I work in the Tax Office in Dublin - our system is quite similar to the U.K. one, as we inherited the whole thing when the British left our country.
But I think the backlogs in Britain are even worse than our place.
Sometimes people pay accountants to do the returns, and its often not necessary. In fact, sometimes the accountants can provide additional information which wasn't requested by 'Revenue', but which results in the taxpayer having to pay more tax!
I never passed a maths exam, so it's quite comical that the Civil Service assigned me to a position where I calculate people's liability!
I'd (obviously) love to do an exchange with an Inland Revenue employee in London for a month or so.... I'd be quite happy to file for England - nothing too taxing, you understand..
I have nothing but praise for my accountant, Colin Mason of Mason Dharsi. Does a lot of small business accounts, is really knowledgeable on a whole range of stuff, is organised, strong on the reminders to get stuff in on time, not too expensive and nice to boot.
How many more positives can you say about an accountant. He is based in East Croydon, and his number is 020 8686 5283.
If you speak to him suggest he gives me a discount!
PS. TLMJJ, good luck. I once went seven years without filing a return in the good old days when they did not fine you. That was a catch up! I needed to have a baby and maternity leave in order to do so.
I do PAYE and have no income apart from work, so it was really very simple to do in the end - I don't know why I put off doing it for 10 months! Though, equally, I don't know why they sent one to me in the first place! Still, it's done now...