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After being told recently by my wife that this year I needed to start filing self assessment tax returns due to my now being a director and shareholder in her company, I registered for self assessment just prior to the October 5th deadline.

This triggered a flurry of paper correspondence from HMRC, including a Unique Taxpayer Reference and several requests for self assessments of previous years.

Today, I attempted to start the process of filing these returns online.

The problem I have run into is that I don't seem to have one single Government Gateway ID - I have at least 6 (some dating back more than a decade), and one of those I created today.

I have no email correspondence regarding the "registration" for self assessment, including no notification that I signed up for a Government Gateway ID (I received that notification on every other occasion this year when I managed to sign up for a new ID).

Of all the Government Gateway IDs I have managed to use to log into the HMRC website, none say that I am registered for Self Assessment - yet obviously something happened on the 5th of October to suggest I am.

I have also not received the activation code (via post) that the HMRC website says will be sent out to activate my Self Assessment account. This makes me think there is a difference between what I did on the 5th of October and what I now need to register for to actually file.

So, firstly, is the process that you go through to register by the deadline of the 5th of October different to that which triggers the activation code that sets up the account to actual file under?

And secondly, does it matter which Government Gateway ID I actually use to file the self assessment, given that I am using the same UTR and NI number to file?

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So, I have just spoken to HMRC on this topic and the answer is quite clear:

There are two separate and distinct registration processes involved.

The first is the process which sets up your Self Assessment tax record, and that has the deadline of the 5th of October each year (or it did for 2017). This is the process which triggers the creation of a Unique Taxpayer Reference and also triggers any requests for returns to be sent to you.

The second is the process to register for Self Assessment within your Government Gateway ID account with HMRC - this triggers the activation code to be sent out to you and once finished, allows you to actually file your SA returns. You cannot do this process without a UTR, hence the earlier deadline for the creation of your UTR. The only real deadline for this registration process is the online filing date (currently the 31st January 2018), but the activation code takes 10 days to be issued.

You can use any Government Gateway ID account to sign up to file for Self Assessment, you just have to associate the UTR with that ID and you cant use it with any other ID.

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