According to the Forum of Private Businesses, HMRCs online tax systems just can't cut the mustard and they certainly aren't helping small businesses.
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The FPB describes the systems as 'including complex and unwieldy online procedures' and are very bureaucratic.
Examples listed by the FPB include businesses being selected for 'extended verification' before being registered for VAT - this process should take 50 days but there are instances of cases still not being resolved since September 2009; calls to HMRC going unanswered - 44 million in the year to January 2010 weren't picked up; and a lack of training - despite knowing that electronic submissions was coming staff weren't being trained.
This means one thing for taxpayers; that they need to be proactive in managing their affairs. They need be able to prove in a documented format that they've done everything they possibly can to comply with the law. That way, if there are any disputes, the blame can only be placed with HMRC.