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Accenture to move HMRC tax system to private cloud

HMRC has awarded Accenture a contract that will run until 2020 to digitise the UK tax system

HMRC’s online tax system will be migrated to a private cloud service through a new application development contract with Accenture.

Under the terms of the agreement, which runs to June 2020, Accenture will support HMRC’s expansion of the use of digital technologies across its primary personal tax platform, the national insurance and PAYE service.

“In support of HMRC’s innovative and customer-focused programme, we will deploy leading digital technologies to radically transform and re-engineer the national insurance and PAYE service applications and architecture, placing them at the heart of taxation for individuals,” said Mark Larsen, managing director of Accenture’s Newcastle delivery centre, who is leading Accenture’s work with HMRC.

Accenture will develop, implement and maintain a secure cloud-hosted tax management platform for individual taxpayers via its delivery centre in Newcastle.

Through the contract Accenture said it would migrate the national insurance and PAYE service application onto a private cloud infrastructure and consolidate multiple HMRC systems onto a single indivduals' tax management platform, providing a single view of each individual taxpayer.

The contract will include the transition from a batch-oriented architecture to real-time processing. That will involve modernising the tax system’s legacy user interface with web technologies, to provide what Accenture describes as “a transformed HMRC user experience”.

Read more about HMRC IT

  • National Audit Office calls on HMRC to increase transparency and assess how moving to a digital tax system will impact businesses and individuals.
  • A test version of HMRC’s long awaited personal tax accounts has been launched to assess user need.

Accenture said the applications will be delivered in an agile manner, powered by continuous integration and DevOps tools and processes.

Accenture already manages and maintains the national insurance and PAYE service for HMRC, which will support HMRC’s plans to give UK taxpayers faster and increasingly personalised services.

HMRC’s online tax system is huge, supporting millions of taxpayers. Each year the system comes under increasing strain as people rush to fill in their online tax returns just before the submission deadline. Such peaks in demand are often better handled using the public cloud.

A private cloud

The decision to get Accenture to build a private cloud rather than to use a public cloud suggests that HMRC is developing its IT to become more digital rather than rethinking how the public cloud could be exploited.

As Computer Weekly has previously reported, earlier this July the UK government’s national technology adviser, Liam Maxwell, said having an AWS UK region would be significant for government.

“The Amazon region in the UK at the end of this year is going to bring a massive change to government technology,” Maxwell said. “For so long, people haven’t been using on-demand public cloud services because they feel they want to have data resident in the UK.”

Maxwell put the savings to government of using a UK public cloud as in the order of £100m.

In July the National Audit Office recommended HMRC become more transparent with the public as it moves to become more digitised.

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