One part of HMRC’s settlement in the recent Spending Review involves the following rather grand sounding target (taken from the department’s press release):

HMRC DigitalThat sounds very impressive – HMRC is to become “one of the most digitally advanced” tax administrations in the world – almost sends a chill up my spine! And all of this with an investment of a mere £1.3 billion.

Hang on a minute, though, this is 2015, surely HMRC is already pretty tech savvy, isn’t it? Oh, if only.

Look at the FAQs for the soon to launched R&D Advance Assurance scheme for small companies (I wrote about it here). Questions 16 and 17 are interesting:

FAQ 16 17So you complete the form online – good so far, very digital – but then you have to print it and post it? So last year! This isn’t the only example of “print and post” within HMRC either.

They still use fax, for goodness sake.

Maybe I’m just an old cynic but I can only see this ending badly. Oh, and quite probably costing a bit more than £1.3bn.