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Taxman profits from computer foul-up

Surplus £20m sloshing around may even help Andersen dodge the flying doo-doo

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As if fate were rubbing salt into the wounds of the OAP's whose pensions were delayed, £20 million has landed in the lap of the Inland Revenue, thanks to the well publicised balls-up involving the new National Insurance computer system. The extra interest on money that should have been paid out in benefits amounted to a massive £58 million. £38 million of that goes on compensation, but the remaining loot all stays with the taxman -- for now. A spokeswoman for the Revenue said that it was reviewing the case, and may pay out extra compensation from the windfall profits. Flying bacon? Possibly. But the best bit is yet to come… This new complication may actually help Andersen Consulting, the computer firm that installed the heavily criticised system, out of some hot water. The Public Accounts Committee was slammed the NIRS II system in a report released over the weekend. It said that Andersen should be forced to pay compensation to the Revenue. However, Andersen is expected to argue that it can only provide compensation for losses incurred as a result of problems with NIRS II. And as the Revenue is showing a profit on the whole affair there is no need for further compensation. Andersen has already paid out £3.9 million to the Revenue, and had its fees reduced by £1.5 million for the first year. ®

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