HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
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.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Infamy, Infamy, They've All Got It In For Me!

Infamy, Infamy!
We all love a good conspiracy theory, that's part of the joys of being a human being.

Why should cock ups, bad luck, accidents etc be our fault when we can blame malign influences such as; MI6, Prince Philip, George Bush, little green men, BAA, leaves on the line etc etc?

Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that HMRC, in the shape of its acting Chairman "The Nearly Man" Dave Hartnett, believes that HMRC has been the subject of a malign conspiracy.

The Nearly Man was talking at an ICAEW Tax Faculty event in March, and addressed the highly embarrassing subject (embarrassing to HMRC anyway) of the online tax filing system crash at the end of January which forced HMRC to extend its filing deadline by a day.

In Hartnett's view this was not an accident, most certainly it was not the fault of HMRC or its IT system.

The real cause?

Deliberate Conspiracy!

Seemingly, according to Hartnett, there had been a mysterious "spike" at 11.10pm on the night of Wednesday 30 January when a number of users had all come on to the system for a few seconds, but none actually filed.

Hartnett would not comment further on the issue, except to say that he would share details with the tax world when more was known.

Now it is possible that parties unknown attempted a Denial of Service (DOS) attack, by trying to overload the server, this does happen in the wonderful world of the web.

How many users came on line at that time?



Hundreds of thousands?


To be precise, 6,500 people came online at that time.

I am prepared to believe many things in life, there are more things in heaven and earth etc. However, even if the 6,500 were evil doers, had the HMRC system been well designed it would not have fallen over because of a paltry 6,500 users being online at the same time.

Blaming this spike and an alleged conspiracy, in my view, is clutching at straws.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. It crashed after just 6500 visitors? I find that incredibly hard to believe.

    Assuming that number is correct and assuming the server/bandwidth isn't circa 1980... how inefficient is their setup?

    Even the most strangled & outdated hardware could handle 6500 without any major problems! If those visitors didn't file a return, there would be minimal database interaction.

    I can't help but wonder if there's something else they're not telling us! That story may blind/convince the average taxpayer, but it won't wash with network analysts.

  2. As someone who was once proud to be in the Law Enforcement arm of Customs, I could cry after seeing what has been done to us. Now another carve up, the Border Agency. Goodbye to the key Customs function of protecting the border. Why not just call it HMR and be done with it? The Revenue got what they wanted, the powers. Not that they have a clue how to carry out an investigation. Never mind "Ambition" my suggestion for a motto would be "activity without achievement".