Inland Revenue screws up on Y2K, taxpayers hurt

One week to go but quill pens still in use

A Welsh branch of the UK's income tax assessment and collection agency has screwed up by sending thousands of tax demands to individuals dated January 1900. Accountant trade title Accountancy Age reported the cock up at the end of last week, and said over 4,000 tax returns bearing the date 4 January 1900 were sent out to would-be taxpayers. Inland Revenue sent out the false notices from its Wrexham regional office, just a week before UK tax punters are due to get a £100 fine if they don't get their returns back on time. The Accy Age news story does not take into account thousands of self-assessment notices sent out, in duplicate, triplicate or even quintuplicate to punters across the nation. While the UK government will not say exactly which computer systems are used to calculate and send out notices, we understand that many tax records are now held out of the country, in the USA. Those changes happened in the dog days of the Tory Party. And just to show that sometimes these problems affect even innocent hacks like ourselves, one Register staffer received a form from Inland Revenue telling him that he had until the end of this month to pay what was due. The direct debit form at the bottom showed that absolutely nothing was due. Penalties for people who have waited 100 years to file their tax returns are likely to be swingeing. For the last week and a half, Inland Revenue has run a series of adverts on British TV warning UK tax payers that they will have to stump up £100 in fines if they don't stump up what they're due to pay. ®

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