HMRC app: Check income tax, state pension, benefits and more

If you need to contact HM Revenue & Customs about your income tax, self-assessment, state pension, benefits and more, first check if the HMRC app can help. It lets you check and update an array of information and might save you a lengthy phone call. This guide explains how to get the HMRC app and eight of the best ways to use it.

This is the first incarnation of this guide. If you've any feedback or tips, let us know in the HMRC app forum thread.

What is the HMRC app?

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The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) app – free to download on Android and iOS devices – puts everyday tax and benefits tasks at your fingertips, hopefully saving you from having to pick up the phone to HMRC.

You can use the app to check your tax code, income tax information, national insurance number, state pension, various benefits, and more. Some MSE users have been using the app successfully for a few years, such as Christina who told us on Facebook:

Had it a few years, its extremely easy to use and I look at it at least once a week or more to check child benefit, tax credits, my income and help to save. I can make any changes necessary and keep on top of my finances! Highly recommend!

And Caroline, who said:

As I've recently taken early retirement I have found the app useful to check on tax codes, tax paid and whether I've paid enough NI contributions for a full pension.

You'll need your Government Gateway details to sign in

The first time you sign in to the app, you'll need to give your Government Gateway user ID and password. If you don't have this info, or have forgotten it, you can get help on gov.uk.

Once this is set up, you won't be prompted to sign in with your ID or password again. Instead, you can log in using a PIN code, fingerprint, or with facial recognition (depending on what your device supports). 

Don’t want to use the app? Here’s how to contact HMRC

Even though it could save you time, there's no requirement to use the app.So if you don't want to, or don't have a (compatible) smartphone, you can still get in contact with HMRC online, by phone or by post.

How best to do that depends on the nature of your query – see Contact HMRC.

Eight of the best ways to use the HMRC app

  1. Check you’re on the right tax code and not overpaying £1,000s in income tax

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    If you're employed or receive a private pension, you'll have a tax code – a series of numbers and letters that dictates how much tax is deducted from your income before you receive it.

    It sounds simple enough, but every time your circumstances change – whether it's a promotion at work, new employee benefits, taking on another job, giving up work to have children, or leaving the country and the UK tax system altogether – your tax code may also change.

    As a result, millions of people are hit by tax code errors every year. Helpfully, though, the HMRC app lets you check your tax code at a glance. You can then plug this into our handy tax code calculator to see if your code's correct. If not, you could be due £1,000s.

    We've had some great success stories from MoneySavers who've checked their tax code and found they were on the wrong one, like Stephen:

    Hi MSE. Thanks so much for your tip to check your tax code. I had continued to have a benefit in kind figure affecting my tax code after I switched from a company car to taking the cash equivalent five years ago. I am due a rebate of almost £5,000!"

    As well as showing you your tax code, the HMRC app can also show you how much you'll be paid a few days before payday. This could be helpful if you're on a low or variable income and need help with budgeting.

    It also lets you download your employment details from the last five years, and gives you an estimate of how much income tax you'll pay for the current tax year. For more on income tax and how much you'll pay after your tax-free personal allowance, see Tax rates 2023/24

  2. Use self-assessment? Check your info, make a payment, or claim a rebate via the app

    Most UK taxpayers have their taxes deducted automatically from their wages, pensions or savings, and so don't need to file a self-assessment tax return. 

    But if you have income from other sources, including if you're self-employed, you DO need to report it in a tax return. The HMRC app makes this easier.

    It shows you your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and gives you a breakdown of how much tax you owe. It will also show you any overdue amounts or penalties, and your total liability, plus you can pay your liability through the app in just a few quick steps using its Pay By Bank feature.

    This uses Open Banking to pre-populate a payment from your banking apps. This helps reduce the likelihood of payment errors, and reduces the stress of making a payment. You can also get payment deadline reminders from the app to give you a nudge about the deadline.

    Unsure if you need to file a tax return? You can use the Government's free tool to check.

  3. Check your state pension entitlement and whether you can boost it

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    You can use the HMRC app to check how much state pension you're getting, or are due to get if you're younger than 66.

    The full new state pension is £203.85/week – but it's a complicated system, and many won't necessarily receive this. It's calculated on the number of qualifying national insurance (NI) years you have, as well as when you retire. 

