Tax must be fully electronic

But this isn’t a plea for accountants to desist calling the Revenue in the course of their duty to clients. No, we need the taxman’s chief information officer, Steve Lamey, to get those IT consultants at Capgemini to work overtime and make any dealings with the tax collectors totally, and absolutely, electronic.

Imagine thatð no more round-the-houses conversations recounting a tax reference number without knowing which of your clients it refers to.

But this is a long, long, way off. Bear in mind that the public sector and IT are like oil and water – they don’t mix.

Take the tax credits system for example. It took a right old hammering in the media for falling into the trap of being based around a public sector IT project, and was therefore doomed from the start.

I even took up the electronic baton myself and applied for tax credits online. My application was all fine and dandy, and the website informed me that I would be eligible for a credit of some kind. All excited, I opened the letter from the Revenue a few days later, only to find I’d been awarded £0. Zilch. I still get the odd letter to this day reminding me that I still ‘receive’ this ‘credit’.

So maybe it’s a bit premature to deal with them online all the time. Keep on phoning the Revenue and ranting to us ðfor the time being at least.

Kevin Reed edits Accountancy Age’s technology page

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