Although we all know taxes are one of life’s few certainties, most of us still choose to put off dealing with them for as long as possible. Whether it’s because we don’t understand the ins and outs of the income tax system or simply because we don’t want to think about handing over a chunk of our hard-earned cash, most of us push the thought of taxes right to the backs of our minds until a financial deadline is upon us.
Luckily for all our finances, HMRC has taken steps to make paying your taxes easier and more straightforward. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs recently introduced personal tax accounts in order to streamline the payment process and the management of income tax. Available online via the HMRC digital portal, these personal tax accounts are designed to help taxpayers stay on top of their finances throughout the year and to make paying taxes less painful for everyone. If you’re yet to sign up for an HMRC personal tax account, here are a few benefits of the system that might just spur you into action.
What is an HMRC Personal Tax Account?
HMRC introduced the personal tax account system back in 2015. In the first year alone, around 3.5 million individuals and businesses signed up for an account and, since then, these online accounts have been slowly rolled out to more and more UK taxpayers. Eventually, HMRC intends that this new online system will replace old-fashioned tax returns completely, moving all form filling and payments online and making the entire process digital.
Initially, these online tax accounts were only available to tax payers in the self-assessment system and to small businesses. These types of tax payers would already have had experience filling in forms online and managing their tax affairs via HMRC’s digital portal, so it made sense for this category to be the early adopters of the new online tool. Personal tax accounts have now been opened up to all taxpayers, so whether you’re self-employed or work for an employer, you can now take advantage of this easy online system.
What can an HMRC Personal Tax Account do?
The HMRC Personal Tax Account has been designed to allow taxpayers to manage their finances and carry out most common tax-based transactions and functions online. Essentially, it’s online banking but for your taxes. HMRC hopes that taxpayers will be able to use the resource to resolve all common issues with their taxes rather than having to call up or write to the organisation.
There are already over 30 services available to those using an HMRC Personal Tax Account. Most importantly, users can check their income tax estimate and the tax code that they’ve been assigned for the financial year. This should give people a better idea of how much tax they own and help to prevent any nasty surprises when it comes to the end of the tax year. If you think that you’ve overpaid on your tax, you can also claim a refund via the service. This should enable you to get your money back as quickly as possible.
If you do fill out a personal tax return, you can fill it in, review it and send it using your online tax account. You can also check and manage your tax credits, check your State Pension and track any tax forms that you’ve submitted online.
If you’ve experienced any changes in your circumstance that might impact on your Child Benefit or if you need to check or update your Marriage Allowance, you can also do this via your personal tax account. While you’re logged into your account, you can check that your address is correct, that you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to and that you’ve paid the right amount of tax for your earnings.
Users who are unable to manage their own tax affairs online can appoint ‘trusted helpers’. Once registered, these people will be able to access and update the user’s details online and help them to manage their benefits and taxes.
Other services are set to be added in the coming years and months, making HMRC’s Personal Tax Accounts even more useful.
Benefits of an HMRC Personal Tax Account
Signing up for an HMRC Personal Tax Account will make it a lot easier to manage your tax payments, benefits and refunds. This incredible online resource also makes it quicker and simpler to update your personal information and means that you won’t have to spend hours online or on the phone next time you move house or your employment circumstances change.
For parents claiming Child Benefit, there are even more reasons to sign up for an account. Families making a new claim will no longer need to send their child’s birth certificate to HMRC and the system will make it a lot easier to keep track of a claim and renew a claim online. This should help to ensure that parents get the money they deserve on time every month, something that will make a big difference to many families.
How to sign up for an HMRC Personal Tax Account
If you’ve been convinced that an HMRC Personal Tax Account is for you, the first thing you need to do is sign up for a Government Gateway Account. To do this, you’ll need your NI number and your P60. Once you’ve signed up for a Gateway account, you can sign into your Personal Tax Account using your Gateway ID, your password and your National Insurance number. You’ll also find plenty more information on personal tax accounts on the HMRC website.
If you’d like more help and advice about dealing with your taxes, or if you’d like to find out more about the services we offer, explore our site or get in touch with a member of our expert team.