Feeds

Taxman wrongly fines 10,000 UK businesses

Oops

The next step in data security

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is once again in the firing line after leaked documents revealed a computer error led to 10,000 UK companies being fined incorrectly.

The fines of up to £400 were dished out during 2004/05 and concerned the completion of tax forms.

But documents leaked to Computer Weekly revealed that a "basic flaw in the design of automatic systems" led to the wrongful issue of penalty notices.

The HMRC documents said: "We would like to apologise to employers and affected agents for the inconvenience undoubtedly caused by an error in our systems. We recently discovered that approximately 10,000 employers received penalty notices for 2004-05 although no penalty is due. This came to light because of the welcome increase in online filing."

In a statement, HMRC told El Reg it "very much regrets any inconvenience caused".

"We are putting measures in place to prevent these problems arising again. No customer will be faced with paying more tax than is due or paying any penalty issued in error," it said.

But insiders are concerned this is yet further evidence that HMRC is unable to keep up with the scale and complexity of the UK's tax system.

Last week it emerged that crooks had made off with at least £15m after defrauding the tax credit system by making false claims in the name of job centre workers. The £15m estimate came when HMRC executive director, David Varney, appeared before the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee last Thursday.

He was there to answer questions from MPs about an attack on the revenue, which forced HMRC to shut down its tax credit portal website at the start of December after uncovering an attempt to defraud the system using the identities of Department of Work & Pensions staff. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.