens, which is a relief. I also like the email subscription as it allows me to see everything that HMRC have published that day, not just the selected items that HMRC decided could make it onto ‘What’s new’, often days after the announcement.

One of the structured email forms I’ve used a few times lately and that has always delivered is the ‘my tax code is wrong’. In my case it was to assist employees who needed spit allowances over two jobs. Completing the text box with the relevant suggested split has always led to correct P6s arriving with a couple of weeks.

Staying on the tax code theme employees with company cars should be aware that they should consider using the new service that HMRC is trialling to tell them that they have been allocated, changed or ceased to have a company car. Whilst the employer will provide that information via the P46 (car) form and post year end on the P11D, these are quarter/annual return windows so it is always good advice for an employee to let HMRC know of a car change immediately given the potential tax impact of the benefit.

For employees, too, the change of circumstances structured email is also vital. With the change of policy from April 2015 in respect of address usage that I mentioned in my last article, some employees will need to use the form to ‘lock’ their correspondence address with HMRC to one of their choosing rather than have this overwritten by the address provided by their employer or employers via the FPS. To amend a name, marital status or gender of course the form is obligatory for employees (or a letter or phone call) as these personal details can never be amended if supplied by employers, only if the employee provides them direct to HMRC.

Employers were glad to see the various calculators on the HMRC website given a reprieve and moved over to .Gov particularly the PAYE, NI and SMP calculators and they are all helpfully on one page. Staying on the maternity theme the tables that provide all the linked dates for SMP purposes can be found here and for SSP. I am bound to say though that it was a pity the SMP calculator was not up to date before the start of the tax year so that accurate results could be given looking ahead to 2015/16.

Come July HMRC hope that many employers will chose to use the online registration tool to advise them of the adoption of payrolling for benefits next April and within the same month (July 2015 that is) it is the deadline for the move to online share reporting via the PAYE online portal.

Finally there has been press coverage lately of a problem with one of the new i-forms (P55) to claim a tax refund if you have had an incorrect tax deduction applied to a flexi-drawdown or uncrystallised pension fund lump sum withdrawal under the new pension freedoms. HMRC have promised to review the form and many of us would like the Government Digital Service think again about the design of the new i-forms that you can’t print off as a pdf anymore so you have no idea what data to assemble before you sit down at the PC. Aside from the pension freedom refund forms there is also the generic tax refund online process.

So whilst .Gov and i-forms aren’t perfect yet, dealing with HMRC digitally is going to be the way forward as thy have less and less resources to answer the phone or respond to our letters. I will be fascinated to see how digital tax accounts progress with the new government.

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