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UK HMRC and Mobile Phones

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All,

In order to access HMRC systems I currently need a mobile phone to receive a on-demand access code to enter when I login.

Once in Australia how do people manage to retain this access to a UK mobile? Can you change the number to an AUS mobile or is there some other way?

If you do retain a UK mobile for this, which network and how much does retaining it cost (and what else do you use that number for)?

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

I use my Australia mobile with no problems. I’d suggest keeping your UK mobile until you are sure you can get it switched over though, as you’ll need it to login in order to make the change

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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I use my Aus mobile to receive the access code for the Government Gateway. 

I don't know what the process is for updating the number as the system was introduced after I moved here, but I assume there is an option to update your number to a local one.

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I use my Aus number as well - can't remember the process but assume it's fairly simply to change your contact number via the online account.


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Just to warn you that you can't file your Self Assessment tax return online on the HMRC website if you live abroad as a non-resident. You either have to use specialist software or file a paper return. This is because the online form doesn't include the SA109 section that you will need to complete.

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Chartered Accountant (England & Wales); Registered Tax Agent & Fellow of The Tax Institute (Australia)

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Just thought I’d add another option... I get my access code through the app not mobile phone. Although someone I know uses her Aus mobile number.

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1 hour ago, BusbyBoo said:

Just thought I’d add another option... I get my access code through the app not mobile phone. Although someone I know uses her Aus mobile number.

Y-e-e-e-s but where is the app?  Isn't it on a phone?  🙂


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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9 hours ago, Ken said:

Just to warn you that you can't file your Self Assessment tax return online on the HMRC website if you live abroad as a non-resident. You either have to use specialist software or file a paper return. This is because the online form doesn't include the SA109 section that you will need to complete.

Or use a tax accountant who can lodge UK tax returns electronically.  

Maybe even a tax accountant based in Australia.  😉

Best regards.

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Managing Director, Go Matilda Visas - www.gomatilda.com

Registered Migration Agent Number 0102534; Registered Tax Agent (Australia)

Chartered Accountant (UK, and Australia)

T - 023 81 66 11 55 (UK) or 03 9935 2929 (Australia)

E - alan.collett@gomatilda.com and acollett@bdhtax.com

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9 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Y-e-e-e-s but where is the app?  Isn't it on a phone?  🙂

On my phone or tablet, but I don’t need a phone number for it. So makes no difference as long as you can connect a device to wifi. As I read it OP is trying to ascertain how to still access HMRC without a UK phone number, it’s another option and I personally would assume OP would still possess a phone that can download an app?.....

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, BusbyBoo said:

On my phone or tablet, but I don’t need a phone number for it. So makes no difference as long as you can connect a device to wifi. As I read it OP is trying to ascertain how to still access HMRC without a UK phone number, it’s another option and I personally would assume OP would still possess a phone that can download an app?.....

Does it work on an Australian phone? I've been tripped up by a couple of British apps which aren't downloadable on an Australian phone.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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On 05/01/2021 at 21:02, Ausvisitor said:

All,

In order to access HMRC systems I currently need a mobile phone to receive a on-demand access code to enter when I login.

Once in Australia how do people manage to retain this access to a UK mobile? Can you change the number to an AUS mobile or is there some other way?

If you do retain a UK mobile for this, which network and how much does retaining it cost (and what else do you use that number for)?

Thanks

You MUST keep your UK mobile service active if you want to be able to access UK banks accounts because they are all switching (or have already switched) over to two-factor authentication, so you'll receive an SMS when you try to login or transfer money. I think you can access your UK Government Gateway account using the Authy app, so you may not need it for that. You will also be surprised how many organisations now send out an SMS to verify your identity. I would say that since I returned here a year ago, my UK mobile receives security SMSs at least once a week. I'd be totally scr*wed without it!

