The UK's Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs computer problem saga continues.
Last June, I blogged about how at least 100,000 UK taxpayers would likely be paying too much tax in 2010 for a whole host of reasons including being placed in an incorrect tax bracket because of errors in the new HMRC computer system database.
The Revenue and Customs folks had been warned about this for quite some time, but blithely said that the new system was working as it should and was much more accurate than the previous tax system.
Well, a report in London Telegraph last week indicated that - as predicted - a whole lot of excess taxes were indeed paid: some £238 million worth in 2010. This was an increase from £96 million in 2009.
In addition, the Telegraph reported that £132 million in owed taxes were missed.
Nevertheless, a spokesperson for HM Revenue and Customs was quoted by the Telegraph as saying:
"The new system raises the bar in terms of data quality and will in the medium term significantly improve overall accuracy reducing both under and overpayments."
The exact height of the data quality bar was not given; nor what was meant by "medium term."
Given that the HMRC admits that it still has to reconcile some 18 million taxpayer cases, I don't think it means "soon."
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.