but I wish I’d asked them what prompted the “courtesy calls” in the first place -having ranted to dad and to Robert, I’m sure that that in itself indicates that they know that the problem is their end.
Anyway… read on dear reader….
DELIVERED BY HAND 31 January 2003
30 January 2002
Inland Revenue Tax Return y/e 05 April 2002
I have just spoken to Mrs Deening on your 0845 30003950 number returning a missed call I received from that number on 29 and 30 January 2003.
She informed me that the Inland Revenue has no record of my tax return being made.
I enclose a print out of the PDF of my tax return.
I completed and submitted my tax return using the Inland Revenue’s online facility on 12 August 2002. At the end of this letter you will find a screen shot showing the date the PDF was last modified as being 12 August 2002, indicating that I must have downloaded the PDF and hence submitted my tax return via your online filing facility on or before that date.
Consequently, I do not expect any penalties to be imposed for late delivery. I do expect my tax to be calculated for me.
I am appalled that the first attempt the Inland Revenue made to notify me of its problem was 29 January – 2 days before the 31 January deadline.
I am appalled that Mrs Deening was only able to tell me what the missed calls related to after I’d been able to provide either my UTR or NI number – bearing in mind I had no idea what the Inland Revenue might be calling me about.
Given the date of the IR’s attempts to call me and the deadline date, I am appalled that all Mrs Deening was able to recommend was that I take my Return by hand to one of the IR offices, and that emailing the PDF was not an option.
I was appalled that all Mrs Deening had turn to to find out a tax office where I might hand deliver the Return was a list of IR locations in London, with no means of identifying locations by way of postcode or other indicator which both she and I would understand.
A few questions which I am asking myself as a result of this experience and which I believe the Inland Revenue needs to think about:
* What if I had not returned the missed calls?
* What if I had not opted to keep a PDF copy of my return or no longer had access to it?
* What if I had been out of the country?
But most importantly, how it possible for the Inland Revenue to run an online filing service which does not work, and yet to promote it so heavily, by direct mail and by advertising? As fas as I am concerned, I submitted my Return, online, on 12 August 2002. The home page of the Inland Revenue website proclaims that:
‘Internet Service for Self Assessment: Sending your tax return over the internet offers you automatic calculation of tax and faster repayments. It’s quick, convenient, and secure.’
As far as I am concerned use of this service has resulted in my personal and financial data disappearing into the ether and going goodness only knows where. And it has taken the Inland Revenue 4 and a half months to notice this.
The second screenshot at the end of this letter is of my website diary entry for 12 August 2002. You can guarantee next year I will be, with regret, using the tried and tested form filling and posting approach, leaving Inland Revenue staff to perform the mindless data rekeying, hopefully without error.
Cardiff CF4 5FX
Board of Inland Revenue
London WC2R 1LB