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Forms: in a detailed guide

When to use

Use this pattern if users need to read detailed guidance before using the form, such as:

  • how to use the form
  • when to use the form
  • eligibility criteria

Before you create the new detailed guide, check if any of the information is already somewhere else, for example in mainstream content or a specialist guide. If it is, do not repeat it, insert a link instead.

Types of form that can be included in this format are:

  • Interactive guidance forms — these are added as external links. The URL will begin with https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/guidance
  • PDFs that can be completed on-screen (interactive) — these are added as file attachments and require Adobe to open and complete
  • PDFs that cannot be completed on screen (not interactive) — these are added as file attachments and do not require Adobe to open
  • LC forms — these are added as external links. The URL will begin with https://public-online.hmrc.gov.uk/lc/content
  • G-forms — these are added as external links. The URL will begin with https://tax.service.gov.uk
  • forms in open document formats — forms in .ods or odt. format are added as file attachments
  • KANA forms — these are added as external links. The URL will begin with https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/shortforms

More than one type of form can be hosted on the same page. You can still only use the green button once on the page (check the green button pattern for more information). For example: Register as a bingo promoter.

When not to use

Do not use this pattern if users do not need to read any detailed guidance before using the form, and only need to:

  • check how to use the form
  • check where to send the form
  • get any contact information for help and advice
  • sign into the Government Gateway

If this applies, you should use a publication guidance format.

How to design using this pattern

Document type

Detailed guide

Title

Decide if the title should focus on the action a user needs to take or the name of the form. This will depend on how users will find and navigate to the form.

Try to avoid including the form number.

Summary

If there’s a form number, you should include it. For example, ‘Register your business for VAT if you’re distance selling into Northern Ireland using form VAT1A.’

Body

Link to any related guidance in a call to action box. For example, this guide might explain how to use the form, but there may also be mainstream guidance on eligibility.

When adding file attachments, use the publication box !@n markdown in Whitehall.

If the form is applicable in Wales

If the form is applicable in Wales, but is not translated, include the following text:

Email HMRC to [ask for the form in Welsh](https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/welsh-language-helplines#email).

If the form is translated into Welsh, you do not need to include this, but you must create a Welsh version of the entire page.

Accessibility

Do not tick ‘Attachment is accessible’ — the attachment must always have the ‘not suitable for assistive technology’ callout.

You do not need to include a link to the Accessibility Statement for forms in open document formats (odt. and .ods), G-forms or PDFs that you cannot complete on screen.

If there is an interactive guidance form that hosts the other methods of submitting the form, you will not need to include this as it will be in the interactive guidance.

For any other formats, include the following text under the link to the form:

^This file may not be suitable if you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader). If you need a more accessible format, email <different.format@hmrc.gov.uk> and tell us what format you need. It will help if you tell us what assistive technology you use. Read the [accessibility statement for HMRC forms](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-statement-for-hmrc-interactive-forms).

Specific form formats

Interactive guidance forms

Interactive guidance forms are hosted on: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/guidance.

If the interactive guidance gives the different methods of submitting the form as options, do not include them in the body text on Whitehall. There should be no repetition.

PDFs that cannot be completed on screen

These are PDFs that must be printed before they can be completed. They do not require Adobe.

These do not need any specific instructions for the user.

If the address to send the form is not included on the form itself, include the following text under the link to the form:

## Where to send the form

$A

$A

LC forms

These will be hosted on https://public-online.hmrc.gov.uk/lc/content/

The user will fill these forms online and then print and post them.

Include the following text:

s1. Get all of your information together before you start. You will fill this form in online and you cannot save your progress.

s2. Fill in [name of form](LINK).

s3. Print and post it to HMRC, using the postal address shown on the form.

If the address to send the form is not included on the form itself, remove ‘using the postal address shown on the form’ from step 3 and include the following text under the steps:

## Where to send the form

$A

$A 

Check with the subject matter expert if you need to include the following text:

If the form does not open, [contact online services support for more help](https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/online-services-helpdesk).

G-forms (Government Gateway)

G-forms are hosted on https://www.tax.service.gov.uk. Not to be confused with interactive guidance forms hosted in the '/guidance' directory of the domain.

If the URL includes ‘fill-online’, check the guidance page this links to and avoid any repetition.

Depending on the design of the detailed guide, use either an inline link or a green button.

If users can only sign in with their Government Gateway user ID and password, use the following markdown before linking to the G-form:

## Apply/Register online

You’ll need to sign in with your Government Gateway user ID and password (if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you first try to sign in).

If users can also sign in with their email address, use the following markdown before linking to the G-form:

## Apply/Register online
      
You’ll need to either:

* sign in with your Government Gateway user ID and password (if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you first try to sign in)

* use your email address to get a confirmation code that you can use to sign in

PDF forms that can be completed on-screen

Include the following markdown:

## How to complete the form

You need to:

s1. Download and save the form on your computer.
s2. Open it using the [latest free version of Adobe Reader](http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/).
s3. Complete it on-screen.

!@1

^The form may not work if you try to open it in your internet browser. If the form does not open, contact [online services support for more help](https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/online-services-helpdesk).
                ## How to complete the form

You need to:

s1. Download and save the form on your computer.

s2. Open it using the [latest free version of Adobe Reader](http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/).

s3. Complete it on-screen.

test
              

Forms in open document formats

These include .odt and .ods formats.

These do not need any specific instructions for the user.

KANA forms

These do not need any specific instructions for the user.

These forms are hosted on: https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/shortforms

For example: Disclosure Of Avoidance Scheme - form AAG1.