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
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...