HMRC have confirmed that the optional 2-step verification (2SV) becomes mandatory this month for businesses. This requires users to combine the government gateway login and password with a security code sent to a mobile or landline.

HMRC are rolling out the process from 25 September 2017: businesses will need to ensure they are prepared for this.

Questions you and your client’s need to consider:

  • What tax accounts do you have? RTI, Partnership return, VAT Payroll, etc.?
  • Who needs access to those accounts?
    • Bookkeeper
    • Payroll bureau
    • Accountant
    • Share scheme specialist
    • Director or secretary
  • Do you have a separate number that responsible person can give in order to receive the code?
  • Do you want that number to be on a personal mobile number, or do you need a separate business phone for security?
  • What will you do if that person leaves your employment or is absent?
  • What about those in an area with poor signal?
  • What about those with poor phone signal and poor internet?
  • What happens if your battery is flat?

You can ask for the security code to be sent to a landline instead, but:

  • What if you have a central number via call centre or reception?
  • What if the answer machine answers?
  • Will the automated message wait for the call to be transferred or wait for the beep?

In order to assist business users, HMRC do make it possible to generate a security code using the HMRC app, as long as there is an internet connection available.

  • What happens if your phone is out of charge?
  • Who in your business will be App keeper? 
  • What if the App keeper is away?

The 2SV process is not for agents at present, though it will affect the accountant’s own business tax account access.

It is understood that HMRC will enable multiple members of staff to be given delegate access to log on to the business tax account. This will require each of those staff members to have their own Government Gateway account and their own 2SV setup.

  • What happens when a staff member with access to your business 2SV leaves?
  • How will you block your staff member?

It is clear that this new process will cause additional headaches for some businesses. The process has been in place for personal tax accounts and PAYE for some time. Users are already reporting multiple issues. 



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