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Is digital no longer a route to 24/7?

Making Tax Digital for VAT: service availability and issues - HMRC guidance

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Updated 2 August 2022:

Service availability

* You may experience issues submitting your VAT registration application outside the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

* If you’re affected you can try again between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

 

There are also two outstanding/open issues:

* Some ‘VAT notice of assessment of tax’ letters recently sent to Making Tax Digital customers were issued in error.  If your business has already submitted the VAT Return in question and paid the tax due or received its repayment, you can ignore this letter. 

* If you’re unable to sign up an overseas business because you are being asked for information that only a UK based customer can give, contact the VAT helpline, giving the VAT registration numbers and business names so that HMRC can amend the customer record.

 

Anytime, anyplace, anywhere?  But only during the hours deemed by HMRC to be 'working hours' (and whilst ignoring accidently issued letters etc)!

Is this the future for MTD ITSA as well?

Replies (21)

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By Paul Crowley
03rd Aug 2022 14:57

Looks like they really prefer paper
How rubbish does HMRC need to be before someone does something
Are emails only working in office hours?

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Aug 2022 15:28

Paul Crowley wrote:

How rubbish does HMRC need to be before someone does something

How can you imply they're rubbish when they have such a high* approval rating ?

*We've only their word for that, of course.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Aug 2022 14:57

What a shambles.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By rmillaree
03rd Aug 2022 15:04

+1

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Intercity
By Mr Hankey
03rd Aug 2022 15:34

Yes I know, all show and no go.

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By Hugo Fair
03rd Aug 2022 22:28

It's a bit depressing to see that everyone else appears to be as underwhelmed as I was by the shocking news that an on-line HMRC service only operates 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Not that the news isn't an awful indictment of their capabilities and concept of public service ... just that it contains no element of surprise (because it is HMRC)!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
RLI
By lionofludesch
04th Aug 2022 07:03

HMRC computers must be in the same union as the banks. They don't work weekends either.

They'll be demanding parental leave next.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
By SteveHa
04th Aug 2022 10:38

It's not just the news that their computers honour the working day, but that they also honour the time to do a job.

If I ask my own little PC to do something it's generally very quick (almost immediate). It most certainly doesn't take three days to do anything.

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By rmillaree
04th Aug 2022 08:08

Is this not consisent with the fact they used to switch off the fax machines when they reached closing time ? hmmmmm was that really the case or is my memory playing tricks we me?
?Rest rights for the bots - R. Daneel Olivaw would probably approve.

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By NotAnAccountant2
04th Aug 2022 11:39

rmillaree wrote:

Is this not consisent with the fact they used to switch off the fax machines when they reached closing time ? hmmmmm was that really the case or is my memory playing tricks we me?

May or may not have been the case at HMRC but it was fairly standard practice where confidential/sensitive information might have been sent which couldn't risk being left on a fax machine for a cleaner/security guard to find and read.

My suggestion to receive the faxes on a computer (which was definitely possible by the very early 90s, probably long before) and then print them out during office hours was "too high tech"

Nowadays (I hope) nobody would consider sending sensitive information by fax...

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Replying to NotAnAccountant2:
Routemaster image
By tom123
04th Aug 2022 11:57

I heard that some folk were switching fax machines back on, as being more 'secure' than email?

I expect HMRC print out every email anyway to send via internal post to people's desks?

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Replying to tom123:
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By rmillaree
04th Aug 2022 12:10

I think the fact hmrc are still in trial mode ref email says it all.

I was impressed they did dropbox till i found out tax inspector doesnt action themselves they send across referal to specific department that sends invite and that comes through at random time and self destructs after excatly 24 hours (think mine was 23 actually) - so if you request link on thursday it will likely have expired come monmday morning when you are ready to upload stuff.

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Replying to tom123:
RLI
By lionofludesch
04th Aug 2022 13:09

tom123 wrote:

I heard that some folk were switching fax machines back on, as being more 'secure' than email?

I expect HMRC print out every email anyway to send via internal post to people's desks?

There was a time when banks would insist on fax rather than email.

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Replying to tom123:
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By NotAnAccountant2
04th Aug 2022 13:30

tom123 wrote:

I heard that some folk were switching fax machines back on, as being more 'secure' than email?

I doubt it makes much difference in practice. If you fax someone, chances are that it will end up in their inbox as an email anyway.

But I'm not sure there's well supported industry standards for encrypted fax communications (unlike email which is almost exclusively transmitted encrypted nowadays and only vulnerable at the communication end points).

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Replying to NotAnAccountant2:
By SteveHa
04th Aug 2022 12:55

And yet FaxPay is still a thing with banks.

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
04th Aug 2022 16:21

Do you have a link to that page, Hugo? I just tried to find it, but was unsuccessful.

It may have been a temporary restriction (they have been taking MTD systems offline for maintenance a lot recently), but if it was persisting that would be very bizarre and worth investigating.

If the issue is still live, we'll seek an explanation from HMRC straight away.

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Replying to John Stokdyk:
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By rmillaree
04th Aug 2022 18:17

How about mental health reasons - if the staff are under pressure to get backlog of registrations down then coming in each morning and seeing the backlog has increased materially ovenight must be somewhat devastating. At least if applications sneak in while they are procesing they won't have to face the trauma of that huge increase which may be just too much and they should at least be able to hold their head above water while they are processing applications.

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Replying to John Stokdyk:
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By Hugo Fair
04th Aug 2022 18:24

I know what you mean by the rather temporary (and unarchived) nature of much of HMRC's GOV.UK pages ... but it's still there.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-tax-digital-for-vat-se...

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
05th Aug 2022 18:04

Foolish me... I went to the "VAT Online" page, not the "Making Tax Digital for VAT" page.

This will definitely merit an explanation from HMRC.

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By Rgab1947
08th Aug 2022 09:53

Bank computers dont work over weekends. Not for deposits, for taking your money its 24/7.

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Morph
By kevinringer
08th Aug 2022 10:33

I have been using the agent portal for registering clients for VAT for the last 20 years. I know from discussions with HMRC staff that my data was initially screened by HMRC's computers and if it was a simple case, it was registered automatically within very little manual intervention. If manual intervention was required, my digital data was transferred to a HMRC officer. The system permitted me to submit the data outside of office hours. I never had a problem during the 20 years I used the old system. It appears the new registration data-capture system is so poorly automated that it needs a human. As time goes on, not only does HMRC's existing IT break, but the new IT is less capable than the old.

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