While every attempt will be made to ensure that information provided is accurate at the time of publication, it should be treated as guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Tax law and guidance changes frequently and readers are advised to consult the current relevant publication for the most up-to-date information on this topic.

What is their aim?

To do their job, HMRC need to interact with taxpayers. Historically this was achieved by face-to-face meetings and communicating by post and by phone. These methods require a lot of human interaction and are slow, which was frustrating for both taxpayer and HMRC staff alike.

Interacting online has become part of everyday life. Increasingly, HMRC have made use of emails and the Internet to supply and process information. Online tax returns and PAYE moving to a real time basis are both examples of HMRC making use of digital options. Their ultimate aim is for us to have just one efficient digital experience that frees up time to support those who need help more effectively. This will not be delivered as one big bang experience but rather piecemeal over time, being optimized by 2020.

If they get it right, everything will be held in one place, human interaction will be minimal and as much as possible will move to real time. We will have a fully automated tax system. In developing this system, there are certain things that HMRC must not overlook. The system must be 100% secure, taxpayers and their agents will need to be educated and HMRC will have an increased amount of compliance checking to ensure that people are providing accurate and timely information.