HM Revenue and
Customs has exceeded its forecast for online filing of self-assessment tax
returns by about half a million.
A total of 5.8m taxpayers filed online by the 31 January deadline – a 53%
increase on 2008, when 3.8m people filed online.
At the peak of the online filing period – between 4pm and 5pm on 30 January –
HMRC’s system received 37,500 online returns, the equivalent of ten every
Online filing has previously been plagued by a series of technical glitches
but HMRC IT systems are thought to have performed better than last year, when it
had to grant people a one-day extension.
But the 31 January deadline was not without its frustrations. One accountant
contacted Accountancy Age after he tried to deliver cheques to London’s
Euston Tower letterbox outside business hours on the two days prior to the
deadline, but was not allowed to do so by security guards.
‘There was a sign saying you couldn’t leave anything. It’s clear there’s a
policy that someone at Euston Tower is not willing to take things. Out of office
people were instructed not to accept papers or cheques,’ he said.
‘Is it revenue policy for them not to accept papers out of office hours? It’s
a disgrace that this is happening,’ he added.
An HMRC spokesman responded: ‘We encourage people to pay over the internet.’
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