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15th February 2022
How to apply for a New Agent Code Louise Woodhouse guides you through the process of becoming a self-assessment tax agent....

Adding the service of Self-Assessment Tax completion to any bookkeeping practice can make a huge difference to potential earnings. However, setting up properly to offer the service is not always straight forward. Our taxation tutor (ICB Tutor of the year 2021/22) and practicing bookkeeper, Louise Woodhouse, provides an invaluable insight into setting up as a tax agent.

A message from Louise:
When I decided to retrain as a bookkeeper, I knew that I wanted to offer as wide a range of services to my potential clients, knowing that would provide me with the opportunity to maximise my potential earnings. Since qualifying, my thought process has been proved correct as my business has gone from strength to strength, and a significant reason for that is my ability to offer the extra taxation services.

Here are a few tips that I hope you will benefit from:

Get adequately qualified:
Completing a tax return is definitely not something you can blag, so make sure you get your knowledge up to date. I tutor a SAT course, where a final award is provided either by ICB (exam based) or under CPD (non-exam based). I don’t mind saying that these courses are excellent, both for gaining the knowledge/qualification and also for ensuring you are prepared to implement your skills in practice.

Are you allowed to offer Tax services?
It is vital that you only offer services that you are permitted to under your MLR cover. Examples are as follows:
ICB – you need to be MICB and have completed their Self-Assessment Taxation exam.

AAT – You are not permitted to offer any tax service under their Bookkeeping Licence (AATQB). Under their Accounting license you must prove work experience in that area before offering it as a service.

HMRC & IAB – As long as you have the capabilities to offer the service, you are covered. As mentioned above, it’s essential that you don’t offer this service if you are not qualified, our CPD course is perfect for this scenario.

If you have any questions, please contact your Governing Body to seek advice. If your governing body does not permit  you to offer certain services, there is a possibility that you can switch and we can help advise on that process. Call us on 0141 248 5200.

Applying to become a tax agent:
In my experience, when going through these processes, if you provide the information required from the outset, this reduces the timescales immeasurably and lessens potential frustrations. Please make sure that you use headed paper, with your business details. None of the information is optional. The following is a template I used, and it served me well:

Address it should be sent to:

HM Revenue and Customs
Central Agent Maintainer Team
National Contributions and Employer Officer
HM Revenue and Customs
United Kingdom

Dear Sir/Madam

Application for a New Agent Code – Self Assessment

I have recently set up a new bookkeeping practice and I would like to apply for a national agent code, in order that I can act for self-assessment clients in their dealings with HMRC.

The details of my practice are as follows:

Proprietor:                 (your name)

Trading Name:          (your practice name)

Business Address:  

Business Tel. No.:   


Supervisor for the purposes of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007:  E.g., ICB, AAT, HMRC, etc.

ICB (or equivalent) Membership number: 

ICB (or equivalent) Practice License No.:


Agent Account User ID:      

Agent ID:                               

Agent Name:                         Louise Woodhouse

Taxes:                                     Self-Assessment (SA)


If you should require any further information, then please do not hesitate in contacting me.

I would like to thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Yours faithfully,"

Good luck to everyone who is taking this journey!!

for details on all ICB Level 4 options, including Self-Assessment Tax, Financial Statements, Corporation Tax and Business Insight.