HMRC admits systems will slow for SA deadline

HM Revenue & Customs has admitted that its systems dealing with
self-assessment online filing will slow up as the 31 January deadline
approaches, and is continuing to urge filers to submit returns before the

With new figures showing a dramatic jump in the number of practitioners and
advisers filing clients’ SA returns online, a spokesman warned that the system
would ‘not be as fast as we’d like’ near to the deadline.

‘Thousands and thousands will file on that deadline, but it won’t be as
pleasant as if you file now,’ added the spokesman.

Although there have been concerns that HMRC’s would grind to a halt in a
similar fashion to the approach to last year’s deadline, its latest figures
suggest that the popularity of online filing has leapt.

According to HMRC’s latest figures, compared to the same period last year,
agents filing returns by the internet has jumped by 93%, while those using the
soon-to-be dropped electronic lodgement service slumped by 23%.

Over 600,000 returns had been filed via the internet by the end of December,
double the figure for the same period last year.

Nearly 10m self assessment returns were issued in 2004/05, with 1.6m filed
using either the internet or ELS.

‘Customers already registered for our online service can file easily and
securely right up to midnight on 31 January at,’ said Roy
Massingale, director of self assessment at HMRC. ‘But if you are relying on the
post, leave plenty of time for your return to be delivered.’

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