HMRC extends late-fee amnesty after site crash

HMRC extends late-fee amnesty after site crash

Summary: The late-filing penalty has now been waived for those people who filed tax returns online over the weekend, following problems with the HMRC website on deadline day

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People who filed their tax returns online over the weekend will be exempt from a £100 late filing penalty, following problems with the HMRC Self Assessment Online website.

The HMRC self-assessment tax website was unavailable for a large part of the day on 31 January, which was the deadline for filing self-assessment tax returns online.

As a result of the problem, the deadline was initially extended by 24 hours to the end of Friday 1 February, with users not being fined for filing after the original deadline.

But with many people also unable to access the website on the Friday and with more than 7,000 people filing on either Saturday 2 February or Sunday 3 February, the late-filing penalty has also been waived for these days.

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An HMRC spokesman told ZDNet.co.uk's sister site, silicon.com: "If [people] receive a penalty, they can write to us under reasonable excuse provisions and we will look at the case."

On Thursday alone, more than 200,000 people successfully filed their tax returns online, despite the website problems.

A record 3.7 million people filed their tax return online by the 31 January deadline.

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  • Faltering for weeks

    I tried to submit my SA over a week before the deadline and had some serious problems. I would get part way through the sequence of screens, hit next and get an error page. I then had to try and start all over again, double checking the saved pages on the way through as some data had changed. Over a period of three days, through periods where the HMRC system simply would not answer me, I finally got it done.

    I did the same thing and made the same comment on some web site (maybe this one) at the same time last year.

    There is a push to make the HMRC adopt a binding user's charter and to impose a duty of care wrt tax payers. I have to say that this is sorely needed if we are to actually get a tax collection authority that is there to help us pay the right tax, rather to try and catch us out and screw fines out of us all the time.

    I am quite well aware that there are those who do all they can to get out of paying taxes, but those of us who just want a little help at times to pay the right tax and then move on with the rest of our lives are being treated as if we are criminals trying to pull a fast one. They should be aware that the more they treat the public in this way, the more likely they are to create what they seem to be seeing.
    Andrew Meredith