Taxpayers who need to complete a form for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be able to do so with online electronic forms by the end of 2014.
Customers will be able to download and send in iForms online, which will reduce paper and save thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money.
Previously, citizens would have to call up and HMRC would then send one of its 1,700 forms to the customer in the post, which equated to almost 20 million sheets of paper a year.
But the new electronic option will save HMRC over 1.2 million envelopes, increasing to 3 million by March 2015; and 1.6 million pieces of paper (15.5 tonnes), increasing to nearly 4 million (36 tonnes) by March 2015.
HMRC's chief digital and information officer (CDIO) Mark Dearnley said that, by the end of 2014, all HMRC’s forms will be iForms that can be completed online. By March 2015, the department will have digitised many of them so people will not need to print them out at home.
The department has seen savings of almost £354,000 so far, with plans to save the taxpayer almost £800,000 by March 2015.
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"We’re making massive changes to realise our digital vision, which will help us to give our customers a much better service,” said Dearnley. “Our aim is to provide digital services which are so straightforward and convenient that everyone who has a choice will want to use them.
"We’re making good progress and have already launched more than 300 iForms which have been used by 1.6 million customers. We’ve set ourselves tough timelines for achieving this and, by December, the remaining 200 forms will become iForms available through Gov.uk."
The iForm project is part of HMRC’s wider technology strategy to digitise public service transactions. Digitising is happening across government, with the Government Digital Service (GDS) leading the way with its exemplar project which intends to move 25 of the most used government public services online in 400 days.
This summer, HMRC opened the doors to its new digital headquarters in Newcastle. The Digital Delivery Centre is experimenting with new digital technologies to create new ways of working and thinking.
HMRC digital staff and suppliers are working together to identify the needs of taxpayers, test new services with real users, and improve them once they are released to the public.
The centre is a major shift in how government employees work and how the HMRC creates and delivers its digital services.
In January 2014, HMRC launched a recruitment drive to seek out more than 50 digital specialists to work at the centre.