TaxPersonal TaxEXCLUSIVE: Revenue reported to OFT

EXCLUSIVE: Revenue reported to OFT

The Inland Revenue has been reported to the Office of Fair Trading by a furious software provider in a move which may have implications for the government's e-commerce initiatives.

Forbes Software, with the full support of software trade association BASDA, has reported the Revenue for ‘it’s anti-competitive action’ after it carried out ‘a last minute’ switch to allow Microsoft to provide its TaxSaver software free of charge to self-assessment e-filers.

It was thought 15 or 20 UK software providers were set to compete in this arena after they had spent the last year helping the Revenue launch its e-filing website.

The decision could see future Revenue projects frustrated through lack of co-operation from the software market.

A furious Dennis Keeling, BASDA chief executive, said: ‘The Revenue has made much of its new era of co-operation with the software industry and the effectiveness of the results.

‘I’m afraid if the government expects co-operation on these terms, it will be disappointed. BASDA and its members helped the Revenue achieve its objectives – unfortunately it has destroyed ours.’

David Forbes of Forbes Computing told AccountancyAge.com: ‘We are happy to take on Microsoft on a level playing field. However, taxpayer’s money is being paid to Microsoft to give away their product for free, it is heavily promoted on the site of a government body and supported by them. This must be against the spirit of the Competition Act.’

So far nobody at the Revenue has been available for comment. The move came only days after the National Audit Office warned that the IT giant EDS wields ‘undue’ influence over the Revenue.

Software packages given BASDA thumbs-up

BASDA fails software provider on euro test

Internet tax filing moves one step closer

Watchdog warns Revenue on EDS

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