I received a payment on which I paid an emergency tax rate, so I need to claim back some tax. I have used my Government ID account a few times previously to update my passport and driving licence, but this time after logging in, it just says “Unable to verify your identity”. No clues, just a link which refreshed the page and showed the same error. After pressing a few options on the telephone helpline, the message said “If you are seeing an unable to verify message, the support staff will be unable to assist”. I eventually found their online wizard for that particular form which filled in the details for me to print off and send in the post.
A month later, I received a letter. “You passed a threshold and are unable to use this form, you need to file a self assessment instead”. Why didn’t the wizard check the threshold when I filled in the form?
So today, I had to retry getting my online account back. I tried using the alternative Gov.uk verify, and opted for my own bank as the identity provider. That took nearly an hour, waiting for the various verification Emails and text messages to come through. the process involved logging into my bank account, giving details of my passport, driving licence, etc. only to be told “We are unable to verify your identity”.
I tried ringing the helpline, this time I got a voice activated auto-responder and you have to say what you want so I said “I want to reclaim tax” to which it replied “You are claiming child benefit”. After a few more attempts and getting “sorry we did not understand that, just tell us why you are calling us today”, I eventually told it where to insert the phone.
So back to the website, I resigned myself to creating a new account. A few minutes later, and scarily easy, I was able to see all my NI contributions since my 18th birthday, the date I can retire and the pension I will be getting. However I still needed to file my self assessment.
For the next three hours, I clicked and clicked. It told me my personal tax reference, I followed the link for self assessment – I ended up creating another online account and back to where I started. By the time I had four online accounts, I realised that you had to give the exact right answers to their wizard questions, or it just loops around. I do not remember what I chose, but it was something about whether I had filed online or on paper before. A few years ago I had, but since then HRMC had reverted me to a standard PAYE case. So basically, I had to lie in order to get to the next stage.
The next stage is now waiting 10 days to receive a password in the post!!!!