Self assessment pre-population API performance

How is it performing this time around?

Didn't find your answer?

Greetings one and all, I hope everyone's January is... bearable?

I'm following up on a couple of reports about the performance of HMRC's self assessment pre-population API and was wondering if anyone had seen a noticeable change this year. Is its performance noticeably better or worse than in previous years? And if so, are there any specific areas where its performance has changed?

Many thanks as always,


Replies (11)

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By Catherine Newman
24th Jan 2023 17:30

It is non-existent and has held me up on numerous cases. I could have done returns in weekends but nothing comes down.

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By rmillaree
24th Jan 2023 17:38

Hello Tom

Can i check that you aware of the new Income Record viewer - thats the dogs bottles for clients who are able to authorise us via their gateway - as ever hmrc have totally shafted us as authorised agents as we can only access the new top banana viewer info where clients can get access to gateway and authorise us - no mean feet for half our clients.

Whats the point of having hmrc authorisation process if they cant be arsed to link agents to new features they add so its seemless. Yet again agents are treated like scum - just loko at the snotty message we get when we ring up hmrc this month.

Ref api data no change to what is a p poor system considering all the dogs bells data is viewable at the click of a button on then income viewer if we can gain access.

Its exactly the same gripes as before

Half the time hmrc dont know their employment income from their pension income.

The facility cant cope with negative numbers - where client has a tax refund added to salary the sytem expects nil and pleaeds you to remove the correct refund details.

Loads of clients pay no tax - for every one of them i am left thinking is this a real zero or a fake zero ?

Plenty of clients who we dont get data for where we would expect data.

The only slight plus pointn is that it does seem to be all of nothing - so presuming we get soem employmnetn data it is reasonably good at bringing everything through - i would hate it if it brouight some through and not others for each client - albeit sometimes i would take anything compared to nowt.

Yes so an abject failure on hmrc's part to give us anything like what is fit for purpose on api system - are they phasing out to link up to new ssytem that actually works - i supect it didnt even cross their minds that corerct data rather than crapola dats is what we would like to have on our api's

madness plus unless they have planty to make it work next year.

Can someone in hmrc stand up and apologise for what a mess they have made of something that should have been game changing on the positive side.

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Replying to rmillaree:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
24th Jan 2023 17:51

If you drew a Venn diagram "able to activate income viewer" and "needs the data from income viewer" he two circles would barely overlap.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
24th Jan 2023 17:44

Its worse than ever in my view.

it was very late being turned on this year. September?? So well over half the tax season gone before it was even active.

Even now its at best 30%-40% populated, and frequently returns employer name with no figures and has data missing.

I think HMRC have given up on it.

If it worked it would cut out a large number of errors, eg P11D data the client swears that don't have, the extra job on the side they forgot about etc etc etc. This would in turn dramatically reduce the work HMRC end in amending returns based on their standing data.

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By Hugo Fair
24th Jan 2023 18:35

More of a general gripe than a direct response to your question, Tom, but the central problem remains ... in that HMRC seem oblivious to the concept of unknown unknowns.

To be clear ... if the API returns an unknown %age of the relevant data items, then it is saving no time at all for those 'filling' a form.
And it gets worse - if the 'missing' data items are different for different taxpayers (seemingly randomly), let alone if some of the data appears to be wrong (or at least in the wrong category), then considerably MORE time is expended trying to double-check everything than if you started with a simple blank form.

It is one of the clearest examples of where HMRC's lack of practical experience leads them to think that, say, 80% accuracy is an improvement in efficiency rather than an additional barrier to the existing methods. It really has to be *very* near to 100% accurate & reliable to be of any practical use.

FWIW, this blind spot is not restricted to HMRC ... it runs throughout the 'thinking' of most of Whitehall.
The next major victim/failure, for the same reason, will be the Pensions Dashboard project - which is already way behind its political schedule but, despite well known major holes in the specification, is scheduled to be rolled out via series of incomplete (and sometimes incompatible) releases.
My prediction is that as soon as the first members of the public find that the data is an unquantifiable mix of incomplete & incorrect data, the dashboard will suffer a terminal decline in reputation - and hence subsequent usage.

[If any of the above seems redolent of, say, MTD ... then I couldn't possibly comment]!

Thanks (3)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
By rmillaree
24th Jan 2023 18:40

There is hope here though Hugo Fair - the new income viewer record is everything that the curent api data is not - the obvius question is why are they not already using that much enhanced info as the api data rather than the crapola we do get.

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By Winnie Wiggleroom
24th Jan 2023 20:39

H&W company, same pay, same payroll, one there one not - how does that work?

The data is very helpful when its there but it cannot be relied upon.

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By ABC12
24th Jan 2023 22:22

It's not improved at all over time. You toss a coin and takes your chance

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By Duggimon
25th Jan 2023 09:16

It's been brilliant for getting the SEISS figures for everyone and utterly terrible at more or less everything else.

If figures come through wrong even once for a single client then you have to check every time rendering the whole thing pointless. As a system it has to be 100% accurate and reliable, otherwise it's unreasonable to rely on it and we're on the hook for incorrectly filed returns.

There's several clients for whom we do the payroll and I can cross check with the P60s and it just doesn't match at all, so it's manual entry all the way for me.

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Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
25th Jan 2023 14:31

I think Mr Gattuso sums up it's performance perfectly:

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Replying to Lone_Wolf:
By Catherine Newman
25th Jan 2023 14:56

That's so funny.

I have just run the API for a BT pensioner. No surprise here-nothing, nothing at all.

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