How to access the Government Gateway and why it's important
Posted on 23rd November 2020
The Government Gateway was set up to allow you to register online for government services, including driver vehicle licensing (DVLA), NHS, and HMRC services.
In March 2019, the Government Gateway was replaced with a number of different systems. However, you can still register online for HMRC services and, if you already have a Government Gateway user ID, you can use it to access your online account.
If you have used the Government Gateway in the past but you can’t remember your user ID or password, you can recover them.
If you work with an accountant or bookkeeper, they can act as your agent to complete all the online details on your behalf.
Why should I set up a Government Gateway account?
Using your existing online Government Gateway account or setting up a new account is an alternative to completing different paper forms. It will make it easier to handle your tax affairs efficiently, including:
managing your personal tax
finding out about your state pension
submitting your self-assessment tax return if you are self-employed
managing and submitting your corporation tax returns
PAYE for your employees
VAT, if your taxable turnover is above £85,000.
If you have more than one business, you should create a separate account for each of them. As soon as you have registered them you can add and activate relevant taxes.
Do I need to register online with HMRC if I’m self-employed?
There’s an online HMRC Employment Status Indicator to help you work out whether you are employed or self-employed for tax purposes.
You are likely to be self-employed if you:
run your own business for yourself
have more than one customer at the same time
can decide how and when you work
can hire other people
provide most of the equipment you need
are responsible for completing unfinished or unsatisfactory work in your own time
agree a fixed price for your work with your customers
sell goods or services for a profit, apart from when you're just selling unwanted items occasionally.
If you are self-employed, you will be able to submit your self-assessment tax (SAT) return online if you have an account with HMRC. This can be done until 31 January following the end of each tax year, while the deadline for paper SAT submissions is 31 October following the end of each tax year.
How do I register on the Government Gateway?
On the HMRC services page you have the option to register. You will need to give your email address, full name, set a password and recovery word (in case you lose your account details).
You will receive an automatically generated user ID (which is a twelve-number code). It’s a good idea to save your user ID on paper as well as electronically to make sure you can always find it.
You can then choose to set up an account as an individual or an organisation.
How to set up a personal account - you can register as an 'individual' if you only want to use the online service for your personal tax affairs. This could include filling in your tax return if you’re self-employed. You will need to go through an identity verification process to access your personal tax account.
How to set up your business account - you can register as an organisation to create a business tax account to handle your corporation tax, PAYE for employers, and VAT.
You will need some specific information, such as your unique taxpayer reference (UTR), your VAT certificate and last return filed for VAT, and PAYE numbers. For your corporation tax, you’ll need to provide your company’s registration number and the date you started your business. Your first business accounting period will start from this date.
You’ll receive activation codes at your registered office address.
This is important because you can only file your VAT and company tax returns using a paper form if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to explain why you can’t do so online. You will need to file a company tax return, even if you make a loss or you don’t have to pay any corporation tax.
HMRC will let you know when your corporation tax is due. You can send your company tax return to HMRC and your accounts to Companies House at the same time
The final steps
If you are self-employed and also need the business services, you should register as an organisation and add self-assessment online access to the account so that you can switch between your personal and business tax accounts.
Once you have registered you will need to complete a two-step verification process to protect your account. A one-time code will then be sent to either a mobile or landline telephone number each time you log in. You will also need to answer some security questions. Finally, you might also need to activate specific services to use them.
If you have any questions about setting up an account or accessing HMRC services online or if you would like us to act as your agent, we’ll be happy to help, so please get in touch.
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