Business tax – guidance

Machine Games Duty: use the online service

Find out how to sign up for the Machine Games Duty Online Service, register online and how to submit a return.


You can use the Machine Games Duty (MGD) Online Service to:

  • register your business or group for MGD
  • view your registration details
  • make changes to your registration details - for example your contact address
  • add, change or remove your authorised agent
  • view your online account and submit returns and payments

Depending on your circumstances, you might need some or all of the following information when you register:

  • your Gambling Commission operating licence number
  • any other types of licences or permits under which you provide machine games for play
  • the address where machine games are provided for play which aren’t covered by any licence or permits
  • the approximate number of machines you expect to have available for play
  • your VAT registration number
  • your Unique Taxpayer Reference
  • your National Insurance number
  • the Company Registration Number including prefix and date of incorporation (Corporate Bodies and Limited Liability Partnerships only)

Register online

To register online you’ll need to register for HMRC Online Services as an ‘organisation’ and get a User ID and password.

If you’ve already registered for HMRC Online Services and you have a User ID and password you can register for MGD straight away and add it to the services you use. Go to Section A.

If you’re a new user and signing up to use HMRC Online Services for the first time, or if you have an existing account as an ‘individual’, you’ll need to create a new HMRC online account as an ‘organisation’. Go to Section B.

Section A: register with an existing HMRC account

  1. Go to HMRC Online Services type in your User ID and password in the ‘Existing User’ section and click on the ‘login’ button.

  2. From the ‘Your HMRC Services’ screen click on the ‘Register for HMRC taxes’ link.

  3. From the screen called ‘Your HMRC Services Registration - What would you like to do?’ you should click on the ‘Register for Machine Games Duty’ link and click next.

  4. You’re now ready to start registering for MGD. Follow the process from number 8 in Section B to start your registration.

Section B: register as a new user

If you’re a ‘new user’ you should follow the registration and enrolment process below:

  1. Go to HMRC Online Services.

  2. Click on ‘Register’ in the ‘New User’ section.

  3. Click on ‘Register for Machine Games Duty’.

  4. If you’re a ‘new user’ and need to create a new account as an ‘organisation’, click on ‘Create an account for me’.

  5. Type in your full name and email address, then confirm your email address.

  6. Create your password - follow the notes about the format and make sure you confirm your chosen password. Read the terms and conditions and confirm that you accept.

  7. You have now been set up with an online account and your unique User ID for that account is shown on screen. Make a note of your User ID and password as you’ll need them to use the HMRC Online Service.

  8. On the ‘Register for Machine Games Duty (type of business)’ screen - select the type of business you want to register (for example sole proprietor), and confirm that you have read the terms and conditions.

  9. The ‘What you will need’ screen will let you know the information you’ll need to register.

  10. Based on the type of business you’ve selected, you’ll need to complete a number of screens to complete your registration application. On the ‘Registration summary’ screen you must complete all the following sections before you can complete your registration:

  • About you
  • About the business
  • Machine Games Duty registration
  1. Complete the declaration section and select in what capacity you’re completing the registration. You’ll then need to re-enter your User ID and password.

  2. When you’ve submitted the registration application successfully, an acknowledgment reference number is displayed on screen.

  3. If your registration is successful you’ll receive your MGD registration certificate (including your MGD registration number) in the post and you’ll be able to view it online.

The MGD registration step-by-step guide gives more detail about how to sign up for HMRC Online Services and registering online for MGD. This includes screen prints to help guide you through the registration process.

Activate the MGD Online Service

Once you’ve registered, your HMRC Online Services page will show the services you can use, including MGD.

You’ll need to wait for your activation code (sometimes referred to as an activation PIN) to arrive in the post before you can use your account. You should receive this within 7 days, in an envelope marked ‘Government Gateway’.

You’ll need the activation code to:

  • view your account
  • update your MGD registration details

Your activation code is only valid for 28 days, so you should click on ‘Activate your services’ in HMRC Online Services and use your activation code as soon as you can.

If you don’t activate your service within 28 days, you’ll have to log in with your User ID and password and re-enroll for the MGD Online Service. You’ll then receive a new Activation Code in the post. When you’ve used your code, you should destroy it securely.

