Steve Checkley of TaxCalc and BASDA offers an insider’s view of HMRC’s API strategy.
As a director at TaxCalc and chair of the software trade body’s accountants in practice group, Checkley has been heavily involved in developments around the way HMRC systems interact with third party software.
As presented by HMRC, the API strategy will open up the data within the department to a new generation of third party software suppliers. Rather than continuing to handle significant chunks of tax software development in-house, HMRC is hoping to improve the “customer” experience by harnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of app developers.
When Checkley visited AccountingWEB’s office last week, we sat down to ask him just what the department’s API strategy is all about.
The fate of HMRC’s software strategy is currently in the hands of ministers undertaking Whitehall’s post-Budget spending review. But Checkley is hopeful that it will survive intact: “I think this has a lot of support among MPs.”
Treasury minister David Gauke is certainly a fan. He hosted a meeting with software developers last week, and told AccountingWEB afterwards, ““If people have the ability to do [their taxes] on their laptop or smartphone, then we can make the whole interaction with the tax system much easier. “
The other lingering question is in what order the APIs will be rolled out. “At the moment you have what is termed ‘old world’ - self assessment, corporation tax, VAT. They want these moved into a new world environment,” said Checkley. “But after that, it’s very much up to developers.”
Checkley encouraged practitioners to get in touch with their software providers. “How are software developers going to know their priorities? They want their customers to be telling them,” said Checkley.
“We’re looking for advice from our clients, we have HMRC’s ear. There are some great opportunities. It’s not a given that if we ask for something HMRC would build it. It needs to benefit a lot of people - but if it does, then there’s absolutely every reason why HMRC would implement it.”
Steve Checkley will offer further insights on HMRC's agent online self-serve initiative, the end of tax returns and its API strategy at the Practice Excellence Conference in London next week - click below for details: