Big firms question Revenue’s e-filing capability

Big firms question Revenue's e-filing capability

Three of the Big Five firms have put the boot into government plans to encourage individuals to file self-assessment tax returns electronically - after questioning the Inland Revenue's capability to handle e-filed returns.

The criticism comes as the Revenue was last month forced to put back the launch of self-assessment e-filing due to incomplete testing of the software.

In an embarrassing blow for the Revenue, Arthur Andersen this week revealed it is recommending clients to send returns by paper.

Tax partner Bill Dodwell, said: ‘The service will only suit very simple taxpayer affairs and not cover options such as capital gains and partnerships. We have sympathy for their situation but are waiting for the Revenue to up their capabilities before recommending e-filing’.

An Ernst & Young spokesman, said: ‘Our view is not too dissimilar to Andersen’s. The Revenue system has not proved to be exactly the most wonderful.’

PwC added: ‘We have not seen big benefits from e-filing so far but we look forward to this method fitting in more.’

However, Deloitte & Touche private client partner Steve Midwinter disagreed. He said: ‘We welcome e-filing but recognise there have been problems, but I’m sure these will be ironed out soon.’

The Revenue remained upbeat. A spokesman said: ‘As far as our internet service is concerned, we have successfully launched the first component, enabling those interested to register their details. Over 40,000 people have registered successfully so far in the first month.’

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