I use iD Mobile and pay £4/month. My wife uses the same service but has to pay £5 (I think she signed up a year later under a different plan), and now it's £6/month - but that's inflation for you. Whoever you use, you need to make sure their service supports international roaming in Australia because some of them don't.

https://www.idmobile.co.uk/sim-only-deals

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3 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Does it work on an Australian phone? I've been tripped up by a couple of British apps which aren't downloadable on an Australian phone.

It's not your phone that's 'Australian' - it's the location designated in either your Google or Apple account. If you retain credit cards from both Australia and the UK, you can easily switch between countries to download the apps you require.

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4 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Does it work on an Australian phone? I've been tripped up by a couple of British apps which aren't downloadable on an Australian phone.

Hi Marissa, I’ve never had a uk phone as I haven’t lived there since they resembled bricks 😁. So when I set it all up it was the only way I could do it. I downloaded the app with no problems and it still works. If they have changed it since I did it a couple of years ago it still works is all I can say. I open the app click on access code and within 30 seconds have to enter it on website. When I set it up it wouldn’t let me put an Aus tel number in, hence I did the app. Hubby is set up the same. However I have a couple of mates who were able to set up with Aus mobile number and they get code via text. However what I will say is when I set mine up they still accepted an expired passport whereas I don’t think you can use that method now, it has to be valid.

Also wanted to add to those interested..... if you were working and paying NI before you left UK you can still apply to top up with the class 2 (I think, anyway the cheaper one) contribution. It takes a while to fill in the forms and get a response but for 160 quid ish a year might be worth it for some. Sadly I have to pay the bigger fee so I’ll need to make sure I live till I’m 70 to get my money back 🤪, but hubby pays the lower figure and you can still catch up for 10 years or so. Only the individual can decide if it’s worth it, depending on if you’re gonna get Aussie means tested one. 😎

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11 minutes ago, BusbyBoo said:

However what I will say is when I set mine up they still accepted an expired passport whereas I don’t think you can use that method now, it has to be valid.

Also wanted to add to those interested..... if you were working and paying NI before you left UK you can still apply to top up with the class 2 (I think, anyway the cheaper one) contribution.

That's correct.

I just attempted to register and check NI back payments. I got as far as registering my Aus mobile to receive the access code, but my expired passport was not accepted for ID so I have requested a new one.

I also sent off the NI38 to register for payments and check what shortfall I can pay.

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6 hours ago, Wanderer Returns said:

It's not your phone that's 'Australian' - it's the location designated in either your Google or Apple account. If you retain credit cards from both Australia and the UK, you can easily switch between countries to download the apps you require.

How do you manage it? I switched my Google account over to Australia and now it won’t let me switch back because it auto detects my actual location 


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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8 hours ago, Wanderer Returns said:

You MUST keep your UK mobile service active if you want to be able to access UK banks accounts because they are all switching (or have already switched) over to two-factor authentication, so you'll receive an SMS when you try to login or transfer money. I think you can access your UK Government Gateway account using the Authy app, so you may not need it for that. You will also be surprised how many organisations now send out an SMS to verify your identity. I would say that since I returned here a year ago, my UK mobile receives security SMSs at least once a week. I'd be totally scr*wed without it!

I use iD Mobile and pay £4/month. My wife uses the same service but has to pay £5 (I think she signed up a year later under a different plan), and now it's £6/month - but that's inflation for you. Whoever you use, you need to make sure their service supports international roaming in Australia because some of them don't.

https://www.idmobile.co.uk/sim-only-deals

Santander send SMS to Australian mobiles for their 2FA so no need for a UK mobile. Some providers won't send SMS to a foreign mobile number but give the option for the 2FA code to go via email or an App.


Chartered Accountant (England & Wales); Registered Tax Agent & Fellow of The Tax Institute (Australia)

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14 hours ago, Ken said:

Santander send SMS to Australian mobiles for their 2FA so no need for a UK mobile. Some providers won't send SMS to a foreign mobile number but give the option for the 2FA code to go via email or an App.

It depends on the bank of course, but assuming that you'll still be able to access your bank account and its functionality (transfer funds etc) without access to the mobile number associated with the account, is a dangerous precedent.

