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HMRC has announced plans to recruit 50 digital specialists in the North East to staff a new digital centre, which will replace existing HMRC local tax offices say Harris & Co accountants Northampton

The move is part of the government’s plan to force taxpayers to use online services by default and eliminate paperwork.

HMRC is looking to recruit people with digital experience who can demonstrate that they understand the potential of digital services to transform customers’ experiences of managing their tax affairs.

The digital tax office will be based in Longbenton, Newcastle, and will be the first of several centres set to open.

Staff at the Newcastle facility will be responsible for identifying the needs of taxpayers, testing new services with real users, and improving them once they are released to the public.

HMRC will initially recruit more than 50 digital specialists. The jobs range from product managers, interaction designers and user researchers to technical architects and software developers.

The first tranche of vacancies, which will be open to both existing HMRC staff and external candidates, will be advertised from 27 January. A further 30 existing HMRC staff will we be relocated to this centre.

A second centre, focusing on digital analytics, will be opened later in the year although it has not yet announced where this will be located.

Mark Dearnley, HMRC’s chief digital and information officer, said: ‘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.’

Mike Bracken, executive director of digital for the UK government, said: ‘Digital by default will make tax simpler, clearer and faster for users, and bring new skills and ways of working into HMRC.

‘The department’s exemplar digital services will go live by 2014, and government digital service will be working closely with HMRC to develop its digital talent in the North East and throughout the UK.’

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