Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

HMRC Online Fail

with 3 comments

I don’t usually feel compelled to draw attention to a website that is so undeniably stupid that whomever is responsible deserves to be sent away to join the circus but when that website is provided by your own government and said website is preventing me from paying the taxes that I am legally obliged to pay then I feel duty bound to point it out.

That was the situation today when I logged on to Her Majesty’s Customs & Revenue (HMRC) online service at https://online.hmrc.gov.uk to pay my quarterly tax return. I was prompted to enter answers to some shared secrets in order that my identity could be proven in the future; upon entering those answers here is what I was presented with (note that I have changed the answers to protect my privacy but the problem is still the same):


Let’s review exactly what is wrong here. I am required to supply answers that contain both letters and numbers:


But here’s the thing. The names of my first and last school do not actually have any numbers in them. Do you understand that HMRC? Your stupid rules prevent me from truthfully answering your questions. Hence I have the option of either (a) making up fake answers to those questions (which negates the point of having them in the first place) or (b) not paying my tax return. I am assuming that (b) might be considered a tad naughty (some might say illegal) therefore what choice do I have?

I will inform HMRC by linking to this blog post and hopefully someone with an ounce of intelligence might be able to fix it. Watch this space!



Written by Jamiet

February 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Oh dear! Looks like somebody didn’t test its usability. What will you do now Jamie? Can you get in touch with them and let them know about this?


    February 7, 2010 at 5:46 am

  2. Jamie all I can say is its nice to know that the US Govt. isn’t alone in its stupidity… of course ours if proably way in the lead with "Stupid is as Stupid Does"..


    February 7, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  3. yeah, I just filled out the self assessment tax return. Fck me. I wish I could attach a screen shot of one of the utterly criminal usability flaws:
    There is a next button bottom left of most of the forms which takes you to the next section. Above this is a link “delete this section”. It is written in green and has a right arrow. Because of it’s position after the form and superior to the next button and colour, I scanned it, assuming it must take me to the next section. The next section was a paragraph of text, and a confirm and cancel button. I didnt read the text and clicked directly on ‘confirm’ and ended up deleting an entire section by accident. basic design errors.


    January 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

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