When I returned to the UK 6 years ago, I needed my Australian mobile number to access my UBank account. Unfortunately, after 6 months I forgot to add a top-up credit to keep the service active, and Optus disconnected it. I couldn't change the number online without receiving an SMS to my old number, or receiving a security code to an Australian address (that I no longer lived at). Bottom line was that my money was locked up for 5 years, but at least it was earning interest at better rates than in the UK!

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16 hours ago, Marisawright said:

How do you manage it? I switched my Google account over to Australia and now it won’t let me switch back because it auto detects my actual location 

You should be able to change it - I did mine 6 months ago and then switched it back to Australia afterwards. You might have to clear you cache data first, and temporarily switch off location services for your Google Play account.

https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/7431675?hl=en

If it still doesn't allow you to do it, then you could use a VPN (I use NordVPN) and select the UK as your location. This is a rather drastic option if you don't already subscribe to a VPN service though, but I know a lot of expats do so they can watch iPlayer etc.

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Couple of things I do:

Last time in UK I got a three payg. Credit does not expire, just need to send a text every 6 months. 

I put 5 GBP on it 5 years ago, still got 4 left (texts are 2p). I use this for UK sms requests. Like @Wanderer Returns says, you can get in trouble if it does expire, or some other reason. However, you should be able to call them up to change it.

For various bank apps, I found they will not let you download if not in the country (certainly happened with Nationwide), You may not find them eg on google play store. I used a vpn to switch to UK, downloaded it. Then I disable it when not using it.  I found using the app was a lot easier for some things, as authentication is already done (because you are on the phone), so only password may be needed.

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1 hour ago, Wanderer Returns said:

You should be able to change it - I did mine 6 months ago and then switched it back to Australia afterwards. You might have to clear you cache data first, and temporarily switch off location services for your Google Play account.

https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/7431675?hl=en

If it still doesn't allow you to do it, then you could use a VPN (I use NordVPN) and select the UK as your location. This is a rather drastic option if you don't already subscribe to a VPN service though, but I know a lot of expats do so they can watch iPlayer etc.

I found that answer too, and it made no difference.  I hadn't thought of using the VPN.  I do have one, which I bought to watch iPlayer.  I've tried a few and they're all pretty useless:  either they get blocked by iPlayer every so often, or the picture quality is poor.   I don't think I tried NordVPN though.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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2 hours ago, davlap said:

Couple of things I do:

Last time in UK I got a three payg. Credit does not expire, just need to send a text every 6 months. 

I put 5 GBP on it 5 years ago, still got 4 left (texts are 2p). I use this for UK sms requests. Like @Wanderer Returns says, you can get in trouble if it does expire, or some other reason. However, you should be able to call them up to change it.

For various bank apps, I found they will not let you download if not in the country (certainly happened with Nationwide), You may not find them eg on google play store. I used a vpn to switch to UK, downloaded it. Then I disable it when not using it.  I found using the app was a lot easier for some things, as authentication is already done (because you are on the phone), so only password may be needed.

@davlap that sounds like a good, cost effective option - better than paying £4/month which I do - and I thought was quite cheap. When I was in Australia before I used to do something similar with TMobile, but then they got gobbled up by someone else about the time I returned to the UK.

 

1 hour ago, Marisawright said:

I found that answer too, and it made no difference.  I hadn't thought of using the VPN.  I do have one, which I bought to watch iPlayer.  I've tried a few and they're all pretty useless:  either they get blocked by iPlayer every so often, or the picture quality is poor.   I don't think I tried NordVPN though.

NordVPN are good but it's not free, although cost effective if you sign up over 3 years. They know the No.1 reason people sign up to the service is to watch iPlayer and other on-demand services abroad, so they have been throwing a lot of resources at outwitting the BBC. I don't really bother with it for that tbh, but it's very handy when you just want to search for something as though you're in the UK. You're also not compromising your own security by using a proxy server, and with Nord you can run it on multiple devices. I like the idea that I can avoid government snooping too, if I so wish 🙂 

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