Accounting practices currently filing client returns ahead of the 31 January tax return deadline have flagged a decline in the performance of HMRC’s self assessment (SA) pre-population application program interface (API) service, with several outages and a reduction in successful data retrievals compared with previous years.
“I ran the SA API for partners in three partnerships yesterday,” Kevin Ringer, partner at Harold Smith Chartered Accountants, told AccountingWEB. “In every case, the SA API downloaded for one partner but not the other. Two of the failed partners were employees, the other was on private pensions. I also did two sole traders with private pensions – they both failed too.”
“It’s worse than ever,” commented AccountingWEB member ireallyshouldknowthisbut yesterday. “Even now it’s at best 30%–40% populated and frequently returns employer name with no figures and has data missing.”
Referring to a husband and wife company client, member Winnie Wiggleroom added: “Same pay, same payroll, one [set of data] there, one not – how does that work? The data is very helpful when it’s there but it cannot be relied upon.”
“At this time of year, the APIs are crucial,” tax professional Catherine Newman told AccountingWEB. “Clients tell you the net figure when you need to know their P60 figures and the tax. The APIs worked for the first few years, but since then they’ve been unreliable and added time to an already time-consuming process.”