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back to article HMRC self-assessment online gets awards nod

UK taxpayers will have been spluttering into their keyboards today to see HMRC's self-assesment website praised to the skies by the judges of an e-government awards ceremony. Gov tech website Publictechnology.net has recently been running case studies on the finalists in its e-government National Awards, which were handed out …

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Great award- how would you feel if you lost???

Online tax system 'too risky' for the famous (and mps, and royalty)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/26/ntax126.xml

You've already mentioned that it crashed on the biggest day of the year.

who's kidding who on this being a success?

- Joel

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Truely awful...

HMRC self assessment has got to be one of the worst websites Ive ever had the misfortune to use with barely a comment of "thanks" or "cheers easy" for the ludicrous amount of tax we pay.

Very large thumbs down

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Shock horror - the site's actually not bad

It's obviously not specced high enough to cope with hundred of thousands of users who can't be arsed to get their return in before deadline day, and it has an arcane registration process, but.... it's actually a pretty good service, and makes a good attempt at guiding 'civilians' through the labrynthine tax forms.

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They have awards for e-government websites?

It really is a lot nicer just filling in a paper form and posting it.

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Made my life easier

So much better than the paper forms. I really think it is an excellent service. It makes the whole painful experience a lot easier - isn't that what technology should be for?

My only complaint is they don't have all the forms on it yet. You can't do your overseas earnings. It directs you to a long list of 3rd party software you have to pay for to do this. Why they are special I've no idea. I printed the paper PDFs for overseas earnings, filled it in, scanned it and attached it to the main online forms. I hope this is OK.

PS Leaving it until the last day of January is a bit dumb.

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Stop

To be fair...

...the awards took place on 23 January, eight days before the crash.

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@Joel

Joel, it dosn't work for secure records because of the way the revenue's IT deal with these "customers".

The article you quote is sensationalist (to say the least). the system is very, there's abuig long list of people that can't use it, and that's to protect national interests.

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Leaving it until the last day of January is a bit dumb.

... not really, if you want to maximse the interest earned on your dosh before ponying up to HMRC.

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Anonymous Coward

does "online" == "used website"

I've filed my SA electronically for the last 3 or 4 years but I don't use the website ... instead I've spent £20 on taxcalc so I can sort out everything offline on a PC, check all the details and see the results and then only when I'm happy does it log into the whatever.gov.uk and sends the data. I never go anywhere near the SA website!

I wonder if they count this as "online filing"

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Re: does "online" == "used website"

They don't have to deal with your paperwork and you don't put any load on their website - it's win-win so you can bet your ass they count it in the "online filing" stats.

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Paris Hilton

Couldn't fail to win

Have you seen the competition it was up against?

Paris cos she wins similar awards.

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Oh how I laughed

I'm afraid I was totally unsurprised when the site went down on deadline day. Any student who's had to submit a computing assignment knows that the chance of the system being down the night before the deadline (and that the terminal room will be packed) is close to 100%. So do it a few days in advance.

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It's a good site

Really was pleasantly surprised when I used it last year, a thoroughly positive experience. Of course, I claimed early because they owed _me_ money, which may have added to the feeling :-)

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It's the HMRC's Helpdesk folk who should actually get the gong

I never manage to get thru my wife's Sole Trader SA without calling HMRC's Helpdesk at least once. Several points came to light over the years.

- HMRC will not issue you a paper statement to confirm the end of tax year settlement if you file online. They will if you file your Self Assessment on paper. Without this form to give to the Student Finance Office we're obliged to fill in another thick sheaf of (paper only) forms to Student Finance for our son's student loan assessment.

- The online filing system cannot cope with a loss carried forward calculation and cannot store the to-carry forward loss for next year. Have to write it on a bit of paper and file that. Funnily enough the Helpdesk people CAN access this info from their system.

When I point out any glaring issue with this online form, the Helpdesk people agree with me and shrug it off with "well that's just the way it is". Without these folks' help the online system would be unfeasible for me and I wonder how many others.

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Boring accountant writes

To>".. not really, if you want to maximse the interest earned on your dosh before ponying up to HMRC."

Filing date and payment are NOT connected

Regardless of when you file your payment is not due until 31 Jan

In fact filing early has other benefits as from next year the enquiry window will run from when you file as opposed to from the end of tax year as at present. So you can breathe easier earlier

to >Made my life easier

Sorry yours is not a valid return, you can't add additional "non supported" pages as an attachment ( check out their FAQs), the numbers on the attachment won't be reflected in the tax calculation

Thumbs up because online filing has made my life a lot easier

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improved a lot

Bad that it crashed, but unwise to leave things so late (and as somebody said, you can file now and pay later)

Doesn't do capital gains and various other things, but what it does do, it now does well. I have taken time to make comments and I notice most have been adopted over the years. No doubt others also commented, but it is nice to know somebody has taken the issues on board.

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leaving it to the deadline is dumb

It is bound to be busy.

Being dumb, I got to enjoy a bit of HMRC sarcasm: 'because we take this service interruption extremely seriously, we're extending the deadline to 1 Feb'.

Thankfully the article says they granted the whole weekend in the end

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Anonymous Coward

re MoD's portable laptop procurement program

I think our boys should be issued with immovable laptops, so they can't lose them.

The cloaking device, please.

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So...

...this would be a webshite award?

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Re: "they should have filed early"

If you can't deal with a late surge in traffic just before the deadline - which is inevitable to anyone who isn't an unemployable moron who has to have their job subsidised by the taxpayer - then issue staggered deadlines. People with names ending in A-F have to file by one date, G-M the next day, etc. etc.

If the government doesn't get sufficient capacity or come up with a way to deal with it, it is entirely their fault. One hundred per cent. Not one iota of blame attaches to the people who attempted to file on the deadline. If you tell someone that they may do something by date x, then they are perfectly at liberty to do it on date x. Pissng and moaning "oh they should have done it at random times like our predicted usage graph drawn in crayon said they would, because it's not as if people have anything better to do than administrate our own protection racket" does not change their mistake.

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Better then most

I've used the website to file for the last few years and it's been fine. Testing a system like that to make sure it'll cope must be a nightmare, especially in the public sector where there's so much pressure to cut costs("if you did it for 4p last year, why do you need £10million this year?").

When the website got too busy it degraded very nicely, with static pages explaining what was happening. It was all a lot more slick then, say, the Glastonbury Festival debacle last year. The self-assessment website is generally a lot better than most of the corporate websites I have encountered.

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But it still gets the sums wrong !

I file online, and it's not too bad - well not too bad in terms of having anything to do with our horrendously complex tax system that is !

However, as someone has said, it doesn't carry forward data from last year.

It doesn't carry forward ANYTHING from last year - so I have to type in my employers details again.

It won't allow me to leave the extra address line nlank even though I don't have enough lines in my address to fill it.

And just for good measure, every year, I get a letter back telling me that they've adjusted my return for some reason or another. Right now I've just NO idea how they've come up with my latest PAYE coding !

Oh yes, and it took a bit of time getting online on the 30th to pay the small amount of tax I had due - even I figured out that the 31st might be a tad busy !

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