HMRC IT leaves 35 million cases for manual processing

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Issues with Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs (HMRC) IT system has left 35 million tax cases to be manually processed, it was confirmed today.

Due to delays in one new IT system, open cases more than doubled in between 2008 and 2009 from figures in 2007 and 2008 of 16.2 million.

The figures were confirmed in the Government Treasury Select Committee's latest report, which also questioned statements from the HMRC on how well it had implemented new technology.

"Against this background, we were surprised to see HMRC declare in its Annual Report that 'HMRC has been hailed as a shining example of how to use technology to take government services to a new level'," it said.

However, the report also confirmed that the chief executive of HMRC, Lesley Strathie, was "bullish about HMRC's IT progress" and was focusing particularly on new supplier agreements that she claimed would "significantly reduce cost for department over the coming years."

The HMRC claimed 92 of its systems were critical to its operations. However, the committee said that progress had been "uneven" in improving them regardless of "substantial investment."

This is not the first time this year HMRC's IT systems have come under fire. In February, anonymous members of staff claimed the new system to generate tax codes could not be trusted and in some cases was creating the wrong ones, leading to people paying more than they should.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.