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Bureaucracy with a tinge of Madness

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Samsaranda23/06/2021 16:51:17
1307 forum posts
5 photos

Today I received a letter from HMRC, it was informing me that I was entitled to a refund of Income Tax, albeit just over £100, but as a certain grocer says “every little helps”, and yes it was genuine not a scam. The letter informed me that if I set up online access to my Personal Tax Account then it would be paid to me within 5 days, otherwise I would have to wait 6 weeks to receive it. I could certainly do with it now rather than in 6 weeks time so I set about creating the access to my HMRC Personal Tax Account. I followed the instructions to the relevant .gov.UK site where I elected to set up access. One step that I was directed to was to verify my identity, there were choices of items that you could use and you were required to use two out of the three choices given. The verification choices given were

A. Passport.

B. Credit reference.

C. Northern Ireland Driving Licence

As I am in my mid seventies my days of wandering the globe are over so my Passport has expired a couple of years ago, so that was out of contention for verifying my identity.

Item B the credit reference would be no problem, they just wanted your permission to consult a credit reference agency, we are all on credit agencies lists.

Item C they required details of your Northern Ireland Driving Licence. I live in mainland UK, have never been to Northern Ireland much less had a Driving Licence issued there. Why does the HMRC expect residents of mainland UK to have a Northern Ireland Driving Licence, I would expect it to be probably less than 2 % of UK residents who have such.

So out of three means of verifying my identity I could only supply one but two were required, the website said that if I could not verify my identity online then there was a telephone number to ring, this I did and after the obligatory 30 mins hanging on waiting I got to speak with someone. The suggested solution to verify my identity was to go to the Post Office website and set up a Post Office account and I was told this would be the key to unlocking access to my Personal Tax Account. I went on the site and there were numerous questions that I could answer but we came to verification of identity again; it seems the Post Office will accept a UK Driving Licence so I was able to meet that criteria, the only other criteria that I could meet was “do you have a mobile phone agreement” and yes I have only recently taken out another mobile agreement on a new phone as my old phone had expired, a long story. I supplied the necessary information but the website said I didn’t have an agreement so once again my identity could not be verified, so back to square one.
So the Establishment has a Personal Tax account in my name, containing all my tax details but they refuse me access because primarily I am not in possession of a Northern Ireland Driving Licence or a current Passport, what committee of Civil Servants decided on such an obscure criteria of identity qualifications to use for verification. Is the choice of Northern Ireland Driving Licence an aberration on their part, why not choose a UK Driving Licence ? There was the obligatory customer service questionnaire to fill in at the end of the abortive process, I do hope they read the comments that I left, perhaps they will get an idea of how frustrated customers can get when faced with stupidity.
Is it just me that finds government departments are becoming more and more inaccessible despite the World Wide Web, especially when they give impossible hurdles to overcome. Dave W

not done it yet23/06/2021 17:07:39
6520 forum posts
20 photos

Not that it is likely to bother me but is N Ireland not part of the UK?

Do we have Scottish, Welsh and English driving licences, as well? Is this a government scam to keep hold of your money for another month?

Samsaranda23/06/2021 17:18:55
1307 forum posts
5 photos

I believe that Northern Ireland issue their own Driving Licences, why I have no idea because when we belonged to the European Club we were all supposed to have the same format licences issued by our own member state which meant that all the regions of the UK should have had a common licence but obviously not, perhaps NI perceived that they were separate from the rest of UK, they are now, they are not allowed to eat our sausages now. Dave W

Brian Wood23/06/2021 17:30:40
2498 forum posts
39 photos

This has all the hallmarks of a scam, despite your assurances to the contrary. I would watch very carefully for developments as you have got this far into it


ega23/06/2021 17:31:38
2402 forum posts
196 photos

Some months ago I had a virtually identical experience save that I fell at the identity fence; who can readily remember how long ago they last took out a credit card?

More recently, I was able to negotiate the obstacle course and can now access my PTA (for what it is worth). This may have been due to the removal of Experian from the process.

When I eventually got through on the phone I spoke to a pleasant woman who agreed with my entirely incidental comment that the dating of the tax year was an absurd anomaly.

PS I ended up writing to HMRC. You have to ring up to get the address and they warn you that a reply will take at least six weeks.

Edited By ega on 23/06/2021 17:33:52

SillyOldDuffer23/06/2021 17:34:01
7923 forum posts
1725 photos

Are you certain this isn't a scam Dave? Might be a well engineered one, convincing enough to get you going, but imperfectly assembled when the bad boys fake the proof of identity part!

HRMC's website lists what they accept as proof of identity and there's no mention of Northern Ireland, just UK Driving Licences. Also, no mention credit references as an option. Your description doesn't match with setting up a Personal Taxation Account through Government Gateway or Verify either, at least at the first hurdle:


Last time I had a tax refund HRMC didn't send me any money, they just reduced the next collection to compensate. I'm PAYE though.

Has a whiff of fish I fear. If it were me I'd wait for the refund to turn up.


