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Tax Tips - December 2018

PERSONAL TAX ACCOUNT – What is it and should I have one?

Like everything in life these days, HMRC is moving towards making tax more accessible online.  People who file their tax returns online may already know how to access this service. They may be aware that they can review the information entered on their tax return, make amendments and check their end of year tax bills etc. in an instant.

However, as the vast majority of people do not need to complete tax returns they would not necessarily be aware that they can access, view and manage their own personal tax information online, any time they choose. In 2015, HMRC introduced the Personal Tax Account (PTA), which allows you to view and manage your personal tax affairs online, in one safe place.  

Here are some examples of the services that you can access and the information you can view and update in your PTA.  You can:

  • check your income tax estimate and tax codes
  • review previous years to see if there was any overpayment or underpayment of tax
  • fill in, send, and view a personal tax return
  • claim a tax refund
  • check and manage your tax credits
  • check your State Pension
  • track tax forms that you’ve submitted online
  • check or update your Marriage Allowance
  • tell HMRC about a change of address
  • check or update benefits you get from work, for example company car details and medical insurance
  • find your National Insurance number

Millions of people have already accessed their PTA, but for those that haven’t, it might be because they’ve never heard of it before, or don’t use computers, or may not feel confident enough going through the steps online to sign in on their own.

I’d like to access my Personal Tax Account – how to I do it?

Before you get started, have your National Insurance number, mobile or landline number and email address to hand. As you will need to prove your identity, also make sure you have one of the following: your P60 end of year tax certificate from your employer or pension providers, or 3 recent pay-slips or your passport – your name exactly as it appears in your passport, your passport number and its expiry date. Also, have a pen and paper handy as you will be given an access code as well as a Government Gateway number if you haven’t previously used HMRC services online; it is a good idea to make a note of these as you progress.

When you are ready, use your usual internet search service such as Google, Bing or Yahoo to search for “Personal Tax Account” and the top option should lead you to HMRC’s website where you can begin the process to “sign up”. You can of course go direct to the website by clicking on or typing www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account. Once in, you will then be asked to answer a series of questions so that you can be identified correctly, and that will then get you through to your PTA. 

If you don’t feel confident doing this on your own, Tax Help is running a project to help more people to access their Personal Tax Accounts by providing them with a written step-by-step guide,help over the phone, or a home visit with one of our volunteers. You can register for this help by calling us on 01308 488066 and we will ask you a few simple questions before and after you’ve accessed your PTA to see if our support has helped. There is more information about the project on our website at: http://www.taxvol.org.uk/personal-tax-account

This article is by Tax Help for Older People Registered Charity no 1102276 (Scotland no SC045819), offering free tax advice to older people on incomes below £20,000 a year. The Helpline number is 0845 601 3321 or geographical 01308 488066.