Agent services accountants - everything accountants need to know

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The Agent Services Account (ASA) is something every accountant should be familiar with. Those with clients who are already impacted by the Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme will already know all about it, as will any who need to use MTD software for accountants.

But with MTD set to extend even further over the next few years, and in light of the government’s stated commitment to digitising the entire tax system, even those whose clients are currently exempt from MTD should know the basics. 

In this article, we’ll run through what an Agent Services Account is, why you need one and how to set one up.

What is an Agent Services Account? 

An Agent Services Account enables an accountant to use government services as a tax agent on behalf of their clients. 

However, you don’t need an asa to access all the HMRC services you’ll need to use as a tax agent. 

For the time being, at least, you can still use your existing Government Gateway user ID to do things like fill out VAT returns for businesses not required to comply with MTD for VAT. This is the same account you use to sign in to HMRC online services for agents.

Still, an Agent Services Account is the only way to access a growing range of services, including:

  • Making Tax Digital services

  • agent authorisation for MTD 

  • registration of trusts and estates

  • services to pay capital gains on UK residential property 

Note: Here, MTD services include the pilots for Making Tax Digital for VAT and for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) – two schemes due to roll out over the next few years.

Who needs to create an account?

Right now, an Agent Services Account is only essential if you’re:

  • working on behalf of clients who are or will soon be affected by Making Tax Digital 

  • registering trusts or estates online with HMRC

But this doesn’t mean all other accountants should just ignore ASAs. HMRC’s commitment to digitising the UK’s tax system entirely means it’s reasonable to expect the number of services accessed through the ASA to just keep increasing. 

There are already plans to extend Making Tax Digital to: 

  • all those registered for Self Assessment tax returns, earning above £50,000 from April 2026

  • all those registered for Self Assessment tax returns, earning above £30,000, from April 2027

  • all businesses that pay Corporation Tax likely in the following years

While 2026 might seem a way off, you should remember that it’s important to be set up and ready before the deadline so you can make sure your clients are fully compliant with the new rules and make their transition as smooth as possible. 

On top of this, there’s every chance that HMRC will move to consolidate those services you can currently access through your Government Gateway user ID into the new ASA system. 

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How to sign up for an Agent Services Account

Signing up for an asa is a good idea, then, even for those who don’t represent clients likely to be affected by MTD any time soon. 

But how do you sign up for an Agent Services Account?

Let’s break it down into steps. 

What do I need to set up an Agent Services Account?

Before you can get started with setting up your ASA, there are a few things you’ll need to have on hand. 

You’ll need the following items: 

  • the Government Gateway login details you use for your HMRC online services for agents account

  • the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) for your firm and the postcode associated with it

  • the name of your firm’s money laundering supervisory body, your firm’s membership number and your renewal date

You’ll also need your company registration number if you’re registered as a company and your VAT number if you’re registered for VAT. 

Those applying on behalf of a sole trader or business partnership or registered as a member of a limited liability partnership, meanwhile, you’ll need their National Insurance number and date of birth. 

Note: You’ll only be able to create an ASA if your firm is registered for money laundering supervision or has an application currently pending. 

How do I create an Agent Services Account?

Once you have everything you need in place, you can get started. 

Simply follow these steps to get your ASA set up:

  1. Go to the government’s create an Agent Services Account page.

  2. Click the ‘Create now’ button. 

  3. Log in with your HMRC online services for agent details. 

  4. Enter your firm’s details.

Once you’ve done all that, you’re all set to sign in to your agent services account and start using it. The website has an option to carry over your existing clients, and you’ll be able to do that in bulk. 

Note: Before you finish, make a secure note of your new agent reference number and updated Government Gateway credentials. You’ll need these to get back into your account in future. 

We hope you’ve found this guide to agent services accounts helpful. If you follow the process we’ve laid out, it’s simple to set one up, and doing so is very worthwhile. 

Those whose clients will soon be affected by MTD don’t need to be convinced, but those not in that position should take note of HMRC’s direction of travel too. Even if you don’t see yourself acting on behalf of clients that could be affected by the MTD extensions currently planned, you should note that the scheme is set to run on and on. 

In short, you might not be affected now, but there’s a high chance you will be in the future – especially as your business continues to grow. That’s why you should get up to speed with how the new ASA works as soon as possible.

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