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More HMRC on gov.uk

More HMRC on gov.uk

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I see more and more content has been transferred to gov.uk but unfortunately it is of a very poor standard compared to what was on HMRCs website.

It would appear that Companies House web site will soon be on gov.uk.

Does this mean it will be a waste of time accessing large parts of these websites as they have been dumbed down so much.

Replies (20)

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By paulwakefield1
31st Oct 2014 08:45

I agree

They do seem to be so simplistic that they are positively misleading.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
31st Oct 2014 09:38

.

I agree its all in a huge font to presumably disguise the complete lack of content. 

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By Ken Howard
31st Oct 2014 09:44

You were warned a while ago

I and others warned about the gov.uk dumbing down a while ago when the business link website was taken down and the content supposedly moved to gov.uk but in reality, that was just a superficial overview with a surprisingly large amount of duff information, much of which was actually completely wrong.  A massive amount of really useful information was just thrown away.  At that time, many of us were saying that the same would happen with HMRC and Co House, and that's what we're seeing now.  

It's completely nonsensical.  Tens/Hundreds of millions of pounds were spent on the various govt websites, so the money had already been spent.  They could easily have simply called a halt to any further expansion and just maintained those websites on a shoestring budget, just simply keeping them up to date as the laws/regulations changed, but no, as with anything to do with politicians, they just had to come up with something new, and as par for the course, the "new" idea is worse that what we had before.

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
31st Oct 2014 09:48

Not as bad as that

It did come as a bit of a shock a couple of weeks back when I returned to a bit of EU VAT stuff I'd been looking at the day before and got transported to the new site, however now that I've spent some time digging & surfing I don't think it's that bad.  

The detailed stuff is still there and it's certainly easier for Jo Public to use the basic guidance and, don't forget, that's who it's designed for (we're supposed to know it all!).

Whilst the previous HMRC site had huge amounts of content it had got a bit unwieldy and, certainly in the VAT stuff, there were gaps and contradictions, so I'm guessing that they have taken the chance not only to change the feel of it but also to try and start again with some of the basic stuff and I'm sure this will grow and develop, plus, they do encourage you to point out any errors & omissions you come across.

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By Ken Howard
31st Oct 2014 10:50

Indeed they do but they ignore you

Paul Scholes wrote:
Plus, they do encourage you to point out any errors & omissions you come across.

Indeed they do, and then ignore it!  I've made dozens of reports of errors and all you get back is some touchy-feely meaningless wordly email saying thanks and that they'll look into it.  When I go back to the page months later, the error is still there!

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By LuKosro
31st Oct 2014 11:02

What about the internal guidance manuals on the HMRC website? Will they simply be transferred to the gov website or remain forever forgotten? 

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By Maslins
31st Oct 2014 11:17

Yup, I don't like it either :(

Couple of days ago just wanted to sanity check what the penalties were for late payment of self assessment, client with big bill in Jan 2015 unsure if they'll be able to pay on time, so Googled it.

Found half a dozen .gov pages explaining when the deadlines were, and a penalty calculator if I could be bothered to put in a load of numbers.  After 5+ mins trying to find what should be a very basic thing, I gave up, frustrated, and called a fellow accountant.

Seems those in charge have realised they can't _actually_ simplify the tax system, so instead they'll just tell people it's really simple, give naff all information, but hope everyone gets it all right.

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By petersaxton
31st Oct 2014 11:51

But that's not good enough, Paul

How can HMRC make a statement that is clearly wrong and then penalise a taxpayer?

If there's something out of date on the HMRC website then they should correct it not throw it away.

I disagree that the HMRC website is only for non-accountants.

They can have a website for non-accountants if they want but they should also have a website for accountants to use. It should be correct, comprehensive and up to date. I have books and online access but sometimes it's easier or more sensible to copy and paste and then edit or send a link but not from a "basic" site (ie. wrong or incomplete information).

If your saying that accountants shouldn't use an HMRC website with complete information then I think you are wrong. In this day and age it makes more sense than ever.

 

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
31st Oct 2014 12:54

Why are we so special Peter?

I'm not defending them, I agree it's not good enough in many areas, I just can't get out of bed about it all, like others, if it's that bad write to your MP.

I didn't say the site was "only" for non-accountants (put your glasses on) neither did I suggest Accountants shouldn't use it (silly), I'm on it most days, but it does make me chuckle when I read that HMRC should write a site specifically for accountants, your cheek is bulging with all that tongue!

The site is for the public I don't think anyone can argue with that, and some of that public, may be accountants, in which case they can seek out the manuals or VAT notices that handle the detailed specifics or, like most accountants I know, pay for specialist rescouces like CCH or Tolleys, you can then justify charging a client £100 an hour in telling them what the current VAT threshold is.

I'm off, some of you lot need something important to moan about.

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By petersaxton
31st Oct 2014 14:08

Because HMRC would have less work to do

“ if it's that bad write to your MP.”

I don’t think that is a very effective way of improving HMRCs website.

“I didn't say the site was "only" for non-accountants (put your glasses on) neither did I suggest Accountants shouldn't use it (silly), I'm on it most days, but it does make me chuckle when I read that HMRC should write a site specifically for accountants, your cheek is bulging with all that tongue!”

