Hello everyone, I’m Richard James - Programme Director for HMRC’s Personal Tax Account (PTA). Back in August, I blogged about testing the new account. The last few months have just flown by but it’s good to be able to blog again with quite a significant update.
The big news is that we’ve launched PTA. We announced this formally on Monday (14 December) at the Department’s Making Tax Digital stakeholder conference. So now for the first time anyone can log into their own PTA and check their tax information online and all in one place.
It was great to have the opportunity to attend the conference with some of my team to demonstrate the service. The response was positive, which was encouraging. It also mirrors the responses we’ve had during the testing where we were seeing an 80% satisfaction rate from the 3,000 people who used PTA.
I encouraged everyone I spoke with to try PTA for themselves. Quite understandably, a very common question was, “But what am I able to do through my account once I’m in?” Well, you can now:
- view and update your personal details
- see how your PAYE income tax is calculated and an estimate of how much tax you’ll owe this year
- see the tax effect of changes in estimated pay
- tell HMRC about changes such as to a company car or to medical insurance benefits, and make sure you’re paying the right amount of tax on those benefits
- access a wide range of forms covering taxes, National Insurance, pensions, and some aspects of benefits – and submit and track those forms online
- find out about Marriage Allowance entitlement, and make a claim online
As with anything new, some of those I spoke with also had reservations. A couple of particular concerns were around how secure the account is and also how easy will it be for people to prove who they are in order to access their own account (often referred to as a user authenticating themselves).
In terms of security I was able to reassure them that, as always, security of their data is our top priority. We have strong defences in place to stop criminals attacking our systems and we also monitor transactions constantly to look for anything unusual, a bit like the way your bank will look for unusual activities on a credit card.
In terms of authentication, I was very pleased to be able to advise that there’s now more than one secure way to access PTA:
- Gov.UK Verify is one way but, currently, you’ll need either a UK Photo Driving Licence or a UK Passport to do so
- If you have a Governmment gateway account then you can use this to prove your identity, and we’ve enhanced it to make it even more secure
- We’ve also introduced something called Identity Verification and using this method you’ll be asked some questions about your previous interactions with government - things that only you would know - to prove identity
I really hope you try out your own PTA for the first time soon. We’re continuing to develop and improve the service and your feedback will really help us – so please take the time to complete the customer satisfaction survey too.
Of course, this is just the start for PTA. We’ll be adding more services to the account over the coming months. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I’ll be posting again soon with another update so, as they say, watch this space!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!