As part of its ongoing push towards digital services, HMRC yesterday announced a new “Digital Centre” in the North East, tasked with building online tax services designed to “make it simpler, clearer and faster for people and businesses to manage their tax affairs.”

HMRC are launching a recruitment drive for 50 digital specialists, encompassing a range of disciplines from product managers and interaction designers to technical architects and developers.

Recruitment will begin on 27th January, and an additional 30 positions will be allocated to existing HMRC personnel.

HMRC has been increasingly pushing businesses and individuals towards their online services, moving VAT entirely online in 2012, encouraging taxpayers to file their Self Assessments online, and mandating all businesses move their PAYE filings to the Real Time Information system by the beginning of the 2014/15 tax year. This new Digital Centre will contribute towards the development of new services and improve those already in operation.

Although these movements have been maligned by various industry bodies, HMRC – and the Coalition Government as a whole – has been enjoying notable success with their online services. Gov.uk, the Government’s new central website, has won various design awards and has been received positively by the general public.

HMRC’s Chief Digital and Information Officer Mark Dearnley commented:

“This is the start of our ambitious programme to transform HMRC’s online and digital services. The Digital Centres will foster a culture of innovation not seen across government before so that we can continually find new ways of supporting customers.

“This recruitment is the first step on our journey to offer a digital service that allows our customers to service their own needs online and reduces the dependence on paper services.”