In the run up to MTD there has been a great deal of criticism from tax agents about various aspects of the new system. However, one outcome that will be welcomed is the planned availability of accessing taxpayer data direct from HMRC’s system.

For example, accountants will be able to download a client’s PAYE information which can then be dropped into their tax return – and it will only take one click. There are five new API feeds detailing PAYE which HMRC is currently testing, intending them to be available in the next few weeks. Once in place, accountants will be able to access details about:

  • Individual employment including employer name and PAYE tax reference.
  • Individual income. Each source of PAYE employment will be shown, plus income totals from private pensions, incapacity benefit and jobseeker’s allowance.
  • Individual benefits. This will show data on any benefit-in-kind for each employment that has been reported to HMRC on a P11D.
  • Individual tax. This will show tax deducted at source from each employment, plus totals deducted from private pensions and Incapacity Benefit.
  • National Insurance. This will be useful for taxpayers whose income is from both employment and self-employment. The total earnings from Class 1 NIC and details of any Class 2 NICs will be shown.

The API for marriage allowance, which has been available since October 2016, will give a further strand of information.

The new API feeds will provide all the necessary information to pre-populate a tax return and to complete the main SA100 form. The information will be sufficient to make enquiries less likely and should also reduce the risk of penalties.

Accessing the data feeds should be straightforward, following a two-step verification process. The agent will be directed to a login page where they will be asked to enter their Gateway ID and password. They will have to set up a second tier of security and opt for their login codes to be sent to a landline, a mobile phone or a verification app.

Once the logins are in place, authorisation to access a specific data feed will last for 18 months. The aim is to have the system in place as soon as possible so that agents may access clients’ information for the years before 2016/17. It is not yet possible to state when information for the most recent year will be added but it is anticipated that most of the data will be available in August following the end of the tax year.

HMRC is beginning a controlled roll-out of the five new API feeds, initially giving data for the years before 2016/17. Information about the most recent year will be added in due course.