The Government Gateway allows you to access the HMRC online system by verifying your identity. Once logged in, you’ll have full access to your business tax account. 

What will be covered in this article:

  • Explaining what the Government Gateway is and why it’s important
  • Explaining what GOV.Verify is and why it’s important

Something to be mindful of is that the original system used to allow you to access a range of government services including:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department for Environment
  • Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland) services
  • DVLA services, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency services
  • Environment and Rural Affairs services
  • Food and Rural Affairs services
  • HMRC services
  • Ministry of Justice services
  • NHS services
  • Welsh Government services

It was changed in 2019. Now these services have been moved to the website.

If you already have a Government Gateway ID and password, you can still use it to sign in to HMRC Online to complete your annual Self-Assessment.

Keep reading as we answer the most common questions people have about the Government Gateway.

Government Gateway Q&A

I read an article that said the Government Gateway is shut down, is this true?

Technically no, the old system doesn’t exist anymore, but it hasn’t been completely shut down, just changed to make things easier for you. 

How do I register for a Government Gateway account?

Visit the HMRC services sign in or register page of the website.

You can also get instructions when you try to access HMRC services for the first time. 

You’ll need the following information to register:

  • Your National Insurance number or a UK address 
  • A valid UK passport, P60 form or recent payslip

Once you do that, you’ll get a text message on your mobile phone with a six-digit code. Enter this code to get access to the HMRC Online service you need. 

I’ve forgotten my password, how do I reset it?

You can recover your password by entering the email you used to set up your account into the box on the password recovery page. After which you’ll be sent a code which will allow you to choose a new password.

I’ve forgotten my user ID

It’s a similar process if you’ve forgotten your user ID. Go to the ID recovery page, click ‘No, recover my user ID’ 

Then enter the email address you used to set up the account and you’ll be sent a code which will allow you to recover it. 

I’ve lost or forgotten my activation code, how do I get a new one?

You can ask for a new activation code if it’s within 28 days of you signing up, but if it has been longer than that, you’ll need to re-enrol. 

I’ve been locked out of my account. How do I get back in? 

This means you’ve used the wrong user ID or password 5 times, and you’ll have to wait two hours before trying again. You can also try recovering your password to avoid the same thing happening again. 

I’ve seen something called GOV.UK Verify, what is it? 

GOV.UK Verify is another way to verify your ID so that you can log in to some of HMRCs online services. It can be useful to have as you can access your Personal Tax Account and your Self Assessment, as well as other government services. However, to access your Business Tax Account you’ll still need a Government Gateway ID. 

So, which one should I use? Government Gateway or GOV.UK Verify?

If you run your own business and plan on hiring employees, you’re better off using the Government Gateway. You can access everything through here. 

However, if you’re a sole trader who only needs access to your Personal Tax Account, and aren’t VAT registered, GOV.UK Verify is fine. 

But if you want to expand your business to being either a plc or limited company, you’ll need to set up a Government Gateway account beforehand. 

So, I can’t use my Government Gateway to check my state pension or apply for a driver’s license?

No, but it’s still pretty easy to get access to other services beyond HMRC. Simply visit and search for the department you want. 

The government gateway can seem tricky to figure out at first, but once you remember that it’s the entry point into HMRC, it becomes pretty simple. 

It’s a good idea to become familiar with this system as soon as possible. It will make submitting your tax returns a lot easier as lost credentials can delay the process, possibly leading to a fine for late filing, depending on when you decide to begin the process. 

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