Think of it as the portal to HMRC's online services.

Many businesses will already have made use of their Business Tax Account (BTA), for example in connection with Making Tax Digital for VAT. But they may not have explored all the services on offer, and HMRC is currently encouraging all businesses to access their BTA to do just that.

The BTA is designed to allow you to manage all your business taxes online, with just one sign in. It can be used by sole traders, partnerships and limited companies. Basically, it should summarise your business tax position for any tax you have registered for, from VAT and income tax self assessment, to corporation tax and the Construction Industry Scheme. For best results, look to use just one Government Gateway ID for all taxes, and consolidate access to just one ID if needs be.

You can use the BTA for a range of tasks. It has two distinct areas: firstly, a top menu to manage your account, view secure messages and get help. From this 'Manage account' area, you can add or remove online access to particular taxes; give an employee access to a particular tax; authorise an agent to deal for you; or change account details such as address, phone or email. Secondly, there is a business tax summary (or home page). From this, you can make payments, file returns and carry out other tasks. It's a quick way to get an at-a-glance overview of your liabilities and payments. Via the PAYE for employers service, for instance, you can check the data HMRC has received from your full payment submissions and employer payment summaries, and the payments it has received. The PAYE section also has a new feature to allow you to check your Employment Allowance status.

Current pressures on business make this a particularly good time to get to grips with the BTA. A business having new compliance responsibilities around imports and exports at the end of the Brexit transition period, for example, will find the BTA a useful management tool. And if you want to apply online for time to pay either an income tax self assessment liability, or a VAT liability under the VAT deferral new payment scheme, the BTA will provide the route to do so. (Details of this VAT payment scheme are covered elsewhere in the Newsletter). More details, including steps to set up a BTA, can be found here http://bit.ly/3hICjtw.