HMRC have devised the worst online system imaginable


As many visitors to my amazing website know, i have to submit a self assessment return every year to HMRC. And every year I have to return to the hell on earth that is the HMRC submission website.

I also work as a User Experience consultant (UX) so this post is framed very much with that in mind.

Anyway, lets continue with the post (which may contain some sweary prose)

It’s hard to put into words how terrible the whole business process is, but let’s have a go:

1)Go to email to retrieve login ID

2) Login

3) Find out you are not enrolled for self assessment and be all like WTF

4) Try to enroll but discover you need tax ref (UTR) which you don’t have to hand

5) Phone technical help who give you a number to call

6) Call new number, hold for 15 minutes who then tell you they can’t tell you your UTR over the phone and that you should call the number you called in the first place

7) Hit something

8) Return to the office on a Saturday armed with UTR

9) Login, enroll for self assessment


10) Get an error message AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

11) Phone technical help again, hold for 15 minutes.

12) Get told I’m logged into the wrong account WTF and that I am enrolled for self assessment but on another user ID. Think to yourself ‘why the FUCK can’t I just have one account tied to my UTR?’

13) Get told they can send me the right ID by post but this will take between 2 and 10 days AHAHAHAHA and that I can ‘have a shot at the password’ and if I get it wrong 3 times I can request a new one which will be sent out via post also WHY THE FUCK CANT YOU SEND THE PASSWORD OUT WITH THE ID THEN?

14) Cry into keyboard


Here’s a better solution:

1) Go to website

2) Provide a few security details to identify yourself

3) Go to self assessment form which you can easily select from a list

4) Fill it out

Or even:

1) Get the paper form

2) Fill it out

3) Cry at technology



Lost passwords and lost IDs are huge problems and some of the biggest reasons companies lose millions of pounds each year through needless administration costs. In this example, this issue was amplified because some genius thought it would be a good idea for a user to be able to create multiple accounts tied to the same UTR and then force the user to enroll for specific services which are not carried over to all accounts using that UTR. Surely a far easier solution would be to make all services available in one centralised, verified account?

Anyway, rant over. What do you think? Think I should keep my IDs and UTRs and passwords in better order and this is partly my fault? Yes maybe. Think IT contractors that work for the government should be shot? Think that passwords sent out by post are less secure? You do? ME TOO!!!

I’m on twitter saying more about this and Japanese rock music and occasionally food.

Malaysia Day 11 And 12


Day 11IMG_2779[1]

So me and GF were in Langkawi and were all like “What shall we do today” when we saw this amazingly professional advert for a ‘Bad Cave Exploration’ and I was all like “what the hell is a bad cave exploration?” and my GF was all like “maybe the bats turn out to be flesh-eating monsters, never satiated until the last drop of human blood has been spilled” and I was all like “nah, it would be like that James Cameron film where they go to explore some caves and it rains and the caves get flooded and most of them die” . Read the rest of this entry