Six free toolkits to help agents avoid common errors when filing clients’ returns were published on 17th May 2010 by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The toolkits, which concern 2009-10 returns, are downloadable from http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/agents/prereturn-support-agents.htm, and cover:
• Capital Gains Tax for land and buildings
• Marginal Small Companies’ relief
• Private and Personal expenditure
• Trust and Estates
• Capital Gains Tax for Trusts and Estates (supplement)
• Capital Allowances for plant and machinery

HMRC intend to publish a series of these toolkits to cover the areas of tax which they consider, based on their compliance activities, represent high risk of error for agents.

HMRC have worked closely with agents in practice and the accountancy and tax professional bodies in developing these toolkits, which were pilot tested by around 600 accountancy firms, tax practitioners and solicitors during the course of the last year. The toolkits attracted positive feedback from the firms involved, particularly in finding the toolkits useful for helping to identify potential errors and risk areas and for use as a training tool.

That is not to say that every agent involved in the pilot test saw benefits, some were concerned that they may raise costs. But those that used the toolkits found that in practice this was generally not the case.

The toolkits are entirely voluntary and do not have to be used. It is also worth noting that they represent HMRC’s views – the views of tax professionals may differ. But they do provide a very useful insight into the errors that HMRC commonly see and can only help as a tool for firms in ensuring that their processes are as robust as they can be. Their use can also provide evidence of reasonable care, although firms should note that they do not have to be used to demonstrate this and many firms will already have existing processes in this regard.

More toolkits

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have published 3 further toolkits to help agents avoid common errors when completing clients’ returns.

The toolkits are downloadable from http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/agents/prereturn-support-agents.htm, and cover:
• VAT Input Tax
• Inheritance Tax
• Expenses and benefits from employment

The toolkits issued earlier this year cover:
• Capital Gains Tax for land and building
• Marginal Small Companies relief
• Private and Personal expenditure
• Capital Allowances for plant and machinery
• Capital Gains Tax for Trust and Estates (supplement)
• Trust and Estates

Interest in these initial toolkits has been high with over 21,000 downloads of these toolkits from the HMRC website in the first 3 months.

HMRC intend to publish a series of these toolkits to cover the areas of tax which they consider, based on their compliance activities, represent high risk of error for agents.

The toolkits are entirely voluntary.