I have been trying to submit an EU refund claim since yesterday morning. The deadline is today with no right of appeal apparently.
I know the client should have sent me her info before this but despite my nagging she didnt. Now I find I cant submit. I thought it was me and I'd done something wrong but after what seemed an age this appeared:
'Some of HMRC's Digital Services are currently down for maintenance'.
I checked... nothing was shown under their published pages of planned downtime and there has been nothing on this site either. Then I found this...
"Great - still not working. Maintenance is rubbish. I was on the phone to online services when it first crashed yesterday afternoon and they knew nothing about it! This long for an official government website with no explanation is why HMRC is not trusted to manage quarterly reporting..."
I went on HMRC's Twitter account and found that I was definitely not alone. I asked whether any penalties levied for non submission of VAT returns in particular would be cancelled and received a standard response that you may (not the word... 'may') be able to appeal.
>>This unexpected downtime needs to be investigated. Someone from the professional bodies must take this up with HMRC (Tony Margaritelli - are you out there?) even submit a 'Freedom of Information' request. Not only into why this has happened but also into HMRC's response time. Its just not good enough.
The first thought (after 'oh no...I cant submit!') was about MTD. Yet more proof that HMRC's sysems cant and wont be able to cope. Word on the grapevine is that HMRC's contracted IT people are leaving in droves as a result of the new IR35 rules for government contracting companies. Possibly this is the result?
I asked in my Tweet whether the systems had been hacked = no response.
Jennifer Adams is Consulting Editor of AccountingWEB and is a professional business author specialising in corporate governance and taxation. She runs her own accounting and consultancy business with offices based in Surrey and Dorset.