    If you're aged between 40 and 73(ish) and the app shows that you’re not getting the max, or not on track to, URGENTLY check if you can boost your entitlement. There are some free ways to plug gaps in your NI record, but if none apply to you, it’s also possible to buy extra NI years and, for a limited time, this can be done all the way back to 2006 – see NI contributions for more. 

    If you're not yet getting the state pension, the app will also tell you the exact date you'll be able to claim it. See our State Pension guide for more info on how it works.

  4. Check and claim child benefit worth £1,000s

    Child Benefit is a monthly payment by the Government to anyone responsible for children under the age of 16 (or 20 if they stay in certain full-time education or unpaid training). 

    If your income (or your partner's is) £50,000/year or under, you can claim the full entitlement of Child Benefit (worth up to £24/week per child) if the child you're applying for lives with you, or if you're paying at least the same weekly amount as the benefit towards looking after them.

    If you're not claiming Child Benefit – either because you didn't know to, or because you've just become a parent for the first time – check if you're eligible for it and apply via the HMRC app.

    If you're already claiming Child Benefit, you can use the app to view your payment history, get proof of entitlement, change your bank details, and inform HMRC your child is staying in full-time education past the age of 16 (meaning your Child Benefit payments will continue).

    For more info, see our full Child Benefit guide.

  5. Access (or apply for) a Help to Save account

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    The Help to Save scheme gives low-income earners claiming Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit a savings boost.

    It pays a 50% bonus on the amount saved, up to a maximum of £1,200 over four years. See our Help to Save guide for more info on how it works.

    Or check the HMRC app to see if you're eligible and update your account details. The Help to Save option on the menu screen, and the information you see, will change depending on your circumstances:

    • If you do already have a Help to Save account – you can use the app to:
      – View transactions, and check your balance and bonus
      – Set a savings goal and get monthly saving reminders
      – Use the calculator to see how saving different amounts will affect your saving and bonus
      – Find out how to pay by standing order or bank transfer

    • If you don't have an account, but you ARE eligible for one – you will see more information including a 'see how much you could save' calculator and the option to 'learn more and apply', which will take you through to the registration pages on the HMRC website.

    • If you don't have an account and are NOT eligible for one – you will simply see a screen which prompts you to 'tell a friend about Help to Save'.
  6. Tell HMRC about changes to your personal circumstances

    In the 'your details' section of the app you can change various personal information including your address and name – for instance if you've changed your name when you got married.

    Bear in mind that changing your address could impact any benefits you're claiming. It's YOUR responsibility to notify HMRC of any changes to your personal circumstances. And it's crucial you do this as soon as possible, otherwise you may find you need to pay back some of the money you've received.

  7. Lost your NI number? Don’t wait for a letter – check in the app and save to your digital wallet

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    If you can't find your National Insurance (NI) number, you no longer need to wait up to 15 days to get a letter from HMRC confirming what it is.

    You can now check it instantly in the app. From there, you can either save it as a letter, which you can then print off if needed. Or you can save your NI number to your digital wallet (either Google Wallet or Apple Wallet) on your smartphone.

    If you do decide to do this, HMRC recommends you have security set up, such as a pattern or PIN code, which will help protect your details if you were to lose your phone.

  8. Check and renew Tax Credits (unless you’d be better off on Universal Credit)

    Tax Credits are benefit payments to support people who are either in work but on a low income, or have children. There are two types:

    1. Child Tax Credit. For people with children, whether working or not. Eligibility depends on how many children you have and the number of hours you work.

    2. Working Tax Credit. For people who work, but are on low income (doesn't matter if you've got kids or not).

    You can no longer apply for Tax Credits. If you need support with your income and it's the first time, or it's a new claim after a period when you weren't claiming Tax Credits, you'll need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

    However, if you're still receiving Tax Credits, you can continue to get them until either your personal circumstances change, or you're moved on to Universal Credit automatically as part of the Government's ongoing 'managed migration' process – whichever happens first.

    The HMRC app lets you to see your Tax Credits, check your future payments, see if any amount has changed, or if the payment date is different from normal, report Tax Credits changes and complete your renewal.

    Still on Tax Credits? Check if you'd be better off switching to Universal Credit.

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