These days, more and more tools are being made available online so it’s a good idea to take advantage of what’s available. If you want to put yourself in control and have easy access to what the government has available, it is crucial that you register on the Government Gateway.
This blog was prompted because I’ve received several enquiries from clients looking for information that is easily accessible via their Gov.uk online account. One client wanted to know if he had sufficient National Insurance contributions to maximise his state pension. I helped him to register, and he was immediately able to check his full record, identify any gaps and make arrangements to make up contributions for the past six years. In addition, if your new employer needs confirmation of your National Insurance number you can simply save or print an official HMRC confirmation letter.
Another client has been working from home as a result of the pandemic and wanted to know how to claim expenses. As soon as he registered for his Gov.uk account, it was a simple process that took only a couple of minutes. This may only have been the amount of just £6 a week but if he claimed that for the year it meant that he paid £62.50 less tax – every little helps!
One self-employed client has earned very little since March 2020, and she knew that because her earnings were under the personal tax allowance of £12,500 for the last tax year, thus she could transfer 10% to her husband. This gave her husband a tax refund of £250 (£252 for the current year).
Your Tax Status and Tax Code
Do check your tax status and your tax code, see if you owe any tax and how to pay it, or better still, see if you are entitled to a tax refund and how to claim it. You will have a full record of income earned and tax paid going back several years. If you are self-employed, you can see if the current year is up to date because no one wants to pay a £100 penalty to the HMRC for late submission. You can submit your tax return yourself or, if you are using our tax return service, you can see a copy of your tax return and all of the associated details.
Tax Credits and Child Benefit
There is also a section on tax credits and child benefit where you can check if you are being paid correctly and you can submit a claim for a benefit if you think that you are entitled to it.
The big one for our financial planning clients is the State Pension section which confirms your state pension age – that is the date that you are allowed to claim your state pension. I use the word ‘claim’ because many people do not know that they won’t receive their state pension automatically – they have to claim it. I have seen many clients who have not received their state pension for months after their retirement age because they have not claimed it – in one case a client hadn’t claimed it for ten years! The good news is that we showed her how to claim it and we even claimed the underpayment. Your Gov.uk account shows you how to do this.
Other Government Gateway Services
You can see that I am enthusiastic about encouraging you to register on the Government Gateway and I could go on and talk about other Government services that are already online: taxing your car, renewing your driving licence or passport, and so on. I recently showed a client how to apply for the government grant for his Electric Vehicle purchase and EV charging point.
We love to put our clients in control and get them to self-help as much as possible, so we have prepared an easy-to-follow guide for you to register: Our Guide to Registering on the Government Gateway. You can read this on screen or download it as a pdf. I hope that this helps. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear from you.
The Government Gateway was previously the system that we all had to use to register for UK government online services. So, if you needed to renew a driving licence or fill in a tax return, you would have set up your Government Gateway ID. However, in March 2019, the Government Gateway was decommissioned, and digital services were supposed to migrate to different systems. So, you may now see some services using gov.uk Verify instead. HMRC decided to develop its own sign-in system for its online services. This still uses a Government Gateway ID. Depending on which government service you use you may have seen gov.uk Verify as an option for signing in.
The gov.uk Verify service is another verification system for government online services such as your personal tax account or self-assessment. The difference is that gov.uk Verify uses third-party providers certified to verify identity. So your information is not stored centrally. Currently, this runs in parallel with the Government Gateway, but it is expected that more government online services will start using gov.uk Verify in the future.
I hope this information has been useful for you!