Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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Another MTD upgrade blip shuts down VAT online

As HMRC programmers add new features and capacity to the tax department's MTD platform, users may encounter occasional interruptions such as the one that struck on Monday 19 April.

21st Apr 2021
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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AccountingWEB members reporting that client data had vanished from their online PAYE dashboards raised the first hint of trouble that put HMRC’s MTD for VAT system out of action on Tuesday morning.

Around 9am, kathyk0410 posted in Any Answers: “Just logged onto the dashboard this morning - and all client accounts are showing as nil for all years. It was OK yesterday but this morning seems to have fallen over.”

Five other members reported similar experiences, with hrbs.biz adding at 10:31am: “Since approx 9am the IT problem has also affected MTD for VAT, so it may be a system wide issue.”

Formal notification arrived from HMRC’s API platform status alert at 10:47 confirming that the VAT MTD service was “currently unavailable” and the situation was under urgent investigation.

By 13:38, kathyk0410 was back to report, “All accounts now showing - a few clients would have preferred the nil liability!” and the MTD for VAT blockage also appeared to have cleared.

Apologies for inconvenience caused

An HMRC spokesperson told AccountingWEB: “There was an issue with the MTD VAT returns service and the Employers PAYE Online service yesterday and we worked to resolve the issues quickly to minimise interruption. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

"There was a minor technical issue affecting the MTD VAT returns service yesterday morning and customers using the PAYE online service also had either nil data or incorrect figures displayed for a short period. The issues were quickly identified, diagnosed and fixed within a few hours. The MTD returns service was shuttered during this period to minimise any customer impact."

As was the case when a March site upgrade destabilised the MTD platform, the latest episode appears to have resulted from further system enhancement work, but was resolved within a few hours rather than days.

When HMRC’s programmers go in to rectify problems in the underlying code, they will usually “shutter” any affected services to minimise the impact any faults have on site users.

The rogue or missing figures on PAYE online dashboards appears to have been a separate, unrelated software fault, which took on a life of its own.

At 16:01 on Tuesday, RogerMT commented: “I can now access my Agent's PAYE account, but the old Allocations and Payments section is no longer there! It seems HMRC have removed agents' access to clients' PAYE records.”

RogerMT’s fears were unfounded. By 11:29 on Thursday morning all the PAYE payments and allocations had been restored to the dashboard.

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