Identity Assurance: What you need to know

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With Identity Assurance (IDA) set to launch in 2015, TaxCalc commercial director Steve Checkley gave the lowdown at Accountex on what it is and how it could affect practitioners and their clients. Rachael Power reports.

Speaking at the tax theatre during this year’s Accountex exhibition, Checkley updated attendees on IDA’s progress.

“There has been little published on IDA by HMRC, despite it being less than 12 months to the introduction date,” he said. As a pan-governmental policy, Checkley said his presentation was based on publications issued by the government and research he had carried out while working with colleagues at the Business Application Software Developer Association (BASDA) on the government’s digital and online strategies.

For those who may not be familiar with the concept. IDA is a new method that will allow agents, taxpayers and businesses to file returns and make other online submissions using government systems. Based on third party services, IDA will verify the identity of the user through a submission and verification process to reduce online fraud.

IDA is already in being tested by a small group of invited users, in which UK employees are notifying HMRC of benefits-in-kind. A wider phase of "public" beta testing is expected to take place later in the year.

Checkley explained that the push by the government toward IDA could see the end of the Government Gateway by 2016-17. Instead, taxpayers and individuals will be able to access government services online directly, using identities provided by private sector organsiations. HMRC will not store personal data about you or your business. Instead, five organisations will be able to provide you with an online account, including:

  • The Post Office
  • Verizon
  • MyDex
  • Digidentity
  • Experian.

Eventually, the UK government hopes that banks and other organisations holding personal data will join the initiative, he added.

Under IDA, firms’ current methods of filing online is going to change. This means that sometime between 2015 and the end of the Government Gateway, accountants will need to get an online account with an identity provider and acquire new filing credentials with HMRC...

Continued...

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Comments

IDA

LH | | Permalink

I have been asking GDS to publish some (laymans) information & guidance on IDA for sometime now - who in the street knows that its coming???

 

carnmores's picture

more bloody nonsense    1 thanks

carnmores | | Permalink

From bureaucrats who don't live in the real world, don't they realise that whatever systems they put in place someone will find away around them

Wild Billy's picture

Why nonsense?    1 thanks

Wild Billy | | Permalink

carnmores wrote:
From bureaucrats who don't live in the real world, don't they realise that whatever systems they put in place someone will find away around them

Why would you WANT to find a way around it? It is an odd for that to be your first reaction. Not, "I want to understand more about this" or "I wonder what I need to do to prepare for this". No, it's how do I get around this. And then we wonder why HMRC take the attitude it does!

For me, if it stops fraud then it is hard not to support the principle. I'd rather wait and see how it worksin the trial before judging it, calling it nonsense, or knee-jerking into thinking about how I am going to work around it. But that's just little ol' me.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

I don't think Carnmores would ...    1 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

Wild Billy wrote:

carnmores wrote:
From bureaucrats who don't live in the real world, don't they realise that whatever systems they put in place someone will find away around them

Why would you WANT to find a way around it? It is an odd for that to be your first reaction. Not, "I want to understand more about this" or "I wonder what I need to do to prepare for this". No, it's how do I get around this. And then we wonder why HMRC take the attitude it does!

For me, if it stops fraud then it is hard not to support the principle. I'd rather wait and see how it worksin the trial before judging it, calling it nonsense, or knee-jerking into thinking about how I am going to work around it. But that's just little ol' me.

... I think he was just stating the bleedin' obvious, whatever is done the fraudsters will beat it - I don't see anything in his post suggesting he will be looking to circumvent it himself.

carnmores's picture

thank you OGA

carnmores | | Permalink

On the money as always, we've seen enough to recognise life for what it is !

carnmores's picture

and Wild Billy

carnmores | | Permalink

You aren't living upto your name ;-)

gerrysims's picture

How does the lyric go ...    1 thanks

gerrysims | | Permalink

What's that coming over the hill
Is it a monster? Is it a monster?

As advisers to non-resident clients where two of the directors are non-resident I can see this is going to be a(nother) nightmare to replace the current 64-8 lashup.

Supreme Leader's picture

Brokent link    1 thanks

Supreme Leader | | Permalink

The link at the bottom of the article is broken. It is directing to "https://www.gov.uk/trasnformation" which I assume should be "https://www.gov.uk/transformation".

memyself-eye's picture

The lyric should be

memyself-eye | | Permalink

I predict a riot.....

What's the betting automatic penalties will follow!

How much    2 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

How much is all this going to cost?

I think it will just be another pointless government exercise like MLR they have done nothing about fraud so now we need more systems. I don't get it.

Much of this fraud is committed by real life criminals who don't need to disguise their identity because there's no enforcement anyway.

It's about time companies house checked whether officers were real persons or just made up names though and stopped filing evidence of money laundering offences.

