Last month’s Digital Support Update

Nov 06, 2017

This week we feature the October 2017 Digital Support for agents and business update which looks at the latest news on Talking Points, the online Agent Forum and Agent Toolkits.

“Digital Support for Business & Agents – Agent Team October Update for VCG

Talking Points

  • A variety of subjects were covered in September, including Option to Tax, National Minimum Wage and Making Tax Digital for Business – the basics.
  • Over 2,000 agents joined us for the live Talking Points on Making Tax Digital for Business, over a two day period.
  • We also joined forces with Pensions Regulator colleagues to deliver an update on Automatic Enrolment duties for new employers and colleagues from the Home Office and the City of London Police delivered a Talking Points on Cyber Security.
  • There were over 6500 agent participations in live Talking Points meetings during September.
  • The monthly ‘re-cap’ email, including links to recent Talking Points recordings, was issued on 21 September to all agents that are subscribed to our weekly invitations, providing them with an opportunity to catch up.
  • November’s programme includes:
    • Company Tax Returns Online - Looking at the CT online filing service for agents and how to identify and resolve many of the common online filing errors. The meeting will also look at the common reasons for rejection of company tax returns and how to avoid late filing penalties.
    • The Patent Box post 2016 – We will be talking through the new rules, including the qualifying criteria, the records that need to be kept, and the computation.
    • Due to high interest, there will be a repeat meeting on Income from Property: minimising the risk for individuals. Dealing specifically with expenses and deductions, allowances and reliefs.
  • Our forward-look schedule, publicising Talking Points currently arranged between now and the end of December, will be published on by the end of October. We will of course accommodate other meetings in the programme where we can to meet demand and communicate those opportunities by email.
  • Our SA18 programme of Talking Points will begin in early December and we will be running several meetings on topics of interest between then and the end of January.

Agent Forum (AF)

  • As at mid-October 2017, the Forum has 165 Agent subscribers, up 25 since last progress report. And 85 HMRC staff, up 38 since last progress report, driven primarily by an internal recruitment drive to encourage key stakeholder engagement to both use the Forum and in seeking more Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to provide issue resolution responses. It has attracted over 8.2k views (up 4k), 660(up +300) posted messages on 100+ current topics; which are moderated daily with appropriate responses given, as determined by subject matter, related traffic generated and referrals provided by line of business.
  • The AF will be mobilised during DSBA’s 2016/17 EoY SA filing programme (SA18), which provides help and support to businesses and agents. This is an annual event run throughout January and includes segmented out bound emails promoting live webinars, self-help modules, YouTube videos, Toolkits, Twitter and forum messaging across a range of topical subjects including but not limited to, On-Line filing procedures, Expenses & Benefits, Income from Property, National Insurance etc.
  • We continue to work closely with the Issues Overview Group (IOG), made up of Professional Bodies (PBs), a number of whom also sit on the VCG and HMRC representatives.It jointly determines what the ‘widespread’ issues priority classification should be, for earliest resolution.
  • The Digital Support for Businesses and Agents (DSBA) Agent Team, staffed by 2.5 FTE Issues Resolution Managers (IRMs), moderate and run the forum. As and when required we bring in extra cover from our Agent Account Managers (AAMs) team to ensure we maintain response service levels, when going to Lines of Business for issues resolution.

Agent Toolkits

  • Agent Toolkits continue undergoing a ‘refresh’ programme to update their content in accordance with current compliance practices and taxpayer obligations. The existing product portfolio is being expanded to cover subjects hitherto not considered, following customer insight findings and research. This channel is also being considered for migration onto a new digital platform, to make it more user friendly to use. Significant promotion activity, including the next issue of Agent Update (AU62) – due out this month - has been successfully undertaken, in raising the Toolkit brand profile, within the Agent community, together with making them easier for agents to access via the GOV.UK website.”