HMRC has today announced the next step in its ten-year modernisation programme to create a tax authority fit for the future, committing to high-quality jobs and the creation of 13 new regional centres over the next five years, serving every nation and region in the UK.
The modernisation programme, now at the halfway point, includes investment in new online services, data analytics, new compliance techniques, new skills and new ways of working, to make it easier for the honest majority of customers to pay their tax, including by improving customer service, and harder for the dishonest minority to cheat the system. The changes have already resulted in over 80% of people filing their Self Assessment returns online and given customers new, simple ways to check their payments, make changes or find answers to questions.
The tax authority, which raised a record £517 billion for public services last year, will open its first new regional centre in 2016-17, with others following between 2017 and 2021.
HMRC’s 58,000 full-time equivalent employees are currently spread across 170 offices around the country, many of which are a legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which range in size from around 6,000 people to fewer than ten. HMRC will bring its employees together in 13 large, modern regional centres, equipped with the digital infrastructure and training facilities needed to build a more highly-skilled workforce to meet the challenges of bringing in more revenue from those evading tax and improving its customer service to the honest majority.
The transformation supports the Government’s commitment to locate jobs throughout the country. Bringing staff together in large centres will enable people to develop careers up to senior levels, with less need to move around the country, and will support the growth of specialist teams and links with universities and other sources of skilled recruits.
Lin Homer, HMRC’s Chief Executive, said:
HMRC is committed to modern, regional centres serving every region and nation in the UK, with skilled and varied jobs and development opportunities, while also ensuring jobs are spread throughout the UK and not concentrated in the capital.
HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.
The new regional centres will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents. They will also make a big contribution to the cities where they are based, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment for a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.
The changes will enable HMRC to give customers the modern services they now expect at a lower cost to the taxpayer, meeting the Government’s challenge for all departments to do more with less.
HMRC expects the majority of staff to be able to move from their current offices to a regional centre, and is phasing the moves over ten years in order to minimise redundancies. But HMRC will aim to have fewer staff in the future as it streamlines how it works and uses the best of modern technology to reduce costs.
This is a press release issued by HMRC, first published on their website.