back to article IT problems force HMRC to extend tax deadline

IT problems have forced Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to extend the deadline for filing tax returns to midnight on Friday. The self-assessment website has had problems all day and dozens of Reg readers have been unable to file their tax returns. But if you've been struggling with the website all day then relax. The …


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  1. Vernon Lloyd

    Knowing this government.....

    As Midnight 0:00hrs on Friday the 1st is technically tonight, will they fine those who pay up to Midnight Friday the 1st (ie 0:00 Saturday 2nd).

    Just a thought, I am soooooo pleased that all of our hard earned tax has built such a fantastic IT infrastructure.

    Opps was that the off swi......

  2. Daniel Dainty

    Those words you're looking for

    "No word yet on what caused the problems. ®"

    I'll give you two:

    - IT

    - Government


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice they addmited to problems

    ... and extended deadline accordingly

  4. Herby Silver badge

    And you thought it was difficult...

    Here in the USA, we take our bloody time. Our I(Internal, nor Inland)RS lets us get away with waiting until April 15th. Of course, we have these silly things like deductions that are slurped out of our paychecks before we get the money so they get it "real fast". I suspect if everyone had to pay their taxes without withholding, there might be a small revolt, but that is another matter.

    Sales tax is sucked out by the several states, and here in California, in the county where I exist, the rate is 8.25% on just about everything that you can't eat. If they taxed legal bills, the state could lower it by a couple of points. I think back to when I was growing up, and the rate was a mere pittance at 4%, then reflect on the fact that with TWICE the tax, I don't get much more from my government.

    Out the door...............

  5. Mark Fenton only need one word ...


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People in the US don't seem to understand the tax system

    > I suspect if everyone had to pay their taxes without withholding, there might be a

    > small revolt, but that is another matter.

    I love the people who excitedly say "the IRS is giving me a $XXXX refund! Wheee!" and they don't seem understand that this is just their overpayment, and that the much bigger number saying "tax paid" is their money going to the government.

    At least I was able to claim state sales tax as a deduction on my Federal tax, which was a big chunk since I bought a new bike and A/C for the house.

    According to TurboTax I paid almost exactly 10% of my income in Federal taxes, and my state has a 5% sales tax and no income tax. I don't think that's too bad.

    For my money, I want to see more stuff blowing up in Iraq on the evening TV.

  7. Peter Kavanagh
    Thumb Up

    No problems here...

    I filed my return using TaxCalc, via the Government Gateway at about 11.30am today. No probs with a test submission, or the 'live' one, no more than 15 secs delay each time.

    It seems from the reports that it was their website that went titsup - but it looks like the underlying architecture was working fine - i.e. query/response, and sending the forms data as XML. It's the 3rd year I've filed online, without a hitch, so for a chage it's a thumbs-up to government IT...!

  8. Neil Docherty


    Us poor souls in the UK have to pay 17.5% VAT (sales tax) on everything but fresh food or energy bills (the former is VAT free, the latter is 5%) and 2/3 of the pump price of fuel is tax (currently around £1.05 per litre) so I wouldn't be complaining at 8.25% sales tax!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    John, your tagline...

    As much as it is meant to be funny, the sad fact is that many will do just that and complain about how they're stuck on Feb 1 trying to submit their tax returns.

    Don't fan the flames...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't comply with technical standatrds either...

    ... neither the HMRC Self Assessment system, nor the Government Gateway itself, comply with RFC2822 in respect of internet e-mail.

    My e-mail address is rejected by both of these systems as "invalid" because (horror!) it has an ampersand ("&") in it, perfectly acceptable technically - this symbol being valid according to RFC 2822 (it supercedes RFC 822), but dismissed out of hand because their systems are broken ( = produced by Microsoft). So I'm officially a second-class citizen, banned from using their public systems because I don't comply with their unilateral (non-standard) requirements.

    The delicious irony, which they won't comment on, is the fact that the dozens of e-mails that have passed to and fro between us on this particular matter are, of course, addressed to me at my "invalid" address... :-(

  11. Kevin Crisp

    Thick Users

    Personally, I did my tax return last May and the site was super quick and worked perfectly.

    All the fuckards who left it until today deserve their hassles.

  12. Ashtonian

    It shows once again

    that IT folk are numbskulls,

    bullshit their way to high salaries and never really understand the science of networks and information transmission storage and retrieval.


  13. Anonymous Coward

    Is It So Hard...

    ...Not to leave one's tax return until the last day?

    Did mine a couple of months back; got the rebate in the bank shortly afterwards.

    What? No Smug Bastard Icon?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Normal level of service?

    As I am still unable to access their online service at 8pm I have to laugh at the HRMC press release stating that the "system is now rapidly returning to normal levels of service". So this is normal? Go(r)d help us...!

  15. BitTwister


    > It shows once again that IT folk are numbskulls

    ITYM "...that the IT folk from the likes of EDS and Crapita are numbskulls yet they will be used time and again by NuLabour"

  16. Rich

    No improvement for me

    I see no improvement in the service to pay this morning. For 3 days i've not been able to load the self assessment page. I was getting time out errors over a week ago.

    If they owe us money it is one rule for them and another for us. Cheeky %$£%$$£%£$^$£!!!!!

  17. Laurent Leconte

    reminds me of what happened in France

    FWIW, we had the same problem in France the first year they launched the online tax website. IIRC, they extended the deadline by 2 weeks because they were "unprepared" for the massive traffic they got. Since then the site has been working fine (although I usually try to fill in my tax forms in advance, so there may still be rush hour congestion just before the deadline), and filling in your tax form online earns you a massive 20€ rebate...

