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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.
Friday, 20 June 2008
Online System in Meltdown
It does seem that those running HMRC are a tad slow at taking a hint. Those of you with long memories may recall that the HMRC online filing system has had one or two "issues", not least the fact it fell over during a vital 24 hour filing period.
Indeed, so concerned were HMRC over this issue that Dave "Nearly Man" Hartnett had a public paranoia attack and blamed a hacking attempt for the collapse. This of course turned out to be ill informed bollocks, but he seems to have little else to do in his role of "acting" Chairman (by the way, why haven't HMRC found a permanent Chairman yet?).
Anyhoo, given that, you would have thought that those in charge of HMRC would have devoted some considerable time and effort to rectifying the problems with the online system and to ensuring that it was "world class".
However, it would seem not; tax advisers have issued stinging criticism this week of HMRC, saying that the online system has not kept pace with changes introduced to the tax system.
There have been numerous updates to the guidance on various areas of tax. Unfortunately, the new disclosure requirements have not been fully implemented online; this in turn leads to a large number of tax returns being rejected.
HMRC had been warned on numerous occasions that there would be problems. However, for reasons best known to those "running" HMRC, these warnings have been ignored.
Former president of Business Application Software Developers' Association (BASDA), Dennis Keeling, said:
"We warned HMRC a year ago that it needed rigorous testing before going live, but they didn't listen to us."
Paul Aplin, chairman of the tax faculty of my own professional body the ICAEW, said that the "number of rejections were noticeably higher this year..Someone has to get a handle on where the problem is quickly."
Paul Onions, operating director for PTP Group, a division of Iris, said:
"If you follow the guidance notes from HMRC when completing the returns it will be rejected.
Customers are contacting their software support lines for explanations for what are actually HMRC issues. We, like many software houses, have made changes to our programming to compensate for these HMRC errors."
The trouble is that HMRC senior management is much like a super tanker (not very "super" I would hasten to add), it takes hell of a long time to change course and speed. The world is moving on, leaving HMRC senior management far behind.
Tax does have to be taxing.
The New Statesman, Britain's leading political magazine is delighted to announce that HMRC Is Shite has been nominated for a New Media Award in the category of Campaign For Change. The campaign for change award will go to the individual or organisation that has most effectively influenced opinions and behaviour through the use of new media technology. The winner of this award will champion a cause and provide information and tools to instigate change.
The full press release can be downloaded here.
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