As all accountants dealing with tax returns know, 31 January falls on a Sunday this year, so the last couple of days before the filing deadline will be a long weekend haul.
HMRC has published details of support available to agents from the Online Services Helpdesk during the weekend of 30 and 31 January.
Normally weekends are reserved for carrying out essential maintenance on computer systems, and this is particularly important when the volume of returns being received is so high – HMRC is predicting that around 2 million returns will be filed online this week. Clearly, it would be inappropriate to have system downtime in the last week of January, but the volume of returns and the unavoidable maintenance work means that there will be constraints on the help that the Online Services Helpdesk can provide next weekend.
HMRC has advised agents that a full service will be available from the Helpdesk between 08.00 and 16.30 on Saturday 30 January, and between 08.00 and 20.00 on Sunday 31 January. Weekend hours are normally 8.00 to 16.30 on Saturday and no service on Sunday.
Outside of the hours stated above, the Helpdesk will not have access to the self assessment computer system, and so will not be able to provide any client specific information, as they will be unable to verify agent relationships, or indeed access much of the client specific information that you may be asking for. The service will be able to assist with general online filing problems which are not client specific.
What you should do
As far as possible review outstanding work to check what information you may need from Online services and plan ahead
Bear in mind when working over the weekend when you will be able to get client specific help if you need it
Rebecca trained in London with Kidsons and, on qualifying, spent some time as Chief Accountant of a manufacturing company. She now has her own small practice in Gloucestershire that comprises of owner managed businesses and small companies.
She also lectures extensively for a range of professional bodies, accountancy firms,...