back to article Calls for UK.gov's tax digitisation plans to be put on the back burner

The UK government's tax digitisation plan could be delayed by at least a year after the Treasury Committee exposed "serious shortcomings" with the programme. In 2015 Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was awarded £1.3bn of digital investment over four years, which it said would yield £1bn in extra tax revenue after 2020 by …

  1. Paul Shirley

    can't even sign in to this shit

    Been trying to register and access the tax site for a couple of years now with no success. Feels like every time I give up for a few months I come back to a changed login process that still doesn't work. To make it worse trying to get gov ID had turned into farce because I don't have multiple photo ID.

    It's a total cluster fuck with no sign they've even agreed on an architecture at the most basic level. Let retired before this ever works.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tax really is taxing

    Simplify the tax code the software suddenly gets easier....build it to model the ridiculous variations in our tax law and it ends up costing billions.

    The lack of spine in our politicians is such that they'll piss our money up the wall on systems that'll never really work just to save themselves from hard choices.

    Happily out of reach of hmrc and it's bs.

    Tax collection institutions should listen to airline announcements.

    "We know you have a choice of tax bases, thank you for choosing us"

    Lol, hmrc are straight from 1970 in thought before deed.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tax really is taxing

      "Happily out of reach of hmrc and it's bs."

      Wait until pension time. Unless you can afford to wave goodbye to your UK entitlement, you will have to go through this.

      If you give up through frustration, then they have won by not paying out what you are entitled to.

    3. Lotaresco

      Re: Tax really is taxing

      "Lol, hmrc are straight from 1970 in thought before deed."

      You can tell everything that you need to know about HMRC from the self assessment forms they provide.

      They send out a form with your name and address printed on the cover. Turn over the page and you are asked to give your name and address. Writiing "The same name and address you sent the form to, the same name and address on the first page of this form, you idiot." in this space is frowned upon.

      There isn't even a check box to be used that says something like "address not changed" or something similar. They actually want you to waste your time filling it all out again - presumably because it's not their time.

      Later you will be asked to sign parts of the form. The places requiring signature are not completely obvious. Nothing obvious like "sign the last page to confirm that what you stated is true" Oh no, it's search for the declaration on page 4(b) subsection 2z or whatever timewasting nonsense they can dream up.

      HMRC hates taxpayers.

      DANGER ANECDOTE APPROACHING.

      A friend of mine was "invited" to have a meeting with HMRC about his tax submissions which were, as far as he was aware, honest, open, legal and complete. Part way through the meeting the tax inspector said "I can't help the feeling that you have a bad attitude about paying taxes." My friend admitted that this is true, he believes in a minimum tax system where the state only takes the minimum of tax and doesn't waste the tax money on vanity projects. The inspector then said "Yes, you seem to have the bad attitude that this is your money. It isn't. All of this money belongs to the government, however the government generously permits you to keep some of it and you should be grateful for this."

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: Tax really is taxing

      And that right there is the problem. "Simplify the tax code" translates directly to "change the project requirements", plus opens a whole can of worms labelled ""how, exactly?". No wonder it's running late.

      The Chartered Institute of Taxation is part of the problem, because any real simplification of the tax code would mean the end of their meal ticket.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Their co-operation and trust are both hard won and easily dissipated."

    I haven't trusted HMRC or its IR predecessor for decades - does any business?. And I believe the correct word is "coercion".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't even get SIMPLE things right

    They have a portal specifically for people who don't normally have any dealings with HMRC to submit ad-hoc Capital Gains returns.

    Simple enough questions - what did you buy it for, what did you sell it for, what do you think the tax is that's due. But then it asks when did you buy it, and when did you sell it - and this is where it fails dismally.

    What retarded, brain dead, useless cretin thought it a good idea to put a rule in that "the sale date can't be prior to the start of THIS tax year ? WTF ?

    Apart from meaning that it imposes different timescales to other means of reporting, it makes it useless if (for example) you sold something during (say) March, and didn't get all the paperwork (eg final solicitor's bill) until (eg) the middle of April.

    if they want people to do the right thing, then they need to make it easy to do the right thing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone currently working on the HMRC Making Tax Digital project, I can assure you that there definitely is an architecture in place, and it's not too bad. Modern, microservice- and API-based, using modern non-waterfall delivery processes using all the funky cloudy tools, etc. Fairly large limitations are the 70's-era core data stores and processign, and very non-synchronous internal processes of HMRC itself.

    There's no excuse for the Government Gateway though - had to register for self assessment recently, and holy crap is it labyrinthine and confusing - did anyone do any user research?? A replacement is in the works....

    1. Lotaresco

      "Modern, microservice- and API-based, using modern non-waterfall delivery processes using all the funky cloudy tools"

      BINGO! I have a full card!

      Minus points for not using "going forward", "amplify", "ecosystem", "actionable", "scalable", "platform" or the evergreen "synergy" but still a creditable attempt at corpspeak.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You missed off "stakeholder" and "low hanging fruit"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A replacement is in the works....

      ...there have been several already, none of them ever actually work any better if they work at all :(

      What annoys me the most is I have a (mostly) working login for other things on the gateway, but it won't let me use it for the tax site or get it verified to satisfy their security requirements. So even if they get this damn thing to ever work I'll still have multiple accounts. It's absolutely clueless.

    3. Tom Paine

      Yeah, after a round of redundancies at a former employer several devs jettisoned at the same time as me interviewed there and reported HMRC's dev environment was fully agile, with KANBAN boards, story cards, CI, short iterations and all the rest of it. Let's hope the products of the pairs works better than the traditional agonising crock of malevolent evil HMRC laughingly call their "processes".

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        KANBAN?

        Kanban may be fine for production line systems where identical widgets are being processed. Tax-payers do not fit that mould at all well IMO.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: KANBAN?

          "Tax-payers do not fit that mould at all well IMO."

          I think HMRC's view is that your opinion doesn't count, only theirs. It explains a lot, of course.

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