HMRC to drop organisational IDA
HMRC has dropped the need for organisational identity assurance (IDA), it announced at a recent agent strategy meeting.
The ICPA's Tony Margaritelli, who attended the meeting, said the Revenue revealed that the requirement to maintain a separate ID for practices within the emerging agent online self service (AOSS) environment was now off the agenda.
A Government Digital Service (GDS) spokesperson for the Cabinet Office confirmed that the GovUk Verify service, going live in October, will be "aimed at citizens, not the organisational identity", a spokesman confirmed.
"The government gateway will remain open for businesses and agents. HMRC services won't have organisational IDA. In terms of what they plan for the future of their services, they would be the best ones to comment on that," the GDS spokesperson added.
"However GovUk Verify will be focusing on citizens."
IDA is a new method of verifying the identity of agents, taxpayers and businesses wishing to file returns and make other online submissions using government systems. IDA would verify the identity of the user through verification processes operated by third parties to reduce online fraud.
The government was previously considering both IDA for individuals and for organisations. But it decided after testing that organisational IDA was too complicated to implement. The individual IDA initiative, however, remains a key part of HMRC's digital strategy for agents.
This means that practices and firms can carry on using their existing government gateway credentials. Before, it was thought they would need to have an IDA identity that would link to the individual records of their clients.
"It makes gross good sense, as organisational IDA was always going to be a nightmare to get sorted. The bigger the practice, the more issues it could have involved," said Margaritelli, speaking to AccountingWEB's John Stokdyk at the ICPA annual conference last week (see video below).
He added that there was one potential downside because firms would not be able to rely on IDA for client due diligence and money laundering checks. Without the organisational tie-up with individual IDAs, firms would have to go elsewhere for their AML checks, for example to the online ID services that have sprung up in recent years.
TaxCalc's Steve Checkley, who provided an update on IDA at Accountex in May this year, had previously said that organisational IDA would mean anti-money laundering checks would be automatically carried out.
"It would mean HMRC effectively performed the anti money laundering check for users, as a third party will have to vet a client before allowing them to confirm the relationship within the Revenue’s system," he said.
But Margaritelli said the government's decison was nevertheless a "sensible" step forward.
"It is to date the first step coming from this agile testing, which shows they've looked, tested, it didn't function and they took it out," he added.
For a recent IDA update, take a look at this downloadable guide from TaxCalc.