Well, I would suggest you are changing your tune after saying: “it's certainly easier for Jo Public to use the basic guidance and, don't forget, that's who it's designed for (we're supposed to know it all!).” If HMRC want to design a website for non-accountants (correction: “MAINLY for non-0accountants) then what is wrong with designing a website for accountants as well as HMRC seem to want taxpayers to use agents and so reduce their own workload.?

“The site is for the public I don't think anyone can argue with that, and some of that public, may be accountants, in which case they can seek out the manuals or VAT notices that handle the detailed specifics or, like most accountants I know, pay for specialist rescouces like CCH or Tolleys, you can then justify charging a client £100 an hour in telling them what the current VAT threshold is.”

I don’t think anybody is suggesting charging a client £100 per hour to tell them what the current VAT threshold is. That information is in the dumbed down gov.uk site. You won’t convince anybody by using a “straw man” argument.

I have access to books and paid for online resources but it would be sensible for HMRC to provide easy to access information for the middle ground between very basic and complex situations.

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By petersaxton
31st Oct 2014 18:32

Specialist resources

Maybe one or a few more people think that accountants need specialist online resources. I still think that HMRC should have a logical and comprehensive website of the rules that they expect business to follow. I don't think they do that with gov.uk.

I also don't think it's fair to raise barriers to entry for new entrants to accountancy practice. Accountants who are starting out or doing a small amount of work shouldn't have to spend considerable sums paying for online resources for relatively basic information.

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By petersaxton
01st Nov 2014 09:26

Conversations with HMRC

Agent: Tolleys says XXX

HMRC: Tolleys is wrong

OR

Agent: HMRC website says XXX

HMRC: HMRC is wrong - wait, I can't say that!

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By MarkKing
03rd Nov 2014 12:23

It takes twice as long to find anything

I think it's pretty terrible. I was looking up some obscure VAT matters last week (or at least obscure for me) and it took ages to find anything.

I needed a VAT600FRS, checked our files and found a very old form. Knowing HMRC sometimes reject old forms I thought I'd double check on the HMRC website. Navigate to the usual place and hit VAT, end up on Govt website. Bad start. Easy enough to find Flat Rate, no worries. Join scheme -> VAT600FRS and we're back on the old HMRC website. Click on the form expecting a pdf and get a "beta" webform to fill in. I don't want to fill it in. I want the form to send it to a client for them to do it, I don't have the information to complete this now. The Govt website sends you to get a form that there!

Turns out my 2010 form is the "current" version but that took long enough to work out. If you're going to trial a new beta webform you should accept it might not always work or be suitable to the circumstances and still provide easy access to the form.

The whole transition is a mess of incomplete information that bounces you all over the place.

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Morph
By kevinringer
03rd Nov 2014 13:42

I hate GOV.UK

I am a massive user of hmrc.gov.uk. It has its problems (mainly search engine) but at least presentation is good. GOV.UK is awful with its in-your-face font. Gone are the useful links on the banners and sides from hmrc.gov.uk and instead the page is occupied with rubbish and spin. Compare www.hmrc.gov.uk/news/online-services-changes.htm with the same announcement at https://taxagents.blog.gov.uk/2014/04/16/new-look-for-hmrc-online-services/. The tiny announcement on hmrc.gov.uk becomes bloated with unnecessary rubbish on GOV.UK.

 

 

 

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By petersaxton
03rd Nov 2014 13:46

Opportunity

They had an opportunity to revise the website to do it properly. They could easily review how subjects could be split sensibly and offer online forms as well as appropriate pdfs.

I think it's more likely to have been cobbled together to beat a deadline rather than any thought being given to what users need.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
03rd Nov 2014 13:46

Beta forms

The beta forms are the worst idea ever.

They split even relatively simple forms over several web pages, and won't let you progress from page to page unless you complete everything. It would appear that the days of helping clients by part-completing forms, marking the blanks where you need information from them, are gone. Possibly justified for submitting online, but not when you have to print off a form for posting at the end.

I have found putting a full stop works for many entries (as the form registers an entry but the box appears blank on the final version) but we should not have to do that.

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By LH
03rd Nov 2014 14:31

regards the BETA forms

we in the LITRG have tried to tell HMRC the same points you raise - no resolution yet!

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By poysel
03rd Nov 2014 15:14

National Archives

If like me you have lots of links to the HMRC website in your favourites you could try to find the archived version of the page. To do this you just add the national archives pre-fix (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/) to the old HMRC url (remove the http:\\www. from the HMRC url).

For example, if you want to look for the old guidance on P46(Car) and your url was http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/exb/overview/P46car.htm then this becomes http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/hmrc.gov.uk/paye/exb/overview/P46car.htm

It doesn't always work, but it might be worth a try. Obviously the guidance that has been archived will not be updated, but it can help if you want to see what HMRC said before and then try and find something to back it up on GOV.UK.

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By North East Accountant
04th Nov 2014 08:15

Change for changes sake

It gives the illusion that they are doing something and keeps goodness knows how many civil servants in a job. Nothing wrong with .hmrc.gov.uk so lets change it and make it worse. Waste of money.

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Morph
By kevinringer
04th Nov 2014 09:00

Is anyone from HMRC following this thread?

Does anyone from GOV.UK take any notice of the blog posts? I guess the answer is no because despite the large number of negative comments HMRC is pushing on with the switch.

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