Use the MGD Online Service

When you’ve activated your account you can log into HMRC Online Services and access the MGD Online Service by following the steps in Section A.

You’ll be able to see which returns you need to submit and you’ll be able to submit your returns online immediately. If you gave HMRC an email address when you registered online, you’ll receive an email reminder to let you know when your returns are due.

Submit your return online

You won’t be able to submit a return for a particular period until that period has finished.

  1. When you log in to the MGD Online Service, click the ‘Submit a return’ link from the ‘At a glance’ page. The ‘Submit a return’ screen lets you view periods where a return is due.

  2. From the list in the ‘MGD period column’, select the one you want to submit a return for. You’ll be taken to the ‘Submit a return’ screen for that ‘accounting period’.

  3. Enter the details requested and make sure you complete boxes 1 to 12. Before you can submit your return, you’ll be asked to check and confirm the figures are correct. Please make sure that the figure in box 12 on the online return (net MGD due), is the same as the figure you’ve calculated. If it isn’t, you may have entered some of the earlier figures incorrectly or made a mistake in your calculations. You’ll need to complete boxes 1 to 12 in one session, as you’ll not be able to save a partly completed return and come back to it later.

  4. When you’re confident you’ve entered the correct figures, tick the ‘Declaration’ box to confirm that the information entered is correct and complete. If you need to make any changes you should amend the return before you click ‘Submit’. You can’t amend the return online after you’ve submitted it.

  5. On the ‘Security check’ page you’ll be asked to re-enter your User ID and password. When you’ve done this, click on ‘Submit’ to send your return.

  6. You’ll be taken to an ‘Acknowledgment’ page, which shows your MGD return has been submitted. This also gives you an acknowledgment reference number showing the date and time it was submitted. It’s a good idea to make a note of the acknowledgment reference number or print this page.

A copy of every MGD return you submit online will be saved on your MGD Online Services account for 15 months after submission. You can view your submitted returns from the left hand menu on the ‘At a Glance’ page by selecting the ‘View submitted returns’ link. You can also print off a copy of the return.

If you don’t owe MGD

If your return shows you don’t owe any MGD in this period you must still complete a return (sometimes referred to as a ‘nil’ return), by entering a value of ‘0’ in all boxes.

If you don’t submit your return or pay your MGD on time you could receive a penalty.

Problems with your return

It’s important to check you’ve completed all the relevant boxes in the correct way. You can’t change the return online after you’ve submitted it, so it’s important to make sure it’s right first time. If you find a mistake after your return has been submitted, you can correct it by either:

If you can’t submit your return and you get an error message, you’ll need to print or make a note of the details before contacting HMRC.

If you’ve checked everything, but the system still won’t accept your return, you should check the service issues page to check if there are any known problems and what to do if there are.

MGD for Agents online service

The MGD for Agents online service lets your agent carry out many tasks online on your behalf. Your agent can use the service to:

  • set up online client authorisations, so they can act on your behalf
  • make changes to your registration details
  • view your accounts online and submit returns on your behalf

Before they can submit your return online, they’ll have to:

  • sign up to use HMRC Online Services
  • enroll for the MGD for Agents online service
  • set up an authorisation to act on your behalf

You’ll receive a letter containing a unique authorisation code and asking you to confirm the request. If you’re happy to do so, you should pass the code immediately to your agent and they’ll enter it online.

The code is valid for 30 days from the date of the letter. If it’s not activated within the 30 days, your agent will need to set up their authorisation again and you’ll receive a fresh code.

Find out how to sign up for Machine Games Duty for Agents.

Search the MGD register

When businesses register for MGD, HMRC add the details to the MGD register. It’s a public list of all MGD registrations and anyone can search the MGD register online.

To search register just enter a postcode and it will show all businesses registered at that postcode. You can print the search results for your records.

If a registered business has a number of different premises, a search may only show their principal place of business. However, the MGD registration is valid for all their premises (including those not displayed), provided that relevant licences or permits are held.

The information on the MGD register is updated every night.

HMRC won’t take any action against you if you act on the information given, but it’s later shown to be inaccurate at the time you carried out your search.