UK Government IT head outlines Making Tax Digital rollout

The head of software development collaboration at HM Revenue and Customs has spoken of the tax authority’s number-one priorities, including Making Tax Digital. Lee Hawksworth, HMRC’s IT head, discussed the new API development programme that will underpin the new MTD software interface and allow software developers to embed MTD information into accounting software. “HMRC now has the biggest digital operation in government and we are looking to share our API strategy across government,” said Hawksworth at the recent Iris World annual conference. “This represents a significant change in IT approach which before was managed through the Aspire outsourced contract, which has been disbanded. “Under the current technology stack, there is a progressive movement to the cloud, so the systems are not held on premise. “The current API programme [for MTD] is almost at completion, offering third party integration.” Hawksworth confirmed that another key priority for HMRC is to overhaul the Government Gateway as it is “not fit for the modern world”. “It uses a static ID and user password, which is not a good idea now,” added Hawksworth. “Going forward, people using the Personal Tax Account will have to go through ID verification with two-factor authentication.” HMRC’s IT department now boasts 1,000-plus specialists, processing two billion transactions annually via 13 digital tax services.

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