Engaged to be worried – Verify borks married tax allowance applications
HMRC sighs, installs ways for taxpayers to route around errant ID gateway
Recipients of UK.gov's flagship marriage tax allowances have been left unable to identify themselves online, the latest stumbling block in the government's new gaffe-prone identity assurance system Verify.
According to the Daily Mail, many applicants were left confused and unable to identify themselves.
Labour MP Margaret Hodge told the newspaper: "HMRC is cutting corners without putting in place the right infrastructure – and it means families can't claim what they should be entitled to."
In response to the issues, HMRC said it will put in place an alternative system to help users identify themselves online, as well as a telephone service.
The problem centres on the fact that Verify requires users to have an online footprint in order for the identity provider to find their record – something many demographics lack.
So far, the system has only a 55 per cent success rate for the overall number of users able to identify themselves.
The intention is to move all government departments over to Verify by next year.
The latest issues echo those experienced by farmers, who also encountered major problems with the new system.
In February, most abandoned the process of identifying themselves online for Common Agricultural Policy payments and opted for the hastily-introduced telephone system.
In contrast, 70,000 had successful used the Gateway system to register online the year before.
HMRC has already encountered some problems with the trial of the system. In January, 40 per cent of online self assessment tax users were unable to identify themselves in a trial of Verify.
The high failure rate may have been due to a mismatch in information arising from a change of address and name, or users not having the correct paperwork in front of them during the process.
An HMRC spokesperson said:
No-one will miss out on the Marriage Allowance because of difficulties with online verification. People can apply at any stage in the tax year and get the full entitlement regardless of when they claim.
For anyone who has trouble using Gov.UK Verify, alternative options are available, such as HMRC security checks. In the unlikely event they are still unable to confirm their identity online, they will be given a phone number to call to complete the application.