Stuart Smith 523/06/2021 17:35:26
259 forum posts
29 photos


Are you sure this isn’t a scam?

What you describe doesn’t sound like the process I followed.

Hopefully you have gone to the hmrc / website direct rather than through a link supplied when you were told you had a refund.


Samsaranda23/06/2021 18:23:23
1307 forum posts
5 photos

Definitely not a scam because the letter that announced the refund had a full breakdown of my tax and all the pensions that make it up, also I accessed the relevant .gov.UK sites through the correct government portal. I am at a loss as to why others have been asked to use a UK driving licence instead of a NI one that the website asked me for. I will be writing a letter of complaint to the HMRC to explain the bizarre choice of NI driving licence. Dave W

Samsaranda23/06/2021 18:28:07
1307 forum posts
5 photos

I notice that the proof of identity list highlighted above in Dave’s posting is the proofs accepted by the “Bona Vacantia” site which is an entirely separate department dealing with unclaimed legacies so not relevant. Dave W

HOWARDT23/06/2021 18:32:36
837 forum posts
39 photos

I am signed up with the Government Gateway for when I was self employed. The only details I ever gave were my National Insurance number and normal bank account details for repayment of overpayment. I suspect as others a scam in process, trying to get information for some sort of grant payments, my son in law needed to supply passport information for education grant.

martin perman23/06/2021 18:38:00
2029 forum posts
86 photos

I had a similar letter a couple of years ago and I also tried to sign up to the Gateway but gave up as I couldnt give enough security information, my cheque arrived in less than six weeks.

Martin P

Samsaranda23/06/2021 19:09:12
1307 forum posts
5 photos

Just as an exercise I tried using the Government Gateway link in Dave’s posting above and ended up with the same three proof of identity choices I encountered before including NI driving licence. I am most careful in avoiding scams and will always use direct access to gov.UK sites, you can’t mistake when you are using the government portal. I have given up in frustration at trying to deal with the idiot choices available, reluctantly will await the refund in six weeks. Dave W

Ady123/06/2021 19:25:40
4911 forum posts
726 photos

My dad told me to get a passport about 5 years ago because it's the only ID system which really works

The UK passport is a UK national ID system via the back door but once you have one everything is a doddle

They actually yanked me in for an interview, cheeky bu**ers

"Why do you want a passport?"

"I don't want a passport. YOU want a passport. Want a bank account?- Got a passport? Want various licences? -Got a passport? Want to check your National Insurance account?- Got a passport? and I have zero interest in any trips round the world, I've already done that."

So we chatted about various nothings and was away in 10 minutes

So get a passport and you can laff at the poor as they struggle with the bureaucrats

Just got a new photo Driving Licence last week, applied on Sunday and it dropped through the door on Tuesday... because I have a passport

Samsaranda23/06/2021 19:36:14
1307 forum posts
5 photos

Ady 1 Strange that you should mention about Passports, I renew my driving licence every three years, old and decrepit, last time I renewed it my passport had run out but I still quoted my passport and still got my driving licence with my old passport photo on it. In respect of the HMRC website to register for access to my personal tax account, I see that the website is labelled BETA which indicates still under development, there is a questionnaire attached to it which allows you to report problems, which I have now done, wonder if anything will get done. Dave W

An Other23/06/2021 19:38:03
239 forum posts
5 photos

Hope you don't get my experience - I was penalised 100 pounds for allegedly failing to send in a return in time, when in fact I had sent it in some months before. I appealed, and eventually received a letter informing me that HM Robbers and Crooks had cancelled the penalty - no explanation, no apology. More to the point, no money either - I'm still waiting, weeks later - totally unable to get an answer when I call, or use their so-called 'chatline'. The entire "service" is entirely unfit for purpose.

Samsaranda23/06/2021 20:23:44
1307 forum posts
5 photos

An Other, I second that. Dave W

Dave Halford23/06/2021 20:40:05
1891 forum posts
22 photos

I couldn't be bothered to create an account for this 'scam' so they sent me a cheque instead.

All you have to do is wait 6 weeks and cash it.

martin perman23/06/2021 20:53:54
2029 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by Ady1 on 23/06/2021 19:25:40:

So get a passport and you can laff at the poor as they struggle with the bureaucrats

Just got a new photo Driving Licence last week, applied on Sunday and it dropped through the door on Tuesday... because I have a passport

My passport expired in 2018, I have no further need for one, I also have a three year driving licence which expired earlier this year, I filled in the paperwork posted it off and received a new licence within the week, it works both ways.

Martin P

Vic23/06/2021 22:03:16
3017 forum posts
8 photos

I’ve had similar problems. Why are they asking for a NI driving licence and why isn’t a UK one good enough. I thought at the time it was a deliberate scam by HMRC just to be awkward and my view hasn’t changed.

martin haysom24/06/2021 00:18:58
73 forum posts
Posted by Dave Halford on 23/06/2021 20:40:05:

I couldn't be bothered to create an account for this 'scam' so they sent me a cheque instead.

All you have to do is wait 6 weeks and cash it.

yes this worked for me too and very easy to do

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