01 June 2024

Suzanne Newton, director general for change delivery at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), takes us behind the scenes of the HMRC app and explains why you should be encouraging your employees to download it


Whether starting a new job or planning for retirement, the HMRC app is the easiest way to speed up processes and manage your money and tax. However, a recent CIPP members’ poll revealed 72% of you said that you either don’t promote the free HMRC app or didn’t even know it exists!

In 2023, over 3.3 million customers used our app, and the numbers keep rising. It consistently ranks in the top ten free finance apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store (often getting to the number one spot) and currently has ratings of 4.8 and 4.7 out of five respectively. Let me explain a bit more how the app can make life easier for you and your employees.

 

Why should you and your employees download the app?

The HMRC app can help payroll professionals like you get one step ahead of time-consuming queries by offering secure, convenient digital solutions to your employees. So, what can the HMRC app do for you and your staff?

 

Taking on new employees

Have you ever hired someone who didn’t know their National Insurance (NI) number, or they’ve forgotten where they stashed their confirmation letter? Or have you asked for a record of their employment history, only to be left waiting while they try to remember their previous employers and dates? By getting your new starters to download the HMRC app, they can find all this information and send you a digital version, instead of spending their time on the phone to HMRC and then waiting up to 15 days for a paper copy to arrive.

Your employees can get their five-year employment history information through our app and find a fully accessible PDF version of their NI confirmation letter instantly. They can even store a digital version of their NI number card to their phone wallet – so they never have to dig out an old document again.

 

When employees are in their new role

With the HMRC app, your employees will have their pay as you earn and tax information at their fingertips. This means they can take control of their finances and find answers themselves when things change, ultimately reducing the number of pay-related queries heading your way.

Features in the app to help your employees manage their finances include:

  • the ability to check their pay before it even lands in their bank account ahead of payday
  • a tax code viewer, with a personalised explanation of what their code means
  • an estimate of earnings and any tax paid
  • the service to claim a tax refund or make a payment for underpaid tax at the end of the tax year, where appropriate
  • the opportunity to tell us about changes to estimated income (for example, when a bonus is due or if they change their working hours). We may use this information to amend their tax code and help to make sure they’re paying the right tax.

By regularly checking and updating their information in the app, your employees can make sure they’re getting paid and taxed the right amount, while keeping on top of what money is available to them.  

 

When they’re thinking about the future

It’s never too soon to start thinking about the future, and I’m sure your employees often have questions about their retirement and pensions. Only 3% of people know how much state pension they’re due to get*, but our app has this information and can support their planning for later life.

Within the app’s state pension forecast, they can:  

  • see their annual state pension amount forecast, with weekly and monthly totals 
  • view their estimated weekly state pension based on contributions made up to the end of the previous tax year  
  • check the maximum amount they could receive if they’ve contributed for every qualifying year  
  • see the date their state pension will start.

For their NI record, they can:   

  • see the number of full contributing years 
  • track the number of years remaining
  • make voluntary top up payments if they have missing years.   

 

How can the app help with everyday tasks?

We all have lives outside of work and the HMRC app can make managing everyday finances much easier too.

Here are just a few of the things you and your employees can do in the app, instead of spending time on the phone to us.

 

Support for families

We’re making it easier for parents to claim and manage their child benefit in the app, so they get all the support they’re entitled to in as little as three working days. Parents can claim as much as £1,331 a year in child benefit for their first child, which could add up to over £21,000 by the time they’re.16. They could also receive up to £881 a year for any other children they have.

It’s a quick and easy way to claim child benefit and get payments through the HMRC app. You can claim from the day after your child’s birth is registered

and claims can be backdated by up to three months.

The income rules for the high income child benefit charge (HICBC) have changed. This means individuals with an income below £60,000 don’t pay HICBC. Even for parents earning between £60,000 and £80,000, the changes mean that getting child benefit could now make financial sense.

If you previously claimed but decided to opt out of receiving payments due to the HICBC, you can also restart your child benefit payments via the app.

You can use the app to view when you’ve received payments, obtain a copy of proof of entitlement and update your bank details. This all helps to ensure you don’t miss a payment, and that you have instant access to the support documents you need.

 

Lost documents and letters

If you’re sick of trying to remember that ‘safe place’ you put an important HMRC letter, you can opt into receiving paperless correspondences via the HMRC app.

By signing up to paperless, you’ll get some of your HMRC letters in the app or your online account. We’ll email you when there’s a new message to read. Your letters are stored digitally, all in one place and ready to print off anytime you need to. Signing up to paperless not only helps save paper, but it means you’ll get notifications sooner too.

 

Add and update personal details

The last thing on your mind when moving house or getting married is telling HMRC about changes to your personal details. However, with the HMRC app you can tick one more thing off your checklist in a few simple steps and let us know about any changes to your address, name or bank details.

Updating this information on the app means you never miss out on a payment and are receiving all the information you need from us.

 

Is the app suitable for all users?

If you or your employees have accessibility requirements and are wondering if the app meets those needs, we have you covered. The app is compatible with assistive technologies and has been designed with accessibility at its heart. The app supports the Welsh language needs of customers by allowing toggling between English and Welsh too.

For those who need a type of support our app can’t provide, our helpline and webchat advisers will always be there. We recognise some people can experience difficulties and that’s why we’re always working to further improve our customer services.

 

Do I need to remember usernames and passwords?

With the app, it’s easier to access your information without having to remember complicated credentials. After signing in for the first time, users can then log in with facial recognition, fingerprint or a six-digit pin for fast and secure entry.

 

So, what are you waiting for?

Our app journey started in 2016 and since then we’ve listened to our customers’ feedback to continuously improve and add new features. We’re determined to make the app experience even better, allowing people to access our services instantly, at a time that suits them.

I hope you and your employees see the benefits of downloading our app and join us on this digital journey.