HMRC back online after Friday crash

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HMRC’s online servers have crashed on the last day of a busy month. John Stokdyk reports. An AccountingWEB.co.uk member experienced problems early on Friday morning while trying to submit a Corporation Tax return. The system failed to respond, and when he contacted the HMRC helpdesk, they informed him that all the department’s servers were down. The HMRC online service availability page confirmed that the crash extended across all of its main tax processing systems: “Due to technical problems our service is temporarily unavailable. We are currently working with our IT partners to provide an urgent fix for the problem and apologise for any inconvenience caused. However, the department said that users of commercial software can still submit Returns during this period.

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01st Aug 2009 10:03

What a pointless non-story!

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02nd Aug 2009 20:01

HMRC Problems
It is not a non story. We experienced two failures of VAT returns submitted from within the same third party software. After eliminating this software as the source of the problem, we contacted HMRC who informed us that other software had also been affected. We were not told of the general outage and now we know what the actual cause was. We spent some time trying to sort out the problem and it is good to know that our third party software did not let us down.

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A view from the newsdesk
Thanks for your feedback, Euan. We welcome any kind of comment and constructive criticism.

But in this case I agree with Ray. The server failure certainly mattered to the AccountingWEB member who contacted us about it on Friday morning. He was rightly worried about incurring late filing penalties if the system remained out of action for the rest of the day.

It's to HMRC's credit that they were able to diagnose the problem and restore service by 10.30am. We have relatively good channels of communication with the department, which does pay attention to the issues raised by AccountingWEB members. Having put out the warning that a problem existed, we were happy to update members as soon as it was fixed.

To you, it might have been an isolated, irrelevant Friday morning distraction but it's far better for all concerned for HMRC to acknowledge when problems occur and to deal with them and us openly than to pretend they didn't exist.
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John Stokdyk, Technology editor

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04th Aug 2009 10:43

A view from a contributor
I disagree with you.

You had already posted a question in Any Answers (by the way, shouldn't that be Any Questions?) on this topic, presumably as the offended member had not posted a question himself, and updated it yourself when the problem had been resolved. Anyone who was interested could have read it there. The only person who posted a response evidently shares my view.

There was then no point in repeating yourself with this retrospective news story of a fixed problem.

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A minor clarification
As I pointed out above, Euan, the story wasn't retrospective when we first posted it, nor was the Any Answers query.

It sounded pretty serious to me on Friday morning and as always, my first instinct was to see what to extent it affected AccountingWEB.co.uk members. When the problem was resolved, I updated both items.
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John Stokdyk, Technology editor

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24th Jan 2010 20:48

Surely

The return in question should have been filed long ago ... since we do get 1 year to file. !!!! 

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