This tax year, HMRC are changing the password rules for the Government Gateway. The reason being, of course, that as security best practice and guidance changes, so too should the tools we use to submit sensitive information.
However, for those that are new to Self Assessment tax returns, it’s worth covering how the HMRC gateway functions and how taxpayers utilise it, before detailing the new rules.
Below, we break down the purpose of the HMRC service and outline how the changes will impact both current and new users.
How to register for Self Assessment
There are three routes to registering for Self Assessment. These are:
- Self-employed (first submission): You must send a tax return if you’re self-employed and have earned more than £1,000 in a single tax year. If you’re filing for the first time, you’ll need to register in order to receive your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. Only upon receiving your UTR through the post are you able to activate your account.
- Self-employed (previously submitted): If you’ve submitted a Self Assessment tax return before, you’ll need to use the 10-digit UTR you’ve previously been allocated. This can be found on any correspondence you’ve received from HMRC concerning your tax return. Following that, you’ll need to re-register online using a CWF1 form.
- Not self-employed: Receive taxable income from renting out property? Or interest from savings or investments you’ve made? Either way, you’ll need to register for Self Assessment by filing out a SA1 form. If you’re unsure whether or not you need to register, you can view a list of circumstances that would make you eligible here.
Following your registration, you will use the HMRC portal to access information and submit your Self Assessment tax return.
What happens if I don’t register?
If you have not yet registered for a Self Assessment and are self-employed, you need to do so from the moment you seek work.
If you fail to register and submit your tax returns on time, you may be subject to a fine of up to £100.
What are the changes to the HMRC portal?
The registration process itself won’t be changing. Instead, the measures you’re protected by when using the HMRC portal will be.
These measures – coming into effect in April 2020 – concern users’ passwords. They will now need to be changed to a ‘strong’ password. This will impact:
- New users
- Users who decide to change their password
- Users who need to reset their password
The rules for new passwords are:
- Minimum length: 10 characters
- Maximum length: 128 characters
- Contain ANY UTF-8 character
- Case sensitive
These passwords will now be required whenever you access the HMRC portal.
How we can help
At GoSimpleTax, we appreciate that changes related to the tax system can complicate matters. And while we can’t help you remember your passwords, we can simplify the Self Assessment tax return submission process.
Our intuitive software logs your income and expenditure and calculates the tax you owe in real time. What’s more, we’ll file your completed tax return directly to HMRC when you’re ready.
Trial GoSimpleTax today to test out some of our features.