The Government Gateway is a method of verifying your identity when using online services provided by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
When signing in to HMRC online services you will be prompted to sign in using Government Gateway. A Government Gateway user ID and password are needed to log in to most of these services.
What can you do with a Government Gateway ID?
Signing in to HMRC online services via Government Gateway gives you access to the full range of HMRC services, including:
- Business tax account
- Personal tax account
- Self Assessment
- Corporation tax
- Pay as You Earn (PAYE) for employers
- VAT account
A full list of services is available from HMRC.
How do I use my Government Gateway ID?
When accessing the relevant HMRC online service you will simply need to enter your Government Gateway user ID and password.
Upon doing so, you will receive a text message to your mobile phone which contains a 6 digit code. This code will need to be entered in order to continue to the HMRC online service.
What is GOV.UK Verify?
There is a different way to log in to certain HMRC online services: using GOV.UK Verify.
GOV.UK Verify is simply an alternative method of identity verification. It can be used to access your Personal Tax Account and to complete your Self Assessment. However, it cannot be used to access your Business Tax Account.
GOV.UK Verify can be used for other types of government online services (e.g. applying for Universal Credit or viewing your driving licence information) so it is useful to have an account. But anyone who needs to access their Business Tax Account will still require a Government Gateway ID.
How do I register for a Government Gateway account?
If you do not have an account, you will be provided with instructions for registering when attempting to access HMRC services for the first time.
For example, if signing into Personal Tax services, you will be prompted to prove your identity by signing in with Government Gateway or GOV.UK Verify and there will also be an option to create a new account. This will then offer the option of either registering for Government Gateway or GOV.UK Verify. The following information will be required:
- your National Insurance number or UK address
- a recent payslip or P60 or a valid UK passport
- a UK address
- a mobile phone
- at least one valid photo ID from any country
Should I use Government Gateway or GOV.UK Verify?
Most people who run their own business will probably want to use Government Gateway so that they can access their Business Tax Account and the full range of HMRC online services.
Anyone who conducts business through a limited company will need access to their Business Tax Account, at least in order to submit their Corporation Tax.
Some sole traders may only require access to their Personal Tax Account, if they do not have any employees and are not registered for VAT.
A historical note
It is worth noting that the Government Gateway used to be more than just a method of identity verification. Until 2019 it referred to a platform used for a whole range of government online services.