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  • How to submit your Machine Games Duty return online

How to submit your Machine Games Duty return online

This guide explains how to submit a Machine Games Duty (MGD) return online using the MGD Online Service (part of the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Online Service). Submitting an MGD return online is quick, convenient, reliable and secure. You have to submit your return and payment no later than 30 days after the end of the accounting period.

IMPORTANT: You must make an MGD return and pay on time. There are penalties for missing the deadlines.

On the back of your MGD registration document you will find details of the months in which each of your accounting periods ends (four a year) - each accounting period ends on the last day of the month. After the end of each period, you need to make a return and pay what you owe by the last working day before 30 days has elapsed.

HMRC can help you to do this:

If you are an online MGD customer and you have given us your email address we will email you a reminder that your next return is due.

Our online service is quick and easy to use, however if you have chosen to file your returns on paper we will send you one by post at the end of each period. If you think you should have received a paper return but have not done so you should ring the Excise & Customs Helpline straightaway. You can't download a blank paper return from the internet.

On this page:

Using the MGD Online Service

You can submit your returns online using the MGD Online Service. Before you can submit your returns online, you must have signed up for the MGD Online Service. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to see which returns you need to submit and you can submit your returns immediately. If you provided HM Revenue & Customs with an email address when you registered online for MGD you’ll receive an email reminder to let you know when your returns are due.

Important note:

If you registered for MGD using a paper form and now want to submit returns online and haven’t signed up to use HMRC’s Online Service, you’ll need to sign up as a ‘new user’. You’ll need to create an HMRC online account as an ‘organisation’.

If you are a new user sign up for the MGD online service

If you registered for MGD online and you’ve signed up for the MGD Online Service and you want to submit a return, follow this link:

If you are an existing user log into the MGD online service


Using an agent to submit your returns online

You can use an agent to submit your returns online. Before they can submit your return online for you, they’ll have to:

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

You’ll then receive a letter containing a unique authorisation code and asking you to confirm the authorisation request. You should pass the code immediately to your agent (if you agree the authorisation) and they’ll enter it online.

The authorisation code is valid for 30 days from the date of the letter. If it is not activated within 30 days, your agent will need to set up authorisation again and you will receive a fresh authorisation code - so please make sure you don’t delay giving the code to your agent.

Find out how to sign up for MGD for Agents

Find out how to sign up to use MGD online services


Submitting your MGD return online

Once you have signed up for the MGD online service, you can submit your return online by following the instructions below.

Please note that you cannot submit a return for a particular period until that period has finished, as you will not be able to see the blank return for the period until that period has finished.

1. After you have logged in to the MGD online service click on the 'Submit a return' link from the 'At a glance' page. The 'Submit a return' screen lets you view those periods for which a return is due.
2. From the list of periods in the ‘MGD period column’ select the one for which you want to submit a return. You'll be taken to the ‘Submit a return’ screen for that 'accounting period'.
3. Enter the details requested and ensure boxes 1 to 10 are completed. Before you can submit your return, you'll be asked to check and confirm the figures are correct. Please make sure that the box 10 figure on the online return (that is the net MGD that is due) is the same as the figure you have separately calculated. If it isn’t, then you may have either keyed in some of the earlier box figures incorrectly or there is a mistake in your calculations. Please note you will need to complete boxes 1-10 in one session as you will not be able to save a partly completed return and come back to it later.
4. Once you are confident that you have 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 as necessary before you click on 'Submit', as you can’t amend the return online after you have submitted it.
5. On the ‘Security check’ page you’ll be asked to re-enter your User ID and password (this is the same as when you log into HMRC Online Services). When you have done this, you will need to click on 'Submit' to send your return.
6. You’ll then see an 'Acknowledgment' page. This shows your MGD return has been successfully submitted and 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 the page.

A copy of every MGD return you submit online will be automatically saved on your MGD Online Services account for a period of 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.

Please note:

If your return shows that 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 do not submit your return or pay your MGD on time you may be liable to a penalty. To avoid the possibility of a penalty make sure your return and payment of any MGD due is received by the due date.

See examples and comments of how to complete MGD returns

Beginner’s guide to completing your MGD Return online (PDF 419K)


What to do if you have problems submitting your online return

Check you have completed everything correctly

It's important to check you have completed all the relevant boxes in the correct format. You can’t amend the return online after you have submitted it, so it’s important to make sure it’s right before you submit it. If you find an error after your return has been submitted, you can correct the error by either:

If you have checked everything, but HMRC's system won't accept your return, you should check the HMRC website (follow the link below) to check if there are any known problems and what to do if there are.

Find out if there are any current problems with MGD online services

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


Paying your MGD electronically

You should pay any MGD due by an approved electronic method by the due date, which will be shown on your return. You must make sure that cleared funds reach HMRC's bank account by this date. If your payment arrives later than the due date you may be liable to a penalty for late payment.

Read more about how to pay Machine Games Duty including how to pay electronically

Find out about deadlines for your MGD return and payment


Getting MGD news updates

To view MGD news updates, log in to MGD Online Service and go to the 'At a glance' page and the section headed ‘News’

Find out more about MGD


Help and support

Step-by-step guides

You can get help with using the MGD Online Service in the following guides, which can be printed off.

Step by step instructions on how to register for MGD and how to sign up to use HMRC Online Service (PDF 359K)

Beginner's guide to completing your MGD return online (PDF 419K)

Excise and Customs Helpline

If you can’t find the answer to your query on the HMRC website, you can also get help over the telephone from the Excise and Customs Helpline. This helpline can help with all MGD Online services including registering and signing up for MGD Online, submitting your MGD Returns and for general MGD enquiries.

Excise & Customs Helpline