BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Programmes: Moneybox  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Moneybox Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 13:40 GMT
Online tax return confusion
Inland Revenue, Bush House, London
The Revenue denied there is a problem with its software

The Inland Revenue's online tax return system has come under fire from customers who feel they have been let down.

A number of people who filed online have contacted the BBC's Money Box programme, after the Revenue claimed it never received their forms.

They thought they had filed their returns in time. But they still received a 100 penalty for missing the 31 January deadline.

This comes as worrying news, given that the Revenue wants two million of us to file online by 2005.

"Angry and frustrated"

Ian McGarr told Money Box that he decided to file his return online for the first time this year.

I feel very angry and frustrated

Ian McGarr

After completing his form he sent the Revenue a cheque for the amount the system said he owed.

A few days ago, he received a 100 penalty notice.

When he called the Revenue he was told there was no record of his tax return ever having been received.

"I feel very angry and frustrated... I was told there was nothing on the Inland Revenue's system, only that I had made a payment."

Ian is appealing against the fine.

Stressful experience

Patricia Douthwaite found out by chance that the Revenue had not received her form, when she visited her local tax office in January.

I shall never do it again because it is too stressful

Patricia Douthwaite

She had received a validation number and a tax calculation on the website.

Luckily for Patricia she found out in time. But she is still angry.

"I shall never file online. It has taken hours and hours sorting this out. I shall never do it again because it is too stressful," she said.

Confusing process

Tim Potten was also convinced he had filed his return successfully.

In fact, he had not completed the full process. He told Money Box the website is confusing:

"It is not obvious where you are, what you are supposed to get and there is not a great deal of help."

Assessing the problem

Terry Hawes, Head of e-services development at the Inland Revenue told Money Box that if people had filed in time and still received a penalty, they should visit their local tax office where their case will be investigated.

But he insisted: "At the moment there are no reasons to think that anybody who filed on time has received a penalty notice."

One of the pieces of work we are doing, is to try to find out why a relatively small number of people do end up with this problem

Terry Hawes, Inland Revenue

And he continued, "They would have got a message on screen telling them their return had been received.

"In addition, if they had given an email address, we would have sent an email confirmation."

Mr Hawes denied there was a problem with the software.

But he did say "One of the pieces of work we are doing, is to try to find out why a relatively small number of people do end up with this problem."

According to Mr Hawes, approximately 333,500 people had successfully submitted their returns online this year.

Mr Hawes claimed that as far as he was aware, a "relatively small" number of people had encountered problems.

But he added: "Our call centre is currently receiving around 400 calls a day and some of these will be about that problem."

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 29 January, 2003, at 1204 GMT

Home
Listen to Money Box
Money Box phone-in
Archive
Guides & calculators
Meet the team
Contact us

YOUR MONEY

From BBC Business News
The Markets: 9:29 UK
FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
Launch marketwatch
View market data
See also:

11 Mar 03 | Business
08 Mar 03 | Moneybox
20 Feb 03 | Business
05 Mar 03 | Politics
04 Mar 03 | Business
04 Mar 03 | Business
03 Mar 03 | Business
28 Feb 03 | UK News
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Moneybox stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Moneybox stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes