HMRC details move to cloud IT system

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS has revealed further details of its planned adoption of cloud computing for its tax systems.

Over the past two years, the tax authority has increased its cloud setup to support its internal platform-as-a-service (PaaS) infrastructure, which it is using as a basis for its new tax platform.

In an entry posted on HMRC’s digital blog, infrastructure digital services managers Kalbir Sohi wrote he and his team had been “automating the creation of infrastructure to ensure consistency and quality” over the past two years.

The tax platform – in concert with the increased cloud adoption  – will allow the department to expand on digital services such as the online self-assessment online.

It is expected the platform will also allow the department to easily build and deploy web-based applications, and alter the way in which integral systems – such as the calculation of taxpayers’ liabilities – are managed.

In March’s Budget, the chancellor confirmed the government will introduce online tax accounts for individuals and small businesses, signalling the end of the annual tax form.

The move will make life easier for the 11 million taxpayers and 1.8 million companies who currently fill in an annual tax form, the Treasury believes.

HMRC and IT have been uncomfortable bedfellows in recent times, with the Public Accounts Committee warning in the last parliament that its approach to computing could leave its systems in “havoc” as it seeks to replace its Apsire system by 2017. HMRC rejected that assessment, stating it was “making significant progress in preparing for a smooth and effective transition” from Aspire.

More recently, it emerged an outsourced IT company engaged by HMRC to provide additional capacity to tackle tax credits fraud and error has fell £284.5m short of its savings target due to an IT failure that menat its 600 staff could not work for three months.

Synnex-Concentrix UK was hired on a payments-by-results basis with the aim of increasing the number of compliance interventions. So far, the benefits of the contract have been “lower than anticipated”, according to an assessment by the National Audit Office.

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