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As many of us discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, the days of rolling up to your local Centrelink, ATO or Medicare office to lodge a claim or ask a question are long gone.
Instead of talking to real people, we now have to deal with the government via our myGov account and link it to the government agencies providing the services we need.
Using myGov is not always a smooth process. So here’s SuperGuide’s simple explainer on the myGov portal.
What is myGov?
The myGov portal is meant to be a simple and secure way to access government services online, although some users may disagree about it being simple.
Its aim is to provide Australians with a single online destination for accessing government services with one login and one password.
After registering, you receive an inbox that acts as a central place to receive messages (such as online letters and statements) from government agencies including:
- Australian Taxation Office
- Child Support
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- My Health Record
- My Aged Care
- National Disability Insurance Scheme
- Australian JobSearch
- National Redress Scheme
- HousingVic Online Services
- Department of Health Applications Portal
- State Revenue Office Victoria
When you use myGov’s Update Your Details service, you can update your address and contact details with participating government agencies. These include the ATO, Centrelink, Medicare, Australian JobSearch and State Revenue Office Victoria.
How to use myGov
The first step when connecting with myGov is to create a myGov account:
- Go to my.gov.au and select ‘Create an account’.
- Enter an email address. (This address can only be used by one person and cannot be shared with another myGov account, such as one held by your partner.)
- You will be emailed a confirmation code, which you enter into your account application.
- You will be asked if you wish to add a security code to your account (see below).
- Enter your mobile number if you have one.
- Create a password.
- Choose and answer three secret questions. (These can be selected from a list or you can create your own, but the answers should be easy for you to remember.)
- This process creates your myGov account. You will also receive an email with your myGov username.
You can now set up your myGov inbox notification preferences or link your account to other government agencies such as the ATO.
Add protection to your account
If you wish to add more security to your account, you can use a single use security code to sign into myGov instead of answering your secret questions.
With this option, you receive a myGov security code via SMS to your mobile phone each time you attempt to sign into your account.
To use myGov security codes, sign in to your myGov account and turn on this option in the Account settings. Find more tips about protecting your security on the myGov security page.
You can also sign in to your myGov account with your myGovID digital identity if you have downloaded the app and verified your identity.
Make it tough to break in
Given the sensitivity of the private information held by government agencies and the danger of hacking, both logging in and linking to government agencies using myGov is designed to be secure. This means you need to provide proof of record ownership.
Access to your myGov account will only be granted after you successfully present several different types of identification.
When linking your account to a government agency like Centrelink, the evidence myGov requests will be personalised and based on information already held by the agency.
Once you have set up a myGov account, you can link to various government agencies. For example, to link to the ATO you need to:
- Log into your myGov account.
- Go to the Services page and find the ATO listing and select to start the linking process.
- Agree to myGov storing your legal name and date of birth.
- Provide additional information to identify your ATO record by answering a series of questions.
- Agree to the terms and conditions.
- Answer two questions from information in:
- A notice of assessment received in the past five years
- A PAYG payment summary received in the past two years
- A super account statement from the past five years
- A dividend statement from the past two years
- A Centrelink payment summary from the past two years
- Your bank account details (this must be the account you had your income tax refund paid into last year, or one that has earned interest in the past two years).
If you are a first-time tax lodger, you will need to call the ATO call centre to get a unique linking code to help complete this process.
What to do if things go wrong with myGov
If you have problems using myGov, answers to common questions are available on the myGov Help page.
You can ask the myGov digital assistant general questions about using myGov at any time. You can access the digital assistant from the box labelled Assistant in the bottom right-hand corner of all myGov pages.
You can also call the myGov helpdesk on 13 23 07 and select Option 1 (Monday–Friday 7am–10pm, Saturday–Sunday 10am–5pm).
Complaints or suggestions about myGov can be made using a Services Australia Feedback Form. If you use this form, you can either submit your feedback directly online, or sign in to your myGov account and select your Centrelink or Medicare online account and submit it there.
For problems linking the ATO to your myGov account, check the ATO information here.