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15 May 2019

Are you owed a tax rebate? Check your personal tax account

Millions of UK adults have never used their accounts. Here's why you should check yours

Around 14 million haven't used their Personal Tax Account, a free online service that lets you track your taxes, claim rebates and manage your state pension, the government has revealed - despite the benefits of seeing and managing your tax affairs in one place.

Figures provided to Which? by the government show that 18.8 million people have used the service since it launched in 2015, 57% of the UK working adult population (based ONS figure of 32.7 million people in employment).

These figures suggest that nearly 14 million people could be missing out on an unnoticed tax rebate.

Alongside this data, a recent Post Office survey of 2,101 UK working adults aged 18 and above found that 64% of workers were unaware of the full benefits of using the free online service.

So, should you register for a personal tax account? Read on to find out how to set up your personal tax account, and how to get the most out of the free service.

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Creating a personal tax account

You create your personal tax account on the government digital service (GDS) website, GOV.UK.

Follow this link to reach the personal tax account homepage.

To make sure you're safe, the webpage address should be https://www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account and it should have a padlock beside it, indicating the page is secure.

Click the green 'Start now' button to get started.

Next, you'll be asked to prove your identity. There are four options for doing this.

If it's your first time using the GDS, choose 'Create an account'.

This will give you the choice of registering with Government Gateway or GOV.UK Verify. If you've used GOV.UK to file your self-assessment tax return, you will already have a Government Gateway account.

To create a Government Gateway account you will need your National Insurance number and a recent payslip, P60 or valid UK passport. For a GOV.UK Verify account, you'll need a UK address and a valid passport or photo driving licence.

Using your personal tax account

Once you've logged in, your tax account homepage (now at the web address https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/personal-account) will have a few sections, each allowing you to manage different areas of your taxes.

By following the links in these sections you can:

Check your income tax estimate

The Income section of your personal tax account will let you view Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax from full- or part-time employment in your current and previous tax years.

You'll see your current employer(s), estimated annual income, and estimated income tax.

If you notice any issues with these numbers, you can correct some errors in your record here. For example, you can add additional income or an employer which isn't listed.

Large discrepancies, such as an incorrect record of how much you've earned this year, will have to be resolved over the phone.

You can also use the Income section of your personal tax account to view details of your self-assessment tax return (if you file them) or check if you need to fill one out (if you don't).

Prepare for your state pension

The Pensions section of your personal tax account shows you a forecast of how much state pension you will receive, and when you will be allowed to start withdrawing it.

All the details here, however, are subject to change in line with the law.

See your National Insurance record

The Income and the Pensions sections of your account both let you see an overview of your national insurance contributions. This gives you a record of the years you paid full contributions, the years you didn't, and how many more years you have to pay to qualify for the full state pension.

If you have any gaps in your record, you can pay to fill them here.

Explore your options for benefits

The Benefits section of your personal tax account is more of a directory, pointing you towards other GOV.UK webpages where you can apply for benefits or tax credits.

You can, however, apply for marriage allowance through your account.

Change your details

If you need to inform HMRC of a change of address, your personal tax account lets you do this.

Can I get a rebate through my personal tax account?

If HMRC thinks you have been overcharged, it will send you a P800 calculation telling you that you are owed a rebate.

The P800 will also tell you how you can claim your refund. In some cases, you will be able to claim it online through your personal tax account.

If you click 'What makes up your tax-free allowance' in the sidebar of your PAYE income tax summary, you'll be able to add any missing allowances or tax reliefs using a link at the end of the page. Adding these could also result in a tax rebate.

Your personal tax account will also come in handy if you think you are overpaying your tax, but you haven't been sent a P800.

By reading over your details, you might find a mistake that HMRC wouldn't have the information to notice on its own.

You might, for example, be paying tax on medical insurance or other company benefits that you are not in fact receiving. Or your estimated self-employment income could be much higher than you expect it to be in reality.

Though you may be able to find discrepancies like these through your account, you will likely need to contact HMRC directly if you want to sort them out.

The Post Office conducted a survey with Censuswide from 11th April 2019 - 15th April 2019 with 2,101 nationally representative full or part-time employees aged 18 and over.