Yes, but it shows...

duncanphilpstate | | Permalink

Yes, but it shows the government is Doing Something (tm).

What about the Agent Strategy scheme?!    1 thanks

Char | | Permalink

The Agent Strategy is supposed to be implemented next year which will ensure all advisors are dealing with HMRC electronically as standard and will also enable HMRC to track agents and give them varying levels of access depending on the level of "trust".  How does the above fit in with this?  I was told at a working together meeting with HMRC that the agent strategy scheme will remove the need of 64-8's so the point of Checkley is pointless.  It again seems one department in HMRC have no idea what the others are up to nor what the rest of government is planning on doing!

fraud is currently too easy    1 thanks

tom2another | | Permalink

Speaking as some one who recently had one of our passwords nicked (I think via a key logger downloaded by a staff member down loading something she shouldn't have) and a couple of fake returns filed by the crook with resultant tax refunds being sent to new nominees bank accounts, it seems that something needs to be done at the Revenue end. Also at the banks end as the bank accounts were patently fraudulent.

However what ever is done should not make our life more difficult as had enough with RTI.

The thought of the post office or the other organisations prooving ID's makes one shudder!!

 

 

jimeth's picture

Money Saving ???????

jimeth | | Permalink

The Black Knight wrote:

How much is all this going to cost?

Apparently, according to HMRC replacing the Government Gateway is going to save a substantial amount of money - because the current contract with their Government Gateway outsourcer is so expensive. 

Old Greying Accountant's picture

It can't be that hard ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... to register a designated bank account with HMRC for an agent, and have all refunds made only to that account, with proper checks done by HMRC if the designated account needs to change, i.e if the practice changes banks.

Ahh, money saving    1 thanks

andrew55 | | Permalink

That'll be money saving like RTI is money saving. Saves the Exchequer and costs businesses a packet!

Have a browse of    1 thanks

emanresu | | Permalink

Identity proofing and verification of an individual - government guide

One's first impression is that this project is just privatising what should already be in place.  Let us hope that it works out.  There is enough history to justify serious concerns that it won't.

simon.freeman's picture

There are clear challenges    1 thanks

simon.freeman | | Permalink

I find this debate interesting.  I can declare some conflict of interest as I designed the original Government Gateway registration and enrolment process and would be happy to defend how we arrived at such a solution.

In ID there are no easy answers.  Trust online is terrifically difficult to deal with and the levels of trust online do not match the levels required by legislation and regulations.  It is a simple balance of compromises.  You can have secure and trusted or you can have easy and simple.  The two do not merge easily.  In the early days Customs as they were then demanded digital certificates which did provide the level of trusted assurance but were a nightmare to issue and use.  Needless to say, when take-up of VAT filing online suffered the rules were relaxed.  The key issue was that to file the end user had to go to one of a number of certified places and prove their identity and were issued with a cert.  It proved too much of a burden.

The new solution is another attempt at a rebalance between trust/assurance and ease of use.  How can the gov achieve the levels of trust but without the burden and complex processes and extra steps.  The idea was always to piggy back off of existing identity relationships such as banking etc.  But as you can see from the list, what we have is a set of ID providers for which most people will not have heard of or will not have an existing relationship with.  Guess what.  Many will have to go through steps to have relationships with these firms and at some point that will drive costs.  Either to the end user or the ID consumer which is gov.

The reason this has been done in my view is to avoid the issues of ID management being government ones.  If the process to get the ID from the Post Office is poor, blame the Post Office.  If fraud is committed then who carries the can?  This is the second major issue.  Liability.  Who pays the bill if fraud occurs off the back of an ID.  What happens if your ID is used or claimed by someone else through one of these providers?

There are no easy answers to online identity management while the consumers expect almost zero overhead to transact online.  Easy is insecure and either we live with fraud or we live with fraud prevention.

 

 

Locutus's picture

Why are Governments obsessed with ID?

Locutus | | Permalink

The theft of the Government Gateway login and the thief filing a bogus tax return has surely never been a big problem.

As for Dodgy & Co - the former qualified accountant who was struck off, but now deals with 500 + large CIS refunds that go straight to his office account. He will keep trading as before using his verified ID. It will still take HMRC 15 years to take him to Court to tax fraud and money laundering.

Unfortunately for everyone else it just means a lot of hassle and cost proving to HMRC that they are who they've always been.

Perhaps there's a case for the benefits system, but I'm not sure what it really achieves for the tax system. It just puts more barriers in the way of honest people who want to file their returns.

blast from the past!!

LH | | Permalink

yes Simon I remember it well!!

All I personally am asking is that GDS come up with some clear information that we can all understand around IDA (ie don't give the techie take) & pretty sharpish so that people have trust from the start

wonder where life has got you now???