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Last-Minute Rush For 2FA PIN To E-File Tax Returns
A snaking queue outside the office of Assurity Trusted Solutions at International Plaza yesterday, as hundreds of people showed up to obtain their 2FA PIN. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
April 18th, 2017 | 10:10 AM | 234 views
Ahead of the deadline for e-filing income tax returns today, hundreds of people who had put off registering the second factor authentication (2FA) for SingPass rushed to get it done yesterday, with a queue forming before 8.30am outside the office of Assurity Trusted Solutions at International Plaza.
The SingPass system grants online users access to more than 100 government e-services involving sensitive data, including the filing of taxes. The strengthened security through the 2FA was made mandatory last July, and SingPass users were given time to register for it, along with reminders through the media when the deadline ended.
The Assurity Trusted Solutions office provides the 2FA. Those in the queue yesterday told TODAY that they had put off doing it, or were delayed, for a variety of reasons.
They missed the deadline to apply for the 2FA, which generates a one-time pass code via SMS or token for an added layer of security. For SMS, it requires a Singapore-registered mobile phone number.
SingPass users who logged into their accounts after July last year were given a grace period of 30 days to set it up.
This extended grace period ended on Jan 15 this year. Since then, users logging in can no longer do online transactions, and have to wait between seven and 10 days for a PIN to be sent to them by post, along with details on activating the 2FA feature, or a token.
Going to the Assurity office means that they can get it done immediately, and make it on time to file their taxes by today.
Hawker Lim Gek Hee, 53, was one of many in the queue. With the 2G mobile network shutting down in Singapore today, he had to change his mobile phone number and move to the 3G network.
This meant that he had to re-register for the 2FA using his new mobile number. “I discovered this only last Friday, which is why I’m rushing to get this done today. It is so troublesome, I had to shut my stall just to come down here,” Mr Lim lamented.
A 35-year-old software engineer, who identified himself only as Gleb, said that he was delayed because of the elaborate process. The Russian had moved to Singapore to work last December, and after settling in, realised that he had to undergo two applications: One to apply for SingPass, and another for the 2FA activation.
It was only last week that he was told that he would be receiving the 2FA later this week — too late for the tax-filing deadline today.
“The Government should be making it simpler, make it one combined step instead of two applications,” he said.
Financial adviser John Lim gave up waiting. He wanted to re-register his new mobile number, saying that he could not do it online. “This is not how a ‘smart nation’ is. There must be a smarter way to ensure one’s mobile number is linked to the SingPass account. Instead, one must go to Assurity to obtain a 2FA PIN mailer,” he complained.
In response to queries, the Government Technology Agency of Singapore, which administers SingPass, said that it and the relevant government agencies had been “constantly encouraging users to set up their 2FA in advance to avoid possible delays in transactions”.
“Besides the 30-day grace period that was given to users upon their first log-in from July 5, 2016, which (later) ended on Jan 15, 2017, there had also been extensive SMS reminders, print, radio, social media advertisements, as well as outreach via public roadshows.”
As of 5pm yesterday, the queues had not let up.
An Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore spokesperson said that the deadline for individual income tax e-filing is midnight today. If anyone is not able to receive their 2FA by the deadline, they may call Iras at 1800 356 8300 for help.
Assurity Trusted Solutions has a second office at PSA Building on Alexandra Road, unit 28-04. Those registering for 2FA may also head there to get it done.
courtesy of TODAY
by TAN WEIZHEN
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