New CIO Phil Pavitt faces challenges to get IT efficient at the tax collecting body. There have been issues with manual processing and wrong tax codes being sent out this year and efficiencies will be required by whoever wins the election. Already his department has had to place 35 million tax cases into manual processing due to delays in a new IT system and the Chartered Institute of Taxation revealed that wrong tax codes had been sent out to pensioners.
HMRC was hit by the recent strike action at outsourced services supplier Fujitsu in February.
Best known for the collection of direct and indirect taxes, HMRC also is responsible for recovering student loans, collecting environmental taxes and protecting borders but is also responsible for paying out child benefits, child trust funds and tax credits and enforcing the minimum wage laws.
Formed in 2005 through the combination of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise departments, the HMRC says that "work is still continuing on our office restructuring programme".
Criticised in the past for lost data, errors and for having unwieldy, expensive IT and backlogs, HMRC in June 2009 announced the appointment of Phil Pavitt as CIO.
Pavitt previously was CIO of Transport for London where he made customer focus a mantra. At HMRC, Pavitt is called on to deliver an IT transformation programme with reduced operating costs from his team of 1400 and £1bn budget. He will not lack for intense scrutiny into how he deploys those resources.