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back to article UK tax system takes a little break from the interwebs

Anyone wishing to commune electronically with the taxman will have to wait until Wednesday – HMRC systems are down for planned maintenance. A spokesman for the Rev said the downtime was planned because it is one of HMRC's quietest periods. From 7am on Monday until 6am on Wednesday most HMRC systems – including PAYE, Self …

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Quietest time of year?

Their quietest time is at the transition from one tax year to the next?!

Alrighty then.

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Happy

Seems plausible

Seems plausible. The PAYE deadlines are long gone. The last week of the last tax year ended on Friday, for weekly reporting by employers. The last month ended on Thursday. There's nothing I'm aware of which has a deadline for filing on 5th April - it's more a date when one has to finalize one's financial actions, for reporting on 2010-11 tax returns due in months to come.

If the upgrading causes someone a delay reporting on the first week of 2011-12, there are probably few knock-on consequences, and no problems with nodding through a deadline extension.

Thinking about this, it's also a good justification for an April 5 end of tax year compared to December 31. If this is the quietest time, it's also normal working days rather than bank holidays. Cheaper for getting the upgrades done! But because of Easter, "First Tuesday in March" (say) would be even more sensible.

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Boffin

PAYE dates

P32s for the previous month/quarter need filing by the 21st April, I believe.

GJC

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Not really

You don't need to file a P32, just pay the amount shown on it, and file it in case they want to inspect it. Santander BillPay handles the payment side of things and that is still up and running. However if you pay before the 5th of the month, they quite often allocate the payment to the previous month and send the dogs for non-payment of the current month.

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Grenade

Well, that about wraps it up for my schedule for the week....

....in which I had today and tomorrow blocked out to wrap up the year-end for the company payroll and corporation tax. And no other days available. Thanks, guys, I appreciate it immensely.

GJC

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WTF?

Quietest period - seriously??

The last two days of the tax year - 4th & 5th April - are the quietest time of the year?

Doesn't sound right, but I suppose that all the filing dates for tax returns and things are at other times of the year.

I am not an accountant.

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Yes it is

Because you can't file anything related to the tax year until after the tax year has ended.

I have a load of payroll stuff that was done on the Monday before the last Thursday in March in time to reach their bank accounts by the due date which I could file because I know there won't be any more payments this year, but HMRC don't see it that way, so I have to wait.

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Sir

This may be true for PAYE, but it certainly isn't true for VAT returns.

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FAIL

Meanwhile...

... I have just had a letter from HMRC threatening to send in the Bailiffs for an unpaid PAYE bill despite the fact that my accountants have told them *TWICE* that I don't owe them anything!

Of course when they tried to tell HMRC *again* they were told "The computer system is down, call back on Wednesday".

So now I just have to hope that the left hand tells the right hand that I'm in the clear...

(Yeah, right....)

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Boffin

You're not alone

I know several people who are getting these letters, and all the relevant Accountants claim to have told HMRC at least twice.

However on reading one of the recent letters more closely there is an option to declare a nil return online (outside of the PAYE site), something I suspect the accountants have not done - they have simply phoned saying nothing is due, and it hasn't been logged.

(Clearly the Nil Payment Due option is useless while the site is down, but it might be worth taking a look tomorrow. Or Thursday).

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No weekend working then?

See title.

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Anonymous Coward

I wish

Work started 10pm Friday night after normal daytime service finishes and ran through to ~7pm Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the integration between systems means there's a lot of "Team A does some stuff and then waits for Team B to do some stuff before they can do their next bit" type of things.

And, of course, the desktop upgrades for something like 100,000 machines take a little bit of time to do - even with centralised management.

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this is a PITA

Tax year change over period is the quietest part of the year, yeah right. Especially when the tax credit system is affected and guess when they want you to register your change of circumstances after the 1st April. 1st working day after the 1st April I phone in and am told (via a recorded message) that they are closed due to a planned upgrade.

Seriously.

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't a bit old-fashioned...

To have to take down a system, for several days, to update a few details?

Maybe they hard-coded the tax rates?

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Not so much the rates

Every year the rules about how to calculate your taxable income change, which means more or less boxes (usually more) on the tax return.

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Anonymous Coward

OK, thanks... I confess

To having underestimated the complexity of the thing.

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VAT quarter

If your VAT quarter ended in February, you have until 7th April to file your return (and send your payment) if you're doing it online.

Not so good if you like to push these things to the wire.

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