Inland Revenue’s self-assessment system back on-line

Out-Law News | 08 Jul 2002 | 12:00 am |

The Inland Revenue’s on-line self-assessment service that allows taxpayers to file returns is running again. The service was suspended two months ago due to security concerns, when users found that they could access other taxpayers’ data on the Revenue’s site.

The Inland Revenue conducted an investigation and found that the problem was created by session cookies which left the users vulnerable. The Revenue claims that only 47 of 27,967 taxpayers that used the service since April 2002 had their details compromised.

In a notification posted on its web site, the department expressed its regrets for the incident. The notification included the following statement: “We hope our thorough and independently endorsed investigation will give our customers confidence about using the service in the future.”

The Revenue has launched a similar on-line service for corporate tax returns, that will be available in November. A spokeswoman for the department said: “I can understand if this has raised concerns for businesses. However, it is highly unlikely we will have any security problems.”

Last month, the Revenue was also forced to suspend plans to communicate with millions of taxpayers by e-mail, after a trial involving 300 employees found that serious issues regarding the security of confidential information needed to be addressed.