Understanding the Government Gateway


The Government Gateway is an online HMRC portal that enables people to use online government services. The platform can give updates on your state pension forecast, your gross employment income and tax paid to date within the current year and previous years. If you are self-employed, you can also use the Government Gateway to access your business tax account.

Utilising the Government Gateway is important for dentists, regardless of what stage you are at in your career. To outline the steps, you need to take to set up an account on the Government Gateway platform, we’ve asked Tom Slevin, Dental Client Services Director to guide us through.

Let’s hear more from Tom…

The first and probably most obvious step you need to do is to register for an account, which can be done through www.gov.co.uk. To gain access to your personal tax account, you will need to make sure you have registered as an individual. This also applies for the self-employed, if you want to gain access to your business tax account.

Setting up your account

To create your account, you will firstly need to verify your identity. This is through a list of questions provided by HMRC that only you should be able to answer. It may require sensitive information such as details from your passport, credit report or information from your most recent payslips.

Once registered, you will be given a Government Gateway User ID. This will then be required each time you wish to log in, alongside the 2-step verification method you choose whilst registering your account.

The Government Gateway will have different uses for you depending on your employment status and your role within a dental practice, so let’s go through them…

Employed Dentists

Foundation dentists or dentists working in a hospital may not be required to prepare a tax return each year. However, they might have some expenses of employment, such as their GDC (General Dental Council) subscription, that they are entitled to receive tax relief on.

On the Personal Tax account section, dentists can enter the Pay As You Earn segment, and make a claim for tax relief on their allowable expenses of employment. HMRC will then assess the claim, and if they agree the expenses are allowable for tax relief, HMRC will update your tax code for you, so that you obtain tax relief each month for your expenses of employment.

If you have not previously claimed for your expenses of employment for tax years prior, you can fill in a P87 form online, and submit this electronically to HMRC. As this is a claim for a previous tax year, HMRC will issue a repayment to you if you have overpaid tax in the previous years.

The personal tax account section also allows you to see previous employers that HMRC have on record for the current tax year and previous tax years. You will also be able to see your year- to -date gross pay, and the amount of tax paid since being employed.

If an employer is not showing on your account, you can notify HMRC. Similarly, if your last employer is showing on your account for the current tax year who you no longer work for, this can be updated with HMRC on your personal tax account.

Associate Dentists

Associate dentists who are newly self-employed will need to register with HMRC for self-assessment- the system in the UK for preparing and filing a tax return.

When an associate dentist starts self-employment, they can log in to their Government Gateway account and register for a self-assessment. This will involve filling in the online form on HMRC to register for self-assessment, and a Class 2 National Insurance form. It’s important that you state you are self-employed, so HMRC can register you for Class 2 National Insurance-this is the national insurance paid by self-employed individuals which qualifies them for benefits like the State Pension.

Associate dentists working for a dental practice on a self-employed basis will need to prepare and submit an annual self-assessment tax return. Often, this is managed by their accountant. A Business Tax account will be set up on their Government Gateway account, so the dentist can see their previous tax returns that have been submitted, make a tax payment, view their upcoming payments and also complete and file a tax return if they are doing this themselves.

Dentists can then also check their National Insurance and State Pension record on their account. This has its own section and will show; how many full years of National Insurance contributions they have made for State Pension purposes, how many more years they have to contribute fully before retirement to receive the full State Pension and how many years they didn’t have enough National Insurance contributions. It’s important that dentists check this annually, to ensure HMRC have correctly updated their National Insurance record.

The Government Gateway can also be used to apply for child benefit, cease receiving child benefit and make any changes to your child benefit application.

Principal Dentists

Principal dentists can use the Government Gateway for the above purposes, but can also obtain access to their Employers account, so they can access the PAYE for employer’s platform. This enables them to see what PAYE is due and set up a direct debit to pay the PAYE.

If operating as a limited company, they can also request access to the Corporation Tax account for their company.

Registering for the Government Gateway is important for dentists at all stages of their career. Employed dentists can amend their tax code to ensure they are claiming tax relief on their expenses of employment, self-employed dentists can register for self-assessment, ensure their tax returns are filed on time each year and make their tax payments and dentists coming towards retirement can ensure they are on track to receive their full State Pension on retirement.

We can help guide you through

If you are a dentist looking for guidance when using the Government Gateway or any HMRC related documents, we are here to help. To speak to one of our specialist team, please email dentists@moco.co.uk

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