Daily Archives: October 22, 2008

Online tax returns^Werrors

Having recently struggled through my personal tax return, it appears the situation for small business tax returns is worse.  John went through the business of submitting WebThing’s return (for 2007), only to receive email a day later.  Anyone else seen this or similar, or have a clue about it?

This message has been generated in response to the company details
submitted to the Companies House Web-Filing Service on 21/10/2008.

Company number: 03427454
Company name: WEBTHING LIMITED

The annual accounts for the above company was rejected for the following reason(s):

INVALID STYLESHEET URL
XBRL.CORE.DTS.UNRESOLVABLEREFERENCEERROR: THE DOCUMENT AT ‘HTTP://WWW.COMPANIESHOUSE.GOV.UK/EF/XBRL/UK/FR/GAAP/PT/2004-12-01/UK-GAAP-PT-2004-12-01.XSD‘ WAS REFERENCED BY IMPORT ELEMENT WITH LITERAL VALUE ‘HTTP://WWW.XBRL.ORG/UK/FR/GAAP/PT/2004-12-01[../../PT/2004-12-01/UK-GAAP-PT-2004-12-01.XSD]’, BUT COULD NOT BE OBTAINED.
XBRL.CORE.DTS.UNRESOLVABLEREFERENCEERROR: THE DOCUMENT AT ‘HTTP://WWW.COMPANIESHOUSE.GOV.UK/EF/XBRL/UK/FR/GAAP/PT/2004-12-01/UK-GAAP-PT-2004-12-01-LABELS.XML‘ WAS REFERENCED BY LOC ELEMENT WITH LITERAL VALUE ‘../../PT/2004-12-01/UK-GAAP-PT-2004-12-01-LABELS.XML#UK-GAAP-PT_SHARESDIRECTOROREXECUTIVE_LBL_0’, BUT COULD NOT BE OBTAINED.
An attached XBRL account document contains pre-validation errors.
The accounts were originally received in Companies House within the period allowed.  The Registrar will not collect a civil penalty if the amended accounts arereceived in Companies House no later than 05/11/2008 and they are accepted for filing.

Examiner contact details – 029 2038 0929

The filing reference number is ******. Please quote this reference in any communication with Companies House concerning this transaction.

Thank you for visiting the Companies House Web site.

Service desk tel: 0870 333 3636 or e-mail:
enquiries@companieshouse.gov.uk

Yeah, right.  I´m techie enough to know what an .XSD is likely to be, and guess that it means something is malformed.  And that the error is internal to their system.  But what could be triggering it, in the context of a PDF where all John did was to fill some numbers and very simple text fields, I have no idea.  Neither, I suspect, has your typical small business beancounter submitting accounts online (as the government strongly encourage us to do).

I can speculate over possible causes of an error.  For example:

  • Does their system rely on some Windows quirk or bug, and choke on something like non-Windows line-ends?  Can´t see how that would arise in PDF, though, even if they have something dumb like bogus homebrew preprocessing.
  • Maybe it´s an error introduced by VAT?  Since I joined Sun in February, it´s clear that WebThing´s turnover for 2008 and the forseeable future will fall far below the VAT threshold, so we deregistered to save red tape.  But of course we were registered in 2007, so the tax return included it.  Could it be triggering inclusion of inconsistent templates?
  • Nothing so subtle – the system is just plain broken.
  • …. ?

No matter what the problem is, there´s absolutely no excuse to expose end-users to this kind of development error message beyond, at the worst, a beta test programme.  I wonder what bunch of overpaid incompetents were responsible for this one?  The Usual Culprits for public sector fuckups (EDS,  Accenture, …)?  AN Other?  WebThing could of course have done a better job for them, if contracts were awarded on technical competence rather than sharp suits and bullshit.

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