HM Revenue & Customs has missed a deadline for responding to MPs who slammed plans to digitise the tax system.
It comes as millions of people rush to meet this week’s cut-off for filling in their self-assessment tax returns. Failure to do so means a £100 fine.
In a damning report, the Public Accounts Committee hit out at the tax office for ‘repeated failures’ that have led to its new online service being bogged down in delays and cost overruns.
Missed the boat: HMRC has missed a deadline to respond to complaints about plans to digitise its tax system
HMRC was due to reply within two months of the report being published, but – embarrassingly for the tax authorities – that deadline passed last week without an update.
MPs noted that the Making Tax Digital programme, which VAT registered businesses have used since 2022, will not be extended to self-assessment taxpayers until 2026 – eight years later than planned.
HMRC was also criticised because the new service is costing £1billion more than expected.
Committee chair Dame Meg Hillier said she was concerned that HMRC was ‘succeeding in making tax difficult’ instead of digital.
She added that it was ‘utterly extraordinary’ that HMRC had failed to reveal costs of more than £2billion that would be borne by taxpayers when it pushed for investment in the programme.
HMRC says the new system will cut fraud and tax evasion, saving the taxpayer billions.
A Treasury source said the deadline had ‘some flexibility’ and had been extended by ‘a few weeks’.