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HMRC set for technological step-change, claims non-exec

A “REVOLUTION” in the use of technology is underway at HM Revenue & Customs, according to the body’s lead non-executive director.

Writing in a guest column for City AM, Ian Barlow said enhancing digital services and making digital the channel of choice for taxpayers; harnessing the potential of data; and developing HMRC’s workforce with the new skills it needs to effectively meet its objectives would drive its change.

Keen to point out there will “still be a multi-channel approach” with the option to use telephone or in-person contact for those who cannot interact online, Barlow noted every taxpayer will have personal accounts for secure transactions with HMRC.

“Effective use of data will not only ensure easier transactions by compliant taxpayers,” wrote Barlow. “It will also improve voluntary compliance, such as automating and checking calculations to prevent inadvertent error. This will free up HMRC’s tax compliance professionals to focus their energies on the small minority who are really trying to cheat the system.”

He added HMRC will require investment in its staff in order to keep abreast of the change.

“This will be a smaller, but more nimble and professionalised organisation, with far fewer manual, paper-based processes, and a need for more judgement in dealing with customers’ needs,” he said.

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