HMRC sets up innovation team to drive IT collaboration

HMRC is investing more resources in technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and ground-breaking technology with the creation of the first innovation team at the tax authority briefed to collaborate with external IT specialists to develop innovative software to improve tax collection and close the tax gap

The new team is headed up by Antony Collard, HMRC’s director of architecture & innovation, who has been part of part of HMRC’s digital leadership team for some time in his role as deputy director of HMRC digital delivery centres, leads a network of seven state-of-the-art facilities around the UK.

Collard has already been involved in some significant transformational initiatives, including the multi-channel digital tax platform and RadLab that works with HMRC risking teams.

The plan now is to drive through further digital projects to improve the current systems and the innovation hub is now looking to collaborate with external software developers to drive faster improvements.

Writing on HMRC’s Digital blog, Collard said: ‘Our new innovation team will improve HMRC’s digital capabilities even further. We are building our in-house capacity to drive and support innovation across all our activity.

‘HMRC is a large organisation, carrying out myriad activities vital to the UK economy and society. So we’re really keen to harness the latest innovative thinking across all digital sectors.

‘We also want to engage with, and ultimately test, technology at all levels of maturity. That could be putting existing technology to new use or assessing the potential of emerging technology for our future work.

‘HMRC already has an exciting collaboration programme with a number of supplier partners working with us to share our thinking on innovation. Now we’re keen to hear from more organisations and companies who have new ideas that resonate with our work.

‘We know it can sometimes be tricky getting a foot in the door with an organisation as large as HMRC, but that door is opening wide and we’re inviting companies to come on in!,’ he added.

HMRC is planning to organise a number of events in the next few months to kick off digital innovation discussions. This includes setting up innovation showcases for smaller organisations and other activities, such as HMRC’s hackathons.

The success of recent anti-avoidance measures, the effectiveness of the HMRC Connect system and the use of artificial intelligence to leverage the terabytes of data on taxpayers held on HMRC servers, has illustrated the effectiveness of using technology to crack down on abuse of the tax system through aggressive avoidance and tax evasion.

To get involved, email the innovation team or comment on the HMRC Digital Blog

Report by Sara White

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