    On a tangential note, a friend of mine works for the French government IT. He was responsible for setting up a website designed to alleviate red tape (basically, one web form to fill instead of queuing at 6 different buildings). Anyway, when they launched the pilot he made the mistake of talking about it to the PR leeches - adding, of course, that they weren't to talk about it as it was only a pilot. The next day it was on the evening news... Massive audience, poor little server dies horribly, many outraged cries of "who's the fucktard who can't build a decent website".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    last minute id**ts

    All those people who left their tax return till the last day deserve the 100 quid fine. That'll help pay for the system infrastructure upgrade to cope with next years' id**ts

  19. Ian Watkinson
    Black Helicopters

    Complain except the Adjudicators telephone number is out of order.

    Step one

    When you have a complaint, it is usually best to contact the person you have been dealing with. You may however prefer to contact that person’s immediate manager or the person in charge of the office. If you wish to do this phone the customer relations manager and they will tell you who to contact.

    Step two

    If you cannot settle your complaint at step one, contact the Director with overall responsibility for the office you deal with. We will tell you the name and address of the Director to contact. The Director will review the complaint objectively.

    Step three

    If you’re not happy with the Director’s response you can ask the Adjudicator to look into your complaint. The Adjudicator is a fair and unbiased referee whose recommendations are independent. You can contact the Adjudicator at

    The Adjudicator’s Office

    Haymarket House

    28 Haymarket


    SW1Y 4SP

    Tel: 020 7930 2292 (Typetalk facilities are available)

    Fax: 020 7930 2298

    You can also contact the Adjudicator

  20. John Stirling

    @Kevin Crisp et al

    Just a quick note to all the goody two shoes who submitted their (probably fairly straightforward) returns months ago.

    Some of us have to wait for information before building accounts. Some of us are reliant on third parties (in one case my aged and useless parents). Some of us simply plan to submit on time - not late not early.

    Those of us who wish to use the system AS ADVERTISED are not fucktards for leaving it to the last day, we are in a situation we would rather not be in, but have little opportunity to avoid.

    To state we are fucktards for not filing our returns the arbitrary amount of time ahead of the deadline that you deem appropriate (not late, just different periods of time before the deadline) is analogous to saying that all windows users who complain about it are fucktards as they shouldn't have bought it, conveniently missing the obvious that many have no choice.

    Let's see about other examples - any of you ever complain about late buses/plains/trains, when you were waiting for one which didn't show up/showed up late? Clearly you are all fucktards. People know trains can be late.

    Ever complain about service not being what you expected? fucktards.

    Anything in your life ever not EXACTLY as you expected? did you complain - or even think about complaining? fucktard.

    Oh, and i am using 'compaint' as a handy way of judging that the service/product was below reasonable expectation, if that was an invalid measure then those complaints were invalid and you are clearly a fucktard. Or you didn't notice the service/product was sub standard, and you are still a fucktard.

    Now those of you that file early - enjoy your smugness, but remember next time you experience something less than perfect that there was any possibility of foreseeing it might not work - fucktard.

  21. David Roberts Silver badge

    Why don't they extend the deadline by a week?

    Let us step through this slowly for the hard of thinking.

    31st January - Web site keeps crashing because of high demand due to last minute chancers like myself piling on to beat the deadline. Not many people (relative to those trying) manage to file.

    No problem - tell everyone the last day has been extended by one day.

    1st February - Web site keeps crashing because of high demand due to last minute chancers like myself piling on to beat the deadline. Not many people (relative to those trying) manage to file.

    ....a pattern begins to emerge........

    Why not just extend the deadline by a week and take the pressure off the website? Then perhaps the demand will ease to a level with which the web site can cope, and everyone gets to file.

  22. Phil Atkin

    Still unusable today


  23. Steve Wehrle
    Thumb Down

    @David Roberts

    Because there would be no network traffic for the first 6 days of February, and the system would crash again on the 7th. D'oh!

  24. Vic

    actually I think it was...

    Accenture and IBM who set it up. But that's just speculation. Accenture claim it as theirs somewhere random on t'internet. Who knew?

  25. Vic
    Thumb Up

    for once we did something right

    err...I think. I could be wrong of course.

    Revenue system in South Africa had exactly the same problem yesterday. I'm (strangely) a Luddite on this, I like paper trails so mine was done in October and my R0.67 rebate is surely flying to me already as I got the notification weeks ago. (That being about 5p.)

    However, they issued a kind of e-ticket to everyone who couldn't get into the actual filing system yesterday which you then redeemed and it gave you an extra 24 hours. No e-ticket, penalties coming your way. You need to prove you tried, not just sat around whining. I'd imagine it relieved the system pressure a bit too because you'd then be able to nip off for a couple of pints knowing that if it happened tomorrow you'd still be good.

    It just seemed nice and proactive for them to have thought about the fact that shit happens and make a plan in advance. No idea who they've outsourced that lot to but they're pretty decent as tax men go so I'd imagine they expect some level of competence. Should look it up but I'm too lazy.

  26. Rich

    @John Stirling

    Well Said John!

    Some of us do not receive the necessary data til nearer the deadline.

    Most of the questions it asks are completely pointless but you still have to answer them or it gives an error message. Also why should the government earn interest on MY money!!!

  27. regadpellagru

    root cause of the problem

    "No word yet on what caused the problems. ®"

    Probably a 500GB export of some UK citizens DB flying from HRMC to whatever google repository via the same internet circuit, what else ?

    Bizarre El Reg missed that one ...

  28. Rich
    Thumb Down

    Still not working

    Its 7:45 and the service is still unavailable. Considering only 100'000 are still to file their tax return online this is yet another dreadful service from the Government. I bet they over paid for an under powered system as usual.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another day

    Turns out they had to extend the deadline by another day, and now won't be fining people who submit by "midnight on the 2nd February".

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