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HMRC to build its own online ID system for businesses

HMRC is proceeding with its plan to build a unique online authentication portal following the decommissioning of the current portal, Gateway, in 2018.

A number of sources have confirmed this, with one saying that HMRC is prioritising the authentication capability with businesses in mind. The government’s current digital service Verify doesn’t have this capability.

The new system will include the ability for individuals to nominate an accountant who will be responsible for completing their tax returns.

It’s believed that HMRC feels Verify is too slow to effectively deal with more in-depth business reports.

HMRC was awarded £1.3 billion last year, with the aim being to build one of the world’s most “digitally advanced” tax administrations and it’s hoped that the new system will eventually lead to an extra £1 billion in tax revenue after the year 2020.

An HMRC spokesman did confirm that the tax authority is planning to use a replacement for Gateway in the case of business users.

The spokesman didn’t elaborate further on how involved HMRC would be in designing the system, but said: "The current Government Gateway will be replaced with a new version of the service. The replacement service will continue to support business and agent users into the future."

"GOV.UK Verify is built for individuals. Businesses and agents will continue to use Government Gateway to access online services and there are no plans to migrate these customers to GOV.UK Verify.

“We know that GOV.UK Verify doesn’t work for all our customers yet. To make sure that everyone who wants to use digital services is able to, we’ve put in place a complementary service for those customers struggling to get online, which is based on Government Gateway but with an added 2-step verification process and identity check to further strengthen security.”

53,100 new users used Verify to confirm their identity in January 2016, according to the GDS blog.

A total of 9.24 million users paid their tax online in 2016, with at least half of those doing so through an accountant.

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