GOV.UK Verify ? access government services safely, securely and privately

29 March 2016

The aim of the service is to make it quick and easy to link to a taxpayers mobile phone. Then, in future after log in, with the User ID and Password, HMRC will send a text that will have a code which will be needed to gain access to a user’s Tax Account.

If the phone gets lost or the number is changed, 2 Step Verification can be deactivated by ringing the Online Services Helpdesk.

HMRC is working to raise awareness about 2 Step Verification and going forward updates on cyber security will be available in agent emails, Agent Update, and the Tax Agent Blog. Customers are being made aware of 2 step verification through direct emails, and information bulletins in other partner organisations.

HMRC are introducing 2 step verification with the aim of providing the following advances and benefits:

Security - HMRC know that criminals attempt to use stolen log-in details to access and exploit customers’ Tax Accounts. Without the registered mobile phone, they are far less likely to succeed.

Simplification - many people already do it in other walks of life 2 Step Verification is becoming increasingly common across internet banking and email services.

Increased popularity with users - in January 2016 approximately 600, 000 Personal Tax Account users opted-in to use the service.

On screen steps and the option to register with your mobile phones will be available within Your Tax Account starting from 29th March. However it is intended that HMRC will offer access to this optional service to Your Tax Account customers who are enrolled in Self Assessment gradually, so as to ensure that customers are comfortable using the service. It may be several weeks therefore before it appears as an option.

Not all tax payers will be able to access method of 2 Step Verification because:

  • they may work in an area where there is no mobile network coverage;
  • they may not have a mobile phone that they are comfortable using for this purpose; or
  • they may access Your Tax Account directly through tax/accounting software.

Further solution are being developed which aim to improve security and provide wider access to all taxpayers. Tax agents will be kept informed of future cyber security enhancements by agent emails, Agent Update, and via the Tax Agent Blog.

Recognising how important the security of users and their data is the Government Digital Service (GDS) recently provided an update on how they are continuing to work to make verify better.