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Web overload hits pension returns

Providers have criticised online pension scheme returns as a waste of time after the HM Revenue & Customs website crashed just before the deadline.

The system was overloaded on January 31 as millions of people tried to file their self-assessment tax returns at the same time as returns from self-invested personal pensions and small self-administered schemes were due to HMRC.

The Pal Partnership business development director Richard Mattison says his staff had been working at weekends to get scheme returns filed by the deadline because the website was so slow.

Mattison says: “I am annoyed because when A-Day rules were announced, pension scheme returns were going to be requested from only a sample of cases each year. Now it is from every SSAS and Sipp in the country, which seems completely unreasonable.

“A lot of the information they requested was meaningless. This is just one example of pension simplification being an abject failure.”

IPS Pensions managing director Rupert Curtis says: “It was a complete disaster. There is a lot of frustration in the industry as to why HMRC wants this information.”

Rowanmoor Pensions managing director Ian Hammond says: “The whole scheme returns issue has been rather time wasteful, with HMRC requesting information that is not necessarily relevant. But we knew about having to complete the returns a good few months ago so people should have started earlier.”

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