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Web problems make tax taxing

Taxpayers experienced big problems when trying to file their returns online last weekend, but this won't be accepted as an excuse for missing Monday's deadline
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor
The Inland Revenue (IR) will issue £100 fines to people who failed to file their tax returns at the weekend because its Web servers were overloaded with last-minute submissions.

The government tax office admitted on Monday that its servers slowed over the weekend, due to a massive volume of online tax returns. As a result, taxpayers around the country have reported being unable to submit their forms ahead of today's deadline.

"If your return is late, you are liable for a fine," said an Inland Revenue spokeswoman. "Our servers are standing, robust and accepting returns. They are running slightly slower, due to the sheer flow of traffic. People just need to be patient."

Despite the IR's admission that its service was slow, people are still liable for the £100 fine if they submit tax returns after Monday. IR is advising people to send in returns by hand to their local IR offices today. "You won't get a fine then. Please bear with us," said the Inland Revenue spokeswoman.

One irate taxpayer spent most of the weekend trying to submit his return, and was told by Revenue staff that he wasn't alone in experiencing problems.

"The helpdesk told me that over a million people are trying to file their returns in advance of the January 31st deadline, and that the servers 'aren't handling it very well'. All they could suggest was to print the form and physically take it to tax office on Monday, which messes up the day," he said.

ZDNet UK was unable to get through to the Revenue's self-assessment telephone helpline on Monday.

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