By March 2016, GOV.UK Verify will be the default way for people to prove their identity when using digital services that need to know who the user is. In HMRC’s case, this will include a range of personal tax services - not just self-assessment but also services like transferable marriage tax allowance, tax credit renewals, accessing your PAYE records and tax-free childcare.
To help HMRC get ready to adopt GOV.UK Verify across its digital services, and to help inform how we continue to develop and improve GOV.UK Verify, last month we ran a trial to allow people to choose to use GOV.UK Verify to access the self-assessment service. We wanted to use the trial to learn about what it’s like for users accessing self-assessment through GOV.UK Verify, rather than Government Gateway.
We had originally planned to end the trial before the final few days in the lead-up to the 31 January, but by mid-January we could see the trial was going well - hundreds of people were successfully using GOV.UK Verify rather than having to wait for Government Gateway credentials to be sent through the post - so we decided, with our HMRC colleagues, to extend the trial to include the 31 January peak.
Through the trial, 11,000 people filed their self-assessment returns using GOV.UK Verify, including about 3,300 people who had not used the self-assessment service before. This saved them having to call the HMRC call centre or wait for new Government Gateway credentials to arrive in the post.
We’ve agreed with HMRC to keep GOV.UK Verify in place as an option for people using the self-assessment service. We’re working together to review the stats and feedback in detail, and we’ve already started talking about how we’ll carry on developing the user journey based on what we’ve learned.
Meanwhile, we’re working in earnest with our colleagues to ensure that GOV.UK Verify is ready for more services to adopt it over the coming months. Mark Dearnley, HMRC's Chief Digital Officer, has blogged about HMRC's plans over on the HMRC digital blog.