HMRC faces probe for IT consultancy spending spree

He may have made life a lot more taxing for their one-man band counterparts, but the taxman can’t seem to get enough of big-name external consultancies for use at his own department.

In fact, HM Revenue & Customs has increased its spending on third-party consultants from the likes of Accenture and IBM by a reported 9,000%, a national paper’s investigation shows.

Outlining what one MP described to be a “staggering” rise in expenditure, the Daily Telegraph said HMRC splurged £844,188 on such consultancies in one month; April 2018.

That represents the Revenue’s highest monthly spend on outside consultancies since 2011, and is more than it spent on them for the entire year of 2015. That April, it spent just £9,618   

The full figures, including £2.1m on consultants in 2018’s first four months (equating to 10 times what HMRC spent in 2015, or almost 2017’s yearly total), will be subjected to a probe.   

But already Labour’s Frank Field has branded the spending by the tax authority – under fire last week for ignoring four million phone calls – “staggering.” He also told the investigation:

“It shows there is something much more basically wrong here. I will be asking the National Audit Office to look at each of these contracts”.

A hefty chunk of the contracts in place between the Revenue and the big-name consultancies is likely to relate to IT and Technology, some of which will relate to Making Tax Digital.

The taxman has also spoken up about his need to prioritise “EU Exit work,” which has resulted in the suspension of Simple Assessments and the shelving of MTD for individuals.

All public sector outfits were warned in January that importing technology talent from outside “their four walls” was vital, if they were to cope with GDPR and IT skills shortages

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