If you have ever attempted to use any online Government services, including those for tax or VAT, you may know the frustration of having forgotten your Government Gateway ID. Without your Government Gateway ID and password you cannot access a wide range of digital services, many of which are of considerable importance to UK businesses. Thankfully, if you have forgotten your Government Gateway ID then you can recover it, letting you reach the service you need. Here we will explain:
- The purpose of the Government Gateway.
- What you can access through it.
- How to register for a User ID.
- How to access the Government Gateway.
- What to do if you cannot find your User ID or have problems logging in.
What is the Government Gateway?
The UK Government Gateway is a government IT system that provides a single user login to access a wide range of online digital services, including those for HMRC. The government implemented the system in 2001 to replace the huge number of paper forms across several departments. Business users can access the following services through the HMRC Government Gateway:
- Air passenger duty for plane operators
- Alcohol and Tobacco Warehousing
- Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme
- Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings
- Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)
- Charities Online
- Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
- Corporation Tax
- Customs Declaration Service
- EC Sales List (ECSL)
- Employment Intermediaries
- Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS)
- Gambling Tax Service
- Gift Aid
- Import Control System (ICS)
- Landfill Tax
- Machine Games Duty
- Managing Pension Schemes
- Money laundering supervision
- New Computerised Transit System (NCTS)
- Notification of Vehicles Arrivals (NOVA)
- PAYE for employers
- Pensions Schemes Online
- Personal tax account
- Rebated Oils Enquiry Service
- Rebated Oils Returns Internet Upload Service
- Reverse Charge Sales List
- Self Assessment
- Shared Workspace
- Soft Drinks Industry Levy
- Stamp Taxes
- Tied Oil Enquiry Service
- VAT EU Refunds
- VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS)
The Government Gateway can also be used to access personal HMRC services, including for personal taxation, self-assessment and capital gains tax on UK property.
To access the Government Gateway you must first register to use the service. Once you have registered you will be given a Government Gateway ID.
Registering for Government Gateway access
To gain access to Government Gateway digital services you must first register for the specific service that you need. You should go to the HMRC online services registration page and select the service that you wish to use. While registering for that specific service you can create a Government Gateway account. For example, if you are registering for corporation tax, you will need to create a new Gateway login to access your business tax account.
If you are asked to “Sign in using Government Gateway”, click “Create sign in details” under the “Sign in” button. This will then take you through the process of creating a new login to use the service you wish to use.
Your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference
The information that you will need will depend on the type of digital service you are applying to use. To access online HMRC tax services you will need your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). UTRs identify tax accounts for self-employed people and companies. Your own 10-digit UTR should have been sent to your company address within 14 days of your company being incorporated, i.e. registered with Companies House, although it is also printed on all letters that you receive from HMRC. If you cannot find your UTR number then you can request it online (assuming that you have already registered your company).
Proving your identity
If you are registering to use the Government Gateway for HMRC personal tax service then you will be asked to prove your identity. This may be done through the Government Gateway service or “GOV.UK Verify”. If using the GOV.UK Verify service then you will be asked some questions to verify your identity and be asked to provide identity documents.
Depending on the method that you use to prove your identity, you may need the following information and/or documents:
- Valid UK passport
- National Insurance number
- UK residential address
- Recent payslip
- UK address
- Mobile phone number
- Photo ID
Using your Government Gateway login
Once you have successfully registered for the HMRC service that you need, whether for business or personal use, and you have your Government Gateway login and password, you can then access the digital service. To log in, simply go to the “Sign in using Government Gateway” webpage and enter your Government Gateway user ID and password.
Problems signing in to the Government Gateway
If you have forgotten your Government Gateway ID, your Password or both then the login page provides the following options:
- If you have forgotten your password, simply enter the e-mail that you used to register and you will be sent a link allowing you to reset your password.
- If you enter the wrong details into your Government Gateway account 5 times then you will be “locked out” of your account. You must then wait for 2 hours until your account is unlocked before you can log in again.
- If you cannot find or have forgotten your Government Gateway ID then the government website will take you through a process to recover your user ID. To do this:
- Enter the e-mail you used to register for the service
- Enter the confirmation code (sent by e-mail)
- Select the type of service for which you have registered:
- Individual – Includes Self Assessment, Personal tax account, tax credits, Help to Save, Child Benefit, Tax-Free Childcare and personal pension.
- Organisational – Includes limited companies, partnerships and charities.
- Agent – Includes accountants acting on behalf of clients, payroll bureau and bookkeepers.
- Select the specific service (e.g. Self Assessment, PAYE for employers, VAT, Corporation Tax, Construction Industry Scheme, Employment intermediary report submission, or Valuation Office Agency).
- Enter your UTR number (as explained above).
Depending on the outcome at this stage you may be asked to prove your identity by calling the online services helpline:
Telephone: 0300 200 3600 (+44 161 930 8445)
Open: 8am–6pm Monday–Friday (Closed weekends and bank holidays)
Finally, even if you can log into the Government Gateway successfully, you may not see the business tax account that you are expecting. This often happens because users register different accounts, each linked to different tax accounts, e.g. VAT on one account and corporation tax on another. To ensure that all of your business tax accounts are available in a single view, use only one user ID. If you do have multiple user IDs then you can consolidate your business accounts by removing them from one user account and adding them to your preferred user account. This is done in the “manage account” section, where you can add or remove a tax, duty or scheme.
If you have any issue recovering your Government Gateway ID then it is advisable to call the dedicated helpline number above. They will ask you a series of questions, check your identity and provide your login details as quickly as possible.
What is the difference between Government Gateway and GOV.UK Verify?
GOV.UK Verify cannot be used to access HMRC business services. Hence, if you need to view your business tax account, pay corporation tax or pay VAT then you must use the Government Gateway.
GOV.UK Verify is for individuals who need to access personal online services such as driving licence, passport, DBS checks, universal credit and their personal income tax account. GOV.UK Verify uses external companies to verify your identity, including Digidentity and the Post Office. The process of verifying your identity using GOV.UK Verify takes between 5 and 15 minutes when used for the first time. After that it will take only a couple of minutes each time. In some cases it may take longer to prove your identity using GOV.UK Verify if certain details cannot be confirmed during the checking process.
In the last 20 years government departments, including HMRC, have moved a long way from paper application forms. Online digital applications avoid refusal of an application for use of an out of date or incomplete form. It means also that users can view their personal and business tax status in real time. Using Government Gateway can be most frustrating, however, especially if you have forgotten your Government Gateway ID or you need to recover your login details. If you have any issues using the Government Gateway and the steps above do not provide a resolution then call the online services helpline above.
By using a company formation specialist you can be assured that your business will be registered correctly with Companies House and HMRC. This will ensure you that receive all of the information that you need, including your UTR number, to register for Government Gateway services.
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