VAT computer system behind schedule

The Lords System for the collection of taxes and duties was due to be in operation by July this year.

But now Treasury secretary Paul Boateng has revealed that only a few crucial aspects will be operational this summer, with the remainder of the system coming on stream at an unspecified date as part of a wider Customs and Excise IT shake-up.

This is not good news for e-gov plans, recently criticised in a National Audit Office report, which said the the Inland Revenue was unlikely to meet its target of getting 50% take up of electronic services by 2005.

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