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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, 1 April 2011
A Disaster Waiting To Happen
David Gauke, the Exchequer secretary, has given an answer to a written parliamentary question that confirms that HMRC will proceed with the Real Time Information scheme for tax payment.
"I expect HMRC to be in a position to pilot the Real Time Information system with employers, pension providers and payroll bureaux from the spring of 2012."
Real world experience shows that just because a politician gives a fantasy deadline, the actuality is far removed from fantasy.
Regarding Gauke's fantasy project, tax professionals are not convinced that the deadline is realistic or that HMRC are actually up to the job of implementing this system.
HMRC have given guarantees to the DWP that the system will be in place before the October 2013 deadline for Universal Credits.
This is all very well. However, basic trials of the system will not begin until April 2102; more detailed live trials will not start until January 2013.
What happens if the trials throw up faults that take longer than the October 2013 deadline to address?
Capgemini are being paid to pull this rabbit from the hat.
TechEye quote Matthew Brown, Technical Officer at the Chartered Institute of Taxation:
"This is less of a tax decision and more to do with government department's wishes as this is all based around universal credit proposals.
We are certainly concerned that there is not enough time to prepare for such a project, as most projects would need at least 18 months to prepare the software according to developers, while only one year is being given to get it right before live tests begin."
"It is a tall order and it means that there is absolutely no room for errors in the system."
HMRC are not known for being "error free".
Online tax forms took five years to be thoroughly tested and put in place.
Any bets as to whether this project will come in on time, on budget and error free?
As noted, politicians tend to avoid reality. Sadly for HMRC this project is being driven by politics and David Gauke is a politician/lawyer not a finance/IT professional.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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