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Online Services update to go ahead

October 17, 2013


A scheduled update to HMRC’s online services which was postponed last week is due to go ahead this weekend.  The IT systems upgrade was originally due to have taken place between Friday the 11th of October and Monday the 14th of October but was postponed because HMRC tests showed that the upgrade would not have been finished by Monday.

HMRC said at the time last week’s postponement was announced that:

Whenever we undertake maintenance work we run rigorous tests beforehand.  When these checks were completed, we discovered that there was a problem and that part of the upgrade wouldn’t have been complete by Monday morning.

In a statement on the CIOT website, Mark Dearnley, the Chief Digital and Information Officer at HMRC, said “My team had been working hard to resolve the issues” which caused the delay to the upgrade, and that “a number of the changes we need to make are time critical and so we have to run the upgrade this weekend.  I recognise that this does not give you much time to prepare for the system being down and I apologise for the short notice and added inconvenience.”

Dearnley’s acknowledgement of the urgency of the upgrade appears to confirm HMRC will launch its Generic Notifications Service with this IT upgrade although there has been no direct confirmation of this from HMRC.

HMRC’s ‘What’s new’ page states that this weekend’s online services outage has been reduced to an absolute minimum in order to reduce the impact on users, and will run from 8pm on Friday to 3pm on Saturday, reducing the total outage time to less than 24 hours.  Other HMRC online services are similarly affected like the CIS, Construction Industry Scheme which will be unavailable for longer. HMRC’s ‘Service Availability’ pages have also been updated to reflect the planned downtime, and contain further information which services will be affected and the duration of service interruptions.

The service availability page for PAYE states that HMRC online forms and returns will be unavailable for the whole weekend – between 20:00 on Friday the 18 and 07:00 on Monday 21 October.  Employers and agents will still be able to submit RTI returns during this period but they will not receive online acknowledgement of submissions in the same submission session.  Employers should not try to re-submit their RTI reports, but should wait to receive acknowledgements, which HMRC say should be sent by Tuesday the 22 of October.  Employers will also not be able to view the details of Direct Debit mandates created during the online services outage until 07:30 on Monday.

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