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PAYE: Check your Income Tax Estimate - Alpha Assessment

This service will allow users to view their income tax estimate so that they understand how much tax they will pay, how that is calculated and how they will pay it.

Department / Agency:

Date of Assessment:
08 January 2015

Assessment stage:
Alpha Review

Result of Assessment:

Lead Assessor:
J. Thornett

Service Manager:
L. Hawksworth

Digital Leader:
M. Dearnley

Assessment Report

The PAYE (Check your income tax estimate) has been reviewed against the 26 points of the Service Standard at the end of the Alpha development.

Outcome of service assessment

After consideration the assessment panel have concluded the PAYE (Check your income tax estimate) service is on track to meet the Digital by Default Service Standard at this early stage of development.


The service has made good progress through early discovery and alpha stages of development and it was particularly encouraging to see how much user research has been undertaken and the many improvements that have been made to the prototype as a result.

The team is working well alongside other digital service teams in HMRC and following well understood agile processes which will help ensure that the service continues to iterate and improve through the next stage of development.

Considerations around security, data privacy and suitable technology standards are well understood by the team and those that support them in the wider HMRC organisation and the development of this service is already benefiting from wider support across HMRC.

The visual design is a good example of a service built within the GOV.UK style and content design effort is being used to ensure that complex tax language is being made as easy to understand as possible by users of the service.

The team have a good understanding of the large number of potential users for this service and how digital take-up can be increased using the existing telephone channel and paper-based communication.

The assessment panel were extremely pleased to see that the team had avoided building a digital service that simply replicated the messaging that is currently sent in a letter from HMRC to a subset of users. Instead, the team have used research and survey data to help them understand what users actually need. During the next phase it is important to keep improving this initial understanding of user need and strive to simplify the service so that any user, whatever their need, is able


During the next stage of development the team will need to:

  • Continue their frequent user research and collect analytics data from the private beta service in order to more fully understand the primary needs of users affected by PAYE income tax. In particular, the service needs to evolve to a point where the user journeys are fast and straightforward for users to access and complete, whichever need they are looking to fulfil.
  • Understand the trigger points that cause the users to start their journey so that appropriate start and end points can be constructed from GOV.UK and through the service, before it moves into public beta phase.
  • Make their source code open and reusable. Although work is underway to make code from other components of the PAYE service available via a public GitHub it would be good to see code from this service being made available in the same way, as it is being developed.
  • Continue working with the performance platform to publish dashboards of service performance and to establish reasonable performance benchmarks against the four service KPIs based on evidence from the existing telephony service
  • Increase their understanding of the PAYE user base, giving particular consideration for the amount, and type, of assisted digital support that will be required to support this service when it is public.
  • Test and measure the assisted digital support with users of this service who need it, and iterate it in response to findings. Testing must include users at the lowest end of the digital inclusion scale.
  • Consider support for users currently using friends and family.
  • Confirm that the assisted digital support is sustainably funded (including support not delivered by government) and free to the user.

Digital by Default Service Standard criteria

Criteria Passed Criteria Passed
1 Yes 2 Yes
3 Yes 4 Yes
5 Yes 6 Yes
7 Yes 8 Yes
9 Yes 10 Yes
11 Yes 12 Yes
13 Yes 14 Yes
15 Yes 16 Yes
17 Yes 18 Yes
19 Yes 20 Yes
21 Yes 22 Yes
23 Yes 24 Yes
25 Yes 26 Yes