Roses are red, violets are blue, HMRC confirms Verify can STFU

Taxmen to press on with own ID authenticating service... as we reported


Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that it's ditching the Cabinet Office's new online ID system, and will be pushing forwards with its own replacement for Government Gateway.

Sources previously informed The Register that HMRC was been building its own online authentication portal following the planned decommissioning of the current Gateway portal in 2018.

HMRC's as-yet-untitled replacement will include an authentication capability for businesses which the Government Digital Service's online authentication system Verify cannot do.

"HMRC's view on Verify is that it's too slow and won't ever handle businesses," an inside source told The Register, explaining that unlike Verify, HMRC's new system will include the ability for individuals to authenticate themselves and nominate an accountant to do their tax returns.

In a blog post today, HMRC's programme director responsible for getting the department off Government Gateway, Mike Howes-Roberts, stated his department's work had been given the green light, and that his team would be developing a replacement service which would also be offered to other government departments.

He added: "This would be restricted to business and agent-facing services only as Cabinet Office requires all other departments to use GOV.UK Verify: the cross-government service for any citizen-facing services where customers need to prove their identity."

The announcement follows on the heels of the government's delayed digital strategy, in which GDS stated it wanted to see 25 million people enrolled with Verify by 2020.

Another source shared HMRC's scepticism that Verify would be ready by the scheduled shuttering of Government Gateway in March 2018. At the time we were told that HMRC "doesn't want to publicly admit it is building its own system, as it's a sensitive issue with the Cabinet Office. What we'll probably have is two online authentication systems for departments to use: the one designed by HMRC and Verify."

In 2015, HMRC was awarded £1.3bn to "build one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world", which the department reckons will yield £1bn in extra tax revenue after 2020. ®

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