Two-tier HMRC tax filing system uncovered

The Labour government faced another controversy this weekend after it was
Revenue & Customs
(HMRC) had a secret two-tier security system for
filing tax returns, giving extra protection to a small group of MPs, royals and
other VIPs.

Mike Warburton, of accountants
Grant Thornton,
told The Times his firm had previously raised concerns about the
security of the online filing system. Those doubts had now resurfaced because of
the disclosure that MPs were not permitted to use it.

‘Either the revenue has a system that can guarantee confidentiality for all
or they should defer plans to force online filing. It is extraordinary that MPs
and others enjoy higher security,’ he said.

Andrew Robathan, Tory MP, discovered the two-tier system when he challenged a
letter he received from HMRC, saying he could not file online.

Jane Kennedy, the Treasury minister responsible for the department, told him:
‘There are categories of individual for whom security is a higher priority. Not
just MPs – there are several categories – and HMRC does not have the facilities
for them to file online.’

Further reading:

Thousands in self-assessment limbo

Why personal data loss must not be tolerated

story in The Times

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