Inland Revenue e-filing delayed again

The Inland Revenue’s e-filing plans have been delayed for the second time in a month, after it revealed this week that its much vaunted File By Internet self-assessment website will not be ready until July.

The Revenue failed to launch the website in April, which was specially designed to allow the UK’s nine million self-assessment taxpayers to file returns on the net, and announced it would be ready at the end of May. But the date has now been put off until the beginning of July.

Further delays have not been ruled out by embarrassed Revenue officials, and additional testing is being carried out to the site.

“We are pretty confident the latest date will be met, but nothing is definite and we cannot rule out further delays,” said an official. “We are running more tests on our software but we will not go live until everything is running smoothly.”

The second delay means the project will have been held up for almost three months. It was revealed in May that there were problems with security on the site, with EDS, the Revenue’s software provider, calling for more testing time.

The new revelation is likely to cause yet more damage to the Revenue’s efforts to encourage internet filing of tax returns. It is still unclear exactly when the new system, aimed at the web-wise self-assessment taxpayer, will go live. But the Revenue’s Electronic Exchange web pages have been carrying an apology for the delay.

It said: “We had planned to provide this service from the end of April. We have now decided to perform further testing, and this will delay its introduction.”

However, the Revenue insisted it had enjoyed success with the number of registrations it had received for e-filing.

A web page on which potential users can register their details has been available since 3 April, and an estimated 50,000 people have registered so far.

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