Glitches delay online tax returns



Mike Simons

The Inland Revenue has put off the introduction of online filing of income tax self-assessment forms because of technology...



Mike Simons

The Inland Revenue has put off the introduction of online filing of income tax self-assessment forms because of technology glitches.

Despite the delay, Nick Montague, chairman of the Inland Revenue, said his department is leading the rest of government in the delivery of electronic services and promised the department would introduce more "contact centres" like its experimental facility in East Kilbride.

Terry Hawes, of the Inland Revenue's Business Management Services group, said the delay in allowing online filing followed problems with data capture software in local offices.

"We have got a lot of bugs in the system, but no more than we expected," said Hawes. "We are now running through a testing programme and will probably deploy the module in the first week in June."

Over 44,000 taxpayers have already registered for online filing, but Hawes predicted this would increase sharply. Acknowledging recent problems with other government Web sites and online services, Hawes said that online filing would pose no problem to the Revenue's back-end systems.

"We have carried out load testing on the front-end," he said, "If everyone chose to file on the last day, we can handle it," he added.

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