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Offline Rob  
#1 Posted : 14 November 2014 10:54:15(UTC)

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 14/11/2014(UTC)
Posts: 3
Location: Norwich

Logged on to HMRC website this morning to change the bank account used to pay the VAT for a client.

Cannot see a link to the direct debit already set up to delete and remove it?

Cannot see a link to enable a new direct debit to be set up as client has moved banks and closed his old bank account.

Seems such a basic thing to be able to access?

Is this HMRC making things a lot more difficult and time consuming than they need to (as usual!).

Pointers of best and quickest way to sort on replacing the old bank account direct debit for VAT payment with a new direct debit on a different account would be useful and helpful here I think.


Offline TaxWizard  
#2 Posted : 14 November 2014 12:14:53(UTC)

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 01/04/2014(UTC)
Posts: 2
United Kingdom
Location: London

HMRC guidance on this is not very obvious or helpful for instance the .Gov site says

Changing bank details
You must tell HMRC at least 14 days in advance if you’re changing your bank details.
You’ll also have to tell your bank to change your Direct Debit details if you pay your VAT by Direct Debit, but you shouldn’t do this within 5 banking days before or after your VAT return is due.
You must write to the Annual Accounting Registration Unit to change your Direct Debit details if you use the Annual Accounting Scheme. Include your registration number.

… but does not say how to tell HMRC, i.e. can you do it online, do you call them?

You must write to the Annual Accounting Registration Unit to change your Direct Debit details if you use the Annual Accounting Scheme… how many people use the Annual Accounting Scheme, what about the rest of us, the majority of people!

Crazy, insane, useless?

The Link you supposedly need for guidance (until it moves to the .Gov site at least) is:

Then follow the link to changing your direct debit

This then says:

Changing your Direct Debit
You can't change or cancel your Direct Debit payment using the HMRC online service. If you do need to make any changes please contact your bank or building society.

That's HMRC’s extremely unhelpful advice.

While Government generally want to make banking more open, flexible and easier to change bank accounts HMRC as usual stand out alone as the backward, unhelpful in the instance you want to change the bank account your direct debit goes out of.

Is it a joke by HMRC? Such poor information?

Furthermore, worryingly are HMRC breaking the rules for operating Direct Debit’s by making cancelling a Direct Debit or changing it so difficult?

Only before you set up your first Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) does the link appear in your VAT online account for “set up a direct debit” once it is set up all links to Direct Debit set up disappear you cannot even view the Direct Debit you set up on the HMRC website after it is in place!

If you call HMRC the automated recorded instructions to check if you have a direct debit in place are “
if there is no link to set one up you have a direct debit in place already

I ended up wasting around a hour plus on this recently. What happened is that a client was running a Lloyds and a Metro account alongside each other. The Lloyds his original business account and the Metro the one he was migrating to over a period of a year or so.

The VAT direct debit has always gone from the Lloyds account.

He finally closed the Lloyds account altogether in September.

He asked me to change the direct debit over to Metro going forward and I had the same problem as you.

I called HMRC and they informed me that the link to set up a direct debit SHOULD reappear in the online account IF no direct debit is already in place.

As no link had reappeared as far as they are concerned a DD is still in place.

The long and short of it is I called the client and he then remembered that when he finally closed Lloyds he spoke to Metro and Metro asked his to “sign some forms” and promised him they would move all his direct debits over!

Classic example of client’s have problems muddling their way though no really having any clue what is going on behind the scenes.

I asked the client to login to his Metro account to check a direct debit is in place to HMRC VAT and sure enough it is listed.

I then advised him to double check on the day the DD was due out of Metro that it was safely taken by HMRC as if not urgent action would be needed.

If he is worried he could call HMRC (or an authorised agent for VAT purposes) and they can check which bank account the direct debit is with.

Checking your own bank DDs set up in your banks online account or calling HMRC VAT online helpline is the only way of checking the position re the direct debit.


To top it all I spent 25 minutes listening to recorded music while waiting to get through to a person on the VAT helpline.

What should be simple for an agent to check online, isn’t when it comes to VAT direct debit set up!

HMRC's VAT Helpline number is 0300 200 3700

You’ll need your VAT registration number and postcode. If you’re not VAT registered you’ll need your postcode.

The VAT Helpline can’t agree time to pay or take payments over the phone.

Opening times:

8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday

Closed weekends and bank holidays

Best time to call:

Phone lines are less busy between 8am and 11am, Monday to Friday

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