Dealing with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can be a bit of a nightmare as they are notoriously slow to get back to you. Although it can be easy to label them as incompetent, it's understandable that addressing all tax-related issues for every person in the UK can cause some delays.
In the past, when someone wanted to view, change, or ask questions regarding their tax affairs, they would either have to call or write to HMRC. This led to massive inefficiencies, mainly because of the sheer volume of queries HMRC would receive. So much so that HMRC's phone lines were known to be slightly unreliable and have incredibly long waiting times.
In an effort to address this issue and as part of the government's Making Tax Digital initiative, HMRC introduced the Personal Tax Account in December 2015. This finally gave taxpayers the ability to manage their tax affairs using HMRC online services without the need to get in touch with a rep.
Since the personal account is a relatively new system that is being improved regularly, it can be a bit confusing to navigate. Therefore, read below to learn precisely what an HMRC Personal Tax Account is, how to open one, and who it will benefit the most. Let's dive right in.
Setting up your Personal Tax Account is incredibly easy and shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes. It's essential to have your National Insurance number, mobile phone number, and email address available. Additionally, you will need some documents and details on hand to expedite the process. Ensure you have at least one of the following:
- Bank account details
- Passport details
- Payslips from the last three months
First, you'll need to create a Government Gateway user ID to start the process. Those who are self-employed should already have this since you have to make one when you register as self-employed, and it is also needed to file your Self Assessment tax return. Once you have created a Government Gateway user ID, simply sign in using these details, and you will be directed towards your Personal Tax Account.
What is an HMRC personal account?
Your HMRC personal account, also known as a Personal Tax Account (PTA), is an online service that allows you to view and manage your tax-related affairs.
The personal account is a safe and secure way you can view all your tax information in a single place. If you need to do a quick tax refund check, update your name or address details, track tax forms, or have questions such as when your tax credits are due, you can use your Personal Tax Account to assist you. This saves you waiting hours on the phone or waiting days to hear back via post, ensuring you can promptly solve your query at any time of the day.
What can you do with a Personal Tax Account?
Your Personal Tax Account covers a wide range of tax-related services. HMRC has noted that more and more services will be added constantly, making your Personal Tax Account a one-stop shop for all things tax. According to HMRC, your Personal Tax Account can be used for:
- Finding your National Insurance number
- Checking your Income Tax estimate for the year
- Viewing your tax code
- Viewing, filling, and sending out your personal tax return claim
- Claiming a tax return (for instance, if you've overpaid tax on PAYE)
- Reviewing your income, National Insurance Contributions, and Income Tax paid in the past five years
- Paying overdue tax
- Informing HMRC about a change in your name or address
- Managing your tax credits check
- Viewing your State Pension forecast
- Reviewing and updating your Marriage Allowance
- Tracking tax form submissions
- Managing and updating benefits received from work (e.g. dental insurance)
- Adding a family member or trusted person to manage your account on your behalf
- Viewing your Self Assessment tax calculation
- Reporting changes to Child Benefit applications
That is not an exhaustive list, and there's much more that can be done with your personal account. Also, it's crucial to check your account for errors as this could have consequences on how much tax you pay. If you find that some of your details are wrong, you can change them in your Personal Tax Account as well.
For those who are environmentally conscious, you can also select the option to go paperless. This will mean that you will no longer receive letters in the post; all messages and notifications will be sent to your Personal Tax Account.
Who needs to open an HMRC personal account?
A Personal Tax Account can be helpful for both employed and self-employed workers since it contains relevant tax information for everyone.
Employees on PAYE will be able to:
- Print proof of their National Insurance number
- Download income and Income Tax information to understand how much they're paying
- Claim tax relief on eligible job expenses (for instance, costs for repairing or replacing tools)
- Check their tax code and Income Tax estimations for the fiscal year
- Update information on employee benefits (e.g. medical insurance or company car details)
A Personal Tax Account is convenient for someone who is self-employed, as they'll be able to:
- Find their Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), so you always have it on hand
- File their Self Assessment form and/or appeal a Self Assessment late filing penalty
- Inform HMRC of changes to their employment status (for instance, if they're no longer self-employed)
- View and print Annual Tax Summary calculations
- Read their secure messages
- View their National Insurance record
- Review their State Pension forecasts
As you can see, the HMRC Personal Tax Account is handy for anyone who pays taxes.
How do I manage my HMRC personal account?
Once you've signed up, you're good to go, just log in to the Personal Tax Account platform. From there, you'll see a page that is split into sections related to the different tax elements (e.g. income, important deadlines, etc.), and you can simply navigate to the areas you need.
As you can see from this article, opening an HMRC Personal Tax Account is a straightforward process. All you really need is a UK Government Gateway account to sign in to the Personal Tax Account platform. From there, you'll be able to do a quick online check and manage your tax credits, monitor forms that you've submitted online, find information on all your tax-related queries, and plenty more.