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UK taxmen slammed for tech glitches rampant on child benefits website

Putting the fault in digital by default

The UK government's new website intended to provide financial support for parents has been slammed for experiencing ongoing "technical" problems and outages, leaving parents unable to apply for tax-free support.

Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan has called for answers from HMRC over the performance of the HMRC-run Childcare Service website. The site was launched in April for two new government benefits: tax-free childcare and 30 hours' free childcare.

Morgan, who was appointed chair last month, said it appears that the Childcare Service helpline, for parents suffering problems with the website, is experiencing technical difficulties.

Morgan wrote to HMRC chief executive and permanent secretary Jon Thompson to ask for further information, including "the duration of outages, the number of complaints, and the number of people who have been unable to access their Childcare Service account."

She said: "It is concerning that some parents have struggled to apply for childcare funding due to technical issues with the government's Childcare Service website.

"To make matters worse, it appears that the Childcare Service helpline, for parents suffering problems with the website, is also experiencing technical difficulties."

The Register has asked HMRC for a comment.

HMRC's Digital Forms Service, intended to allow small businesses to submit returns online, has also been down for maintenance since the beginning of the week.

The service is intended to provide a digital replacement for all appropriate HMRC print and post forms, a key part of the department's Making Tax Digital programme. In total HMRC wants to transform 600 forms for DFS. ®

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