The tax office has handed Accenture a $31.5 million contract extension for just three extra months work on consolidating business registers, the federal government’s flagship digital initiative from last year’s budget.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) now expects to pay the Irish-domiciled technology firm nearly $110 million for work on the project under a contract that started in 2019 at $3 million to help design the system.
The latest extension is for only three months and takes Accenture’s contract to March 2022, meaning the company will be paid more than $10 million a month early next year.
The multinational technology company and New Zealand registry software firm Foster Moore will together be paid more than $135 million under the two major contracts awarded by the ATO to consolidate Australian business registries.
The New Zealand firm received a $2.9 million extension two months ago, taking its four-year contract to $26 million.
The project began in 2017 and became a 2018 budget promise to consolidate business registers. It has now received more $480 million in funding, including most of the government’s 2020 digital business package, which allocated $420 million to deliver the program over four years.
The program consolidates 32 business registers from the ATO and ASIC, some of which date back to the 1990s, into a single register to improve business’s access.
A new Director ID has also been created as part of the modernising business registers project, making Australia one of a handful of jurisdictions to introduce a director identification number.
The program is part of a whole-of-government initiative to simplify business registration and access and consolidate data, known as the Australian Business Registry Services.
Several ASIC staff moved to the ATO earlier this year when the tax office was handed control of the project and given an additional $108 million for it. But it is relying heavily on outside help for the project.
A spokesperson for the tax office told InnovationAus the deliverable of the $109.7 million Accenture contract are “for the provision of services that support the ATO in the areas of technology, business process and organisational change elements of the Business Registries Improvement Program”.
The spokesperson confirmed the $31.5 million extension was for the “same services” for another three months’ work.
Accenture has become the ATO’s contractor of choice, taking $221 million last financial year alone — more than 11 per cent of the tax office’s outsourcing.
The company has signed several more lucrative contracts with the ATO this year, including a a near-$17 million one year contract relating to an income tax program.
In August, the ATO awarded Accenture two contracts in the space of three days worth more than $70 million in total. These included one worth $35 million over 12 months for work on the ATO’s online platform, and another valued at $28 million for IT services on the federal government’s ongoing superannuation change program, running for just five months.
Later that month, Accenture won yet another ATO contract, this one worth more than $8 million for the provision of the Single Touch Payroll Program, running to the end of September next year.
Late last year, Accenture also won a number of contracts with the ATO worth about $80 million in total.
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