Inland Revenue suspends online service

Bugs detected in Inland Revenue Internet software

The Inland Revenue Web site faced another technical hitch last week and had to temporarily shut down its online service for self-assessment tax returns.

The service went down on Thursday, and was up and running again on Friday night. The suspension of its self-assessment page comes after its launch date was delayed from April to June due to security concerns. The current shutdown was necessary in order to update its computer software. It is hoped that the changes will enable tax returns to be automatically transferred to the individual's tax record.

It is hoped the new computer system will improve efficiency. Previously downloaded self-assessment forms had to be manually entered into the database. "Instead of entering returns straight away, they were printed off and often left for four to five weeks before the details were recorded electronically," a spokeswoman reveals.

The spokeswoman insists that they are following "fairly normal" business procedure by phasing in the new computer system. "Everything was going through quickly -- we wanted to make sure that there were no bugs in the system before taking the next step."

Inland Revenue confirms that since the service came into operation, a few bugs have been detected in the software. One of the glitches meant that in one percent of cases, there may have been an error in the working out how much tax was due to be paid.

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