Accountants looking to file returns or update other client tax information via HMRC Online will have to do it by 5pm on Friday 11 September or wait until 9am next Monday morning.
Most of HMRC’s online services for business customers will be unavailable, nor will they be able to respond to commercial tax software packages, the department confirmed to AccountingWEB.
A closer look at HMRC’s service availability page shows that the downtime will affect elements of the Agent Services Account, anti-money laundering, charities, pensions, inheritance tax, and gambling tax services. PAYE Online appears to be unaffected.
“Over this coming weekend we’ll be moving to cloud-hosting our enterprise tax management platform (ETMP), home to our services for business customers, and some of our internal corporate services such as finance and HR,” the department said.
“We are not making changes to any of the services that customers use so they will not look any different after the work is complete. We’ve chosen this weekend carefully to minimise disruption to customers, avoiding any business peaks.”
As HMRC indicated, September is a fairly quiet time in the compliance calendar and the weekend maintenance break has become something of a tradition at this time of year as the department implements its long-term plan to migrate around 600 legacy systems to Crown Hosting data centres and cloud services running on Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
Long-term technology migration
In the Securing our Technical Future programme document published in February, HMRC chief executive Jim Harra explained, “This is a five-year programme to secure the technical future of HMRC’s IT services by removing technical debt, reducing reliance on non-government owned data centres, and migrating eligible services to cloud.”
Under the original timetable, the migration project was organised according to agile development principles and divided into seven annual “sprints” due for completion by June 2022.
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