HMRC has confirmed the appointment of a new chief for its Making Tax Digital reform programme, with its existing Director General for Transformation taking on the role.

Joanna Rowland will now be in charge of the overhaul of the tax system, in addition to her existing responsibilities. Making Tax Digital is intended to transfer almost all of the tax processes for the UK online, and Rowland will devote roughly one quarter of her working hours to overseeing this. The project is expected to be completed four years from now.

Her official roles will be as Senior Business Sponsor and Responsible Owner, and the letter confirming her appointment states that the latter gives her responsibility for ensuring the scheme is delivered on time and meets its objectives. It also says that she is accountable to the government for any actions taken to ensure the project is completed satisfactorily.

Making Tax Digital is a hugely ambitious revamp of the tax processes for the UK and is expected to cost a total of £1 billion. By the time it is complete in 2025, most businesses in the UK will be expected to file their returns digitally. Many will likely turn to an accountant who deals with tax return services in Goole or anywhere else to handle it for them.

While the Responsible Owner role means overall accountability for delivering the scheme, the Senior Business Sponsor job sees Rowland charged with championing the changes the programme will bring for businesses and communicating with them about these.

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