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Taxman misses deadline to create cyber crime teams

HM Revenue and Customs has missed a key deadline to create teams of cyber crime investigators and launch initiatives to counter the increased threat of web attacks on the authority’s systems and customers.

In its structural reform plan progress report for December, HMRC says work on the project should have been completed by November 2011, but recruitment activity is still ongoing and the scheme will now not be completed until February, Guardian Government Computing (GGC) reported.

However, some key posts have been filled and the supporting infrastructure is in place, according to the report, GGC also said.

The government has repeatedly said that it plans to address the lack of IT security experts in Whitehall and late last year published its cyber security strategy outlining how it plans to tackle the issue. It was revealed earlier this month that the government’s intelligence service GCHQ was offering retention payments to prevent technology experts leaving for big private firms, GCC said.

Outlining HMRC’s progress on other IT projects, the report discloses that “work is ongoing” on the creation of a data link between the registrars and HMRC to facilitate customer claims and counter fraud. The work is due to be completed in June 2012.

HMRC is also working on the roll out of an online registration wizard and tax dashboard for businesses by the end of April 2012, as well as launching the IT infrastructure for Real Time Information (RTI) during the same period. A campaign to align employer and HMRC data in order to support a smooth pilot and implement RTI data will happen by the end of April 2013, according to the document.

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