Revenue rues computer crash

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There were red faces at the Revenue as a computer failure on tax-return deadline day led to thousands of people being unable to file online.

The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) self- assessment site crashed around 10am on Thursday, hours before the deadline expired for up to nine million taxpayers to file their returns. "It has been working fine all along and then on the big day it goes and crashes," said an exasperated HMRC official.

Although the Revenue said the website had returned to normal by late afternoon on Thursday, it opted to extend the self-assessment deadline by 24 hours.

"HMRC takes any disruption of service seriously and, to reflect this, no one who files electronically or by paper by midnight on Friday 1 February will face a penalty. We very much regret any inconvenience this may have caused," it said.

The crashing of the website on deadline day was particularly embarrassing for HMRC as it is keen to get more people to file their returns online.

More than 900,000 taxpayers are expected to have missed the new 1 February deadline, and the vast majority will have to pay an automatic £100 penalty.

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