Accountants angry at HMRC’s latest iXBRL filing foul up

Online accountants who are transitioning to iXBRL electronic filing have come up against a closed door.

Corporation tax returns due for submission after 31st March 2011, will not be able to be filed through HMRC’s online portal until October. The Revenue says it has to update it software to take into account the reduction in the rate of corporation tax, but this will not happen until October.

The service availability notice from HMRC says the rate changes affect companies with accounting periods ending on or after the first of April, 2011. Companies that urgently need to file before October should contact the Revenue for further advice.

One accountant said it was crazy that HMRC forced people to file online only to admit that its systems were incapable of accepting online returns. Someone else said it was another sign of HMRC’s total lack of organisation.

Accounting software developers are also concerned by the delay and have to field calls from exasperated customers looking for support. BTC Software’s Andrew Ross said their 2011 CT Solutions packages are ready to be released, but whilst they perform the requisite calculations, users will be unable to submit their actual returns until HMRC updates its software. People who’ve taken the trouble to adopt iXBRL and efiling are not happy, he continued.

Yet again, HMRC has got it wrong. Changing systems that have worked efficiently in the past, and replacing them with something that has not been properly thought out, is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. And yet the Revenue doesn’t seem to learn from its mistakes.

Let’s hope that by the time real-time information comes into being, HMRC’s systems really can cope.

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