Filing an online SA tax return? Check you can access the system

As the 31 January 2017 deadline for 2015/16 tax returns approaches, individuals filing their own tax return online using HMRC software are advised to check, as soon as possible, that they can access the system. Additional security could cause last minute problems.


HMRC has introduced additional security, called 2-step verification, since last January. Additional information, including a code sent to a mobile or landline phone, is required. Those who have not logged in to their HMRC account for some time could find they have difficulty with this process, particularly if they do not have a UK passport with six months validity and/or a photocard driving licence.


Anyone having difficulty should contact HMRC’s Online Services Helpdesk on 0300 200 3600.


Note that this does not apply to tax agents filing self assessment tax returns online using either commercial or HMRC software – 2-step verification does not yet apply to agents.


Filing for the first time?

The information on how to file shown on the GOV.UK page log-in-file-self-assessment-tax-return is rather confusing.


Those who have previously filed online using HMRC software (or who completed an online registration as self-employed) will be able to sign in immediately using the green ‘Sign in’ button on this page.


Those filing with the HMRC online system for the first time may need to enrol for the online service by following the link to create a Government Gateway account. They must then wait for an activation code to be sent by post and then follow the step above.


Creating a Personal Tax Account involves obtaining a Government Gateway ID but does not activate the self assessment services in the Personal Tax Account; the process for first time filers explained above will need to be followed (it will result in a second Government Gateway ID for self assessment).