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.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

PAYE Crash Workaround

My thanks to loyal reader Paul Gibson (he has given me permission to publish his details) a 75 year old ex IT Director. He currently develops business applications in Visual Basic for several charities, for one of which he also runs the payroll.

He encountered a problem when dealing with HMRC online PAYE, and has provided a workaround for it.

Please note: this may not work for everyone, always take back ups before trying it.

PROBLEM: After running the latest update, Basic PAYE Tools crashes with the error: “Basic PAYE Tools could not access the database”


1. Using File Explorer, navigate to directory OS[C:]\Users\User_Name
2. With the View Tab, check “Hidden Items” – the Folder “AppData” should now be displayed
3. Navigate to \AppData\Roaming\HMRC\payetools-rti
4. Take a back-up copy of the complete contents of folder “payetools-rti” as a precaution
5. Click on the “payetools-rti” folder and rename Data Base File “sqlite3” to “sqlite3x” (or sqlite3xx if sqlite3x already exists)
6. Click the “backups” folder
7. Select the latest back up folder with the format:
RTI-9999_YYYY-MM-DD_EXIT and Copy & Paste it to your Desktop
8. Now run Basic PAYE Tools – this may take up to 10 minutes to load as it rebuilds “sqlite3”
9. Under Menu, click “Restore your data”
10. Browse to the directory This PC\Desktop and click the back up folder pasted to the Desktop at Step 6.
11.Click “Next” to restore your data – this will also take up to 10 minutes
12. You should now be able to run updated PAYE Tools with your latest data.
13. If you still have problems, restore the backup “payetools-rti” folder and contact HMRC support.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. I'm trying to use HMRC Basic tools. I've downloaded it twice now, installed it twice, run the diagnosic thing, turned it off and on again, but it refuses to run. The little boc comes up for a while then vanished. On the HMRC website it says it may take a few minutes to load. It doesn't load at all. I'm running windows 7 professional and Britepay. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks

    1. As a HMRC employee I find this hard to believe....everything in the HMRC is have no idea how crap our I.T is....but our I.T department CDIO keep churning out the same old for's all very last year and will all end in tears....ffs they can't even give us a decent internal internet...takes 30 seconds to load a page !!!

  2. Thank you,
    My RTI is working now.

  3. Thank you so much. I was totally lost after a crash which resulted from a basic update. The problem was exactly as described above and therefore I could not open Basic PAYE tools. Followed Paul Gibson's instructions and now have fully restored PAYE tools. Happy man thanks very much

  4. Thanks very, very much. I am such a technophobe but Paul's instructions were so easy to follow and worked perfectly. Saved me hours of stress and tearing my hair out!

  5. Thank you,
    My RTI is working now.

  6. If you need to run it on a Linux machine, this may help:

  7. Fantastic! Worked first time and very easy to do. Thank you so much.

  8. Thank you so much for posting this. We were dreading having to call HMRC.

  9. Thank you so much. The latest update completely crashed it but following the instructions I'm back in and have completed the end of year submissions. Hugely relieved!!! Thank you again.

  10. How do i make this work on Mac?

  11. thank you so much for this information I have been trying to reach HMRC for the past 8 days , I am now able to submit my RTI ans produce P60 for the tax year ,God bless you