GOV.UK Verify authentication service nears launch

24th May 2016

UK taxpayers will soon be required to verify their identity in order to gain access to online services from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and various other government digital platforms.

The Government claims its new digital service, designed to make it easier for citizens to confirm their identity online, could go live as soon as this week, moving the Verify authentication service from a beta version to a live version.

The news comes just days after HMRC confirmed its delay of consultation documents on its ‘Making Tax Digital’ service until after the EU referendum.

Janet Hughes, identity assurance programme director, Government Digital Services (GDS), confirmed in a blog post published late last month that the GOV.UK Verify service is in its final stages of competition before it moves away from the beta testing phase and is rolled out across HMRC and 50 other government services.

There’s no doubt that the tax authority will be a primary adopter of the new Verify authentication service given that taxpayers will be required to sign in to their personal tax accounts, completing their self-assessment obligations and any other tax-related tasks.

“Live will not be a dramatic change. It’s part of an ongoing gradual process of developing and scaling up the service and GOV.UK Verify will actually look exactly the same to users, apart from the removal of the beta label,” said Hughes.

Matthew Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “Privacy and cyber security are nothing without reliable verification of identity.

“So I’m delighted to announce that GOV.UK Verify has passed its service assessment and will go live next week.

“Verify allows secure and straightforward identity checking without the need for an identity database – and underpins the digital transformation of Government and I want to thank the Verify team for their innovative, determined and dedicated work.”

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