With just four and a half days to go until the tax return deadline, the Inland Revenue is expecting a bumper year in terms of people completing their self assessment forms online. As of 17 January, the Revenue has had 895,000 forms completed via its website - it passed last year's total about three weeks ago.
However, The Register has heard reports that the self assessment section of the site is struggling to deal with the numbers of people trying to beat the deadline. A reader writes:
Their website is running *extremely* slowly ( pages take minutes to load, or completely fail to load). The affected sections are the dynamic forms for entering self-assessment data - the static sections of the site are fine.
The telephone helpline says it's a known issue, that the hardware and software is 'fine', and they hope it'll be better tomorrow... they're saying they couldn't be expected to know there would be such a large peak in demand in the final week...
The Register put this to the Inland Revenue, and were put gently in their place by a jolly spokesman. "We certainly do expect a peak in demand at this time of year," he said. "The site is certainly getting a lot of hits. There is a huge amount of flow across the site, and it will only get heavier, but as far as we are concerned, it is performing perfectly well.”
"What I would say is that people should try to file their returns early in the morning or late in the evening, not peak hours. It will certainly work faster then."
The moral of the story? 02:00 is a good time to file your forms. Who said tax didn't have to be taxing...now pass the coffee...