Tax website crash as deadline nears

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Taxpayers who tried to file returns online in time for a self-assessment deadline on Tuesday have been thwarted by technical problems with the Inland Revenue website over Christmas.

A technical fault on Christmas Eve crashed the Inland Revenue site for most of that afternoon. The problem was fixed, only for the website to go down again for "essential maintenance" a few hours later, the Inland Revenue admitted yesterday.

It said it had undertaken maintenance because, it claimed, few people use the site over Christmas. However, 30 December is one of seven Inland Revenue deadlines for "completing and sending back" tax returns.

One user said: "I tried to file my tax return on Christmas Eve. It took an hour to get on to the site. Then it crashed twice. When I raised it with my tax office, they denied there was a problem.

"When I persisted, they admitted there was one. They promised to ring back but didn't, then there was a recorded message that they had all gone home for Christmas and wouldn't be back till Monday."

An Inland Revenue spokesman said yesterday: "There's never an ideal time." He said the site had been down for a few hours and was now working. Yet when this newspaper tried to access the section for filing tax returns yesterday, it was unable to do so.

'The Independent on Sunday' would like to hear from readers who have had problems filing tax returns online. Email sundaynews@independent.co.uk

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