The tax office is paying Irish-headquartered tech services giant Accenture more than $70,000 a day for work on its business register upgrade, with the company’s total bill for the project passing $196 million after recent extensions and new contracts.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) handed Accenture a contract in 2019 for early work on its Modernising Business Registers program, which is consolidating dozens of business registers into a new service to help businesses to meet their obligations, make business information more trusted, and improve efficiency of registry service transactions.
The project, which will eventually consolidate 31 business registers under a new Australian Business Registry Services is being rolled out between 2021 and 2024.
Around halfway in, nearly half the total budget has been outsourced to two companies.
Accenture’s early contract to develop the program, which would eventually balloon to $109 million over three years, ends this month.
In March it landed another $62 million deal for the continued build and deployment. Last week the 18-month deployment contract was increased $5 million to $67 million, while the ATO awarded Accenture another program integration contract for $16.7 million.
In total, Accenture has now been given at least $196.2 million for work on the Modernising Business Registers program, equivalent to more than $70,000 every day over the life of the contracts.
The other main outsourcing has gone to New Zealand firm Foster Moore, which is being paid $40 million for the provision of its registry software.
Together the pair are being paid nearly half the $480 million budgeted for the program since 2019.
A spokesperson for the ATO told InnovationAus.com the now $67 million “pipeline and delivery” contract had been extended “for continued service in infrastructure design, build, deployment and environment services”.
The separate $16.7 million business design and delivery contract published last week meanwhile is for “program integration, end-to-end business design including UX and UI design, and business analysis and business process articulation and improvement.”
But tax transparency groups say more scrutiny is needed before handing the company money, alleging it has engaged in aggressive tax avoidance practices in Australia.
The latest ATO corporate tax transparency report showed in 2019/20 Accenture collected revenues of nearly $2.2 billion in Australia but reported a taxable income of less than $100 million. The company paid $27.1 million in tax that year.
The national audit office on Wednesday listed the management of the Modernising Business Registers program for a potential audit this year. The audit would focus on the “design, planning for and early implementation” of the program.
Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.