HMRC update: CA3822 and A1 applications

03 March 2023

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published a report on the research undertaken to explore customers' awareness, understanding and use of the certification scheme, for continuing liability to UK social security contributions.

The CA3822 form is required when applying for a certificate confirming an employee pays UK National Insurance (NI) when working abroad. Kantar Public is the independent research agency appointed by HMRC, which carried out the qualitative research and formed the report. The aim was for HMRC to have a better understanding of the customer journey and to identify areas for improvement in the application process. The research consisted of interviews with 50 recent applicants for certificates across three specific audiences. These were self-employed, sole traders, employees, employers and agents.

Some of the key findings from the report were:

  • awareness of certificates was mixed across audiences. Reasons included that this was not a part of their professional training or were only prompted when they received penalties or a client requested the certificate. However, awareness was perceived to have increased over recent years as client requirements for workers to have a certificate and penalties for non-compliance had become more common

  • respondents with greater experience of using the certificate, including employers and high-volume agents had a higher level of understanding of the wider purpose of the certificate and circumstances when it was required, including supporting legislation and directives

  • across all audiences, a clear outcome of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) was perceived to be increased scrutiny and vigilance from destination countries, with the requirement to obtain a certificate having become more common

  • overall, most respondents faced challenges when applying and at the post-submission stage

  • during the process of applying, respondents’ contact with HMRC was prompted by a need for more guidance, status updates, and handling errors on the certificate

The research found five potential changes to the application:

  • a digital certificate

  • a digital status tracker

  • a single intelligent form instead of choosing from multiple forms

  • a form that remembers information and automatically fills it in

  • a change of circumstances form.

Other recommendations from respondents included changes to the form, streamlined communication methods and changes to the overall application system. HMRC has stated that some of the suggested improvements have already been implemented, such as the feature to attach supporting documents to application forms.

New gform for detached worker (employee) A1 applications

HMRC has also introduced a new intelligent customer-facing ‘gform’ to replace the previous ‘iform’ for customers applying for an A1 through the CA3822. The new form is designed to streamline the application process and has been built based on customer feedback. Its application offers many enhancements and HMRC believes this will substantially improve customer experience. The new form can be found here.

In addition, HMRC has a new email validation service to allow quicker access for customers without a government gateway or business tax account. However, a print and post form will continue to be available for customers who would like to use one.

HMRC has said:

‘‘We are now working to update other A1 application forms and guidance. We’ll test the changes with users and use their feedback to further improve our products where possible.”

More information on the CA3822 application and eligibility can be found, here.

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