How to recover a lost Government Gateway ID for your e-commerce business

Anna Shvets
Lost government gateway - woman in suit jacket on the phone writing at a desk


A lost Government Gateway ID can be problematic, but it can be retrieved. Your 12-digit code is required for the filing of many of your e-commerce businesses taxes and official documents. Follow these steps to recover your lost Government Gateway credentials.

If you signed up for a Government Gateway ID when you started your e-commerce business but didn’t safely store your credentials, you may end up scrambling come tax season. Make sure to store your Government Gateway and any other HMRC credentials somewhere safe and secure that will give you and any staff easy access in future. For now, here’s how to get them back:

To find your e-commerce business’ ID number

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If it’s your ID number you are missing, you can attempt to retrieve it in one of three ways:

Search your email archive for an email that looks like this:

Lost government gateway - example email

Call HMRC on 0300 2003600. You will need to confirm details about your e-commerce business to be granted access. Depending on the details you are missing, this may take some time. You may be asked to confirm:

  • Name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Personal Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • National Insurance Number
  • Most recent P60
  • Valid UK passport
  • Employer’s PAYE reference if applicable
  • Accounts Office Reference
  • VAT Registration Number if applicable

If you registered your e-commerce business within the last 28 days, you can simply request a new one.

If your code expired because you didn’t log in fast enough after registering, you should re-enrol your e-commerce business for access.

To find a missing password

If you still haven’t lost a Government Gateway ID but have misplaced your e-commerce business’ password, that can be retrieved here. In order to reset your password, you will need your Government Gateway ID number (you may have to retrieve this first and then reset your password) and the email address you created the account under.

If you are unsure which email address you used, search for correspondence from HMRC across your e-commerce business and personal accounts until you find it.

Lost government gateway - woman sitting at a desk in a red top working on a laptop and smiling

Storing your Government Gateway ID

The process of retrieving a lost Government Gateway ID can be frustratingly long; especially, if you have also misplaced your password and/or no longer have access to the email address you used when you created the account.

 Once you have retrieved your e-commerce business’ details, make sure you won’t be in the same position again by using Xero’s filing system. Xero is so much more than a regular accounting app, with functionality designed specifically for e-commerce from the ground up. That’s why it includes an option to store your key e-commerce business documents in a library, so “all your records are stored and backed up online for easy reference and sharing”.


Can I create a new Government Gateway ID?

If you need to set up a new Government Gateway account, the process is quick and easy. Simply visit GOV.UK’s sign in page and follow these simple steps:

  • Click ‘Create sign in details’
  • Enter the email address you want to be attached to your account.

You will then be able to create a new Government Gateway ID.

Is UTR and Government Gateway ID the same? 

No they are not. A lot of people confuse UTR and a Government Gateway ID when in fact, they are two completely different things.

What is the difference? You need a UTR to complete your tax return or when contacting HMRC. When accessing HMRC online services, you’ll need your Government Gateway user ID, which is a different reference!

Does a Ltd company have its own Government Gateway?

Yes, if you are a director of a Limited Company, it’s essential that you have a Government gateway portal set up for your Limited Company.

Once this has been set up, you will then need to add or link up the following taxes:

  • Corporation tax
  • PAYE (if you are registered to run a payroll)
  • VAT (if you are VAT registered)


How do I know if I have a Government Gateway account?

As soon as you registered an account with HMRC, you should have also received

your government gateway ID. This is generally done when registering for your first Self Assessment, VAT, and other HMRC services.

Next Steps

Once you have recovered your lost Government Gateway ID, it’s time to submit your e-commerce tax returns. If you would like a helping hand with this or transferring your accounts over to Xero for better functionality, get in touch with our team.

Speak to an eCommerce accountant

For any eCommerce business, it’s important to stay on top of your accounting. The best way to do this is by seeking the advice of an experienced, specialist eCommerce accountant who will have the expertise to help.

Get in touch with Unicorn Accounting today!

The best time to act is now.

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