Rush for SingPass 2FA to meet tax e-filing deadline

Since last July, the SingPass 2FA - a two-step verification process - has been mandatory for e-government services involving sensitive personal data.
Since last July, the SingPass 2FA - a two-step verification process - has been mandatory for e-government services involving sensitive personal data.PHOTO: ST FILE

As yesterday's midnight deadline for e-filing of income tax returns loomed, those who had put off registering for the required SingPass 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) were forced to join queues over the past week to do it.

Since last July, the SingPass 2FA - a two-step verification process - has been mandatory for e-government services involving sensitive personal data. It is required for users to file tax returns or view tax bills online from this year.

Government technology regulator GovTech said that numerous reminders to register have been made, while a grace period ended on Jan 15.

As of last December, over 2.3 million out of 3.3 million users had set up their SingPass 2FA.

While registration can be done by SMS or on the SingPass website, it can take up to seven working days for local users to receive a PIN mailer.

That would leave last-minute tax filers with no choice but to visit the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore's Revenue House or one of two Assurity Trusted Solutions offices, which issue the PINs on the spot.

Mr John Peh, supervisor at Assurity's International Plaza office, which opened five more counters to meet demand, said queues began forming a week ago, with wait times of around an hour at its peak on Monday, when it extended its opening hours.

Operations manager Yeo Cheowling, 45, left work half an hour early to rush down. "I use SingPass only once a year to file taxes and every year, I forget my password, so I had to reset it also," she said.

An Iras spokesman said that while there is a late filing penalty of up to $1,000, waivers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'Rush for SingPass 2FA to meet tax e-filing deadline'. Print Edition | Subscribe