HMRC Protecting customer data with 2 Step verification

09 September 2016

One main priority for HMRC as we move ever faster to a ‘digital by default’ tax administration is the protection of customer data and from 29th March 2016, HMRC have provided 2 Step Verification.

2 Step Verification provides an extra layer of security and requires a mobile or landline phone for customers using digital tax accounts.

The service has allowed customers to link their mobile or landline phone to their Tax Account login details. This means, when a customer logs in, HMRC will either text them or send them an automated message with a code which, once entered will enable them to gain access to their Tax Account.

If customers lose their phone or change number, 2 Step Verification can be reset by ringing the Online Services Helpdesk. This process helps to protect their account against fraud.

In July HMRC implemented 2 Step Verification for all Personal Tax customers and all business customers enrolled in Self Assessment.

Over the coming months HMRC will begin to provide 2 Step Verification to other heads of duty including, VAT, Corporation Tax, employer PAYE and also to Agents.

HMRC believe that the provision of this service will bring a number of benefits for customers:

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

2. It’s easy. Many of our customers already use 2 Step Verification in other walks of life. It is commonly used across internet banking and e-mail services.

To use the service, all customers have to do is simply follow the on-screen steps, with either a mobile or landline phone to hand.

Businesses will need to ensure that, if more than one individual uses the account ID, they create new users within their account via our delegation tool. This is a simple process and stops authorised individuals from being locked out of the account. We are working with the professional bodies to ensure our solution fits the needs of the agent community and will keep you informed on this.”

Keep an eye out for updates as plans change and the service expands that will be available via further information on GOV.UK.