Plans for new digital functions include support for authentication channel – along with reconciliation and repayment service and new arrangements for trusted helpers
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is planning to provide fresh support for individual users of the Government Gateway – despite plans for the decommissioning of the authentication channel in 2018.
It is planning to extend its Trusted Helper service, which enables a family member or close friend of an individual to help a vulnerable individual manage their personal tax account.
Currently the service is only available to people who use the Government’s new online verification service, GOV.UK Verify, but HMRC has said it will make it available to people who only have Government Gateway credentials.
It reflects the fact that, following Verify’s go live in May, there are still many more users of the Gateway, which was launched in 2001.
The move is one of a handful of new functions in online tax services outlined in a blogpost from the department’s digital team.
They include the introduction of an end of year reconciliation and repayment service, so that PAYE customers will be able to check if they have paid the right amount of tax and arrange a refund to their bank account in 3-5 working days.
There are also plans for an online payment service operating through the personal tax account, which will save users who have underpaid from calling HMRC or sending a cheque.
The features join a series of online services available for individual users, including informing HMRC about changes that affect tax credits, a similar service relating to benefits, and the ability to print out a letter confirming a national insurance number without calling.
The blog also says that the number of active users of the personal tax account has now passed the 3.5 million mark, and claims satisfaction scores averaging around the mid 70s.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0