A quagmire of users IDs, tax references and passwords

NEWS COMMENT: Drop-in centre in north of city would ease pressure on QA

My taxes are looming over me ominously. It's not that I don't want to do my return, or that I have left it until the last minute. It's simply that the online service has got me in such a fix.

We've all got until January 31 to file online – if we weren't organised enough to do it by the paper deadline (that'll be my fault then for ignoring the 'please open immediately' instruction on the envelope).

Now that I have to do it online, I find myself totally lost in a quagmire of passwords, unique tax references and user IDs.

There are so many permutations of passwords which I don't have, can't remember or am just entering in the wrong way that I am about to incur the 100 penalty.

This is even though I am doing my best to make sure I get my return in on time.

Why is it that other sites, such as my bank, Amazon and eBay are so easy to use, yet the tax one is so infernally complicated?

It adds to the despair of people like me who are so numerically challenged they'd rather get the incorrect change at the fruit and veg stall in the market than try to keep up with the rapid-fire calculations.

Moira Stuart's smiling face on the ads is all very comforting and lovely. But she can't alter the fact that I've waited the allotted seven days for yet another password to come via the post and am still doomed.

It has got me no further forward than telling me I'm already registered but I have no services activated.

To add insult to injury Moira, or indeed anybody else, is not manning the help desk on a Sunday.

That's most unhelpfully shut on the day when many people do their administration, which seems grossly unfair.

It's not hard to guess that 99 per cent of the population will leave such an onerous task until the last couple of weeks. It's human nature.

So what will my self-assessment consist of? I'm guessing it'll be something along the lines of: Needs to open all envelopes which say 'please open immediately' – after paying the 100 fee for filing my tax return late.