Are you doing your VAT online? Alvin Wilkinson isn't. A bit of a reactionary is Alvin. No computer, no epos, no mobile phone. But his store, Countdown in Hornsea, Yorkshire, does very nicely thank you and he pays his considerable VAT on time. Or used to.

Then he got a letter in July telling him it was online from now on. Hmm. He rang them and said can't do that and they said okay, we can send you a sort of paying-in book and you pay over the counter at your local bank.

The paying-in slips didn't arrive in time and Alvin discovered that his bank, Alliance and Leicester at the Post Office, didn't do this service anyway. He went to his accountant who said he could set up a system to do it electronically for £80 (and £50 thereafter). He rang the VAT office again to explain and the VAT lady said oh, you can just send a cheque.

"They were very nice and friendly, but it defeats the purpose," says Alvin. "I could have done that all along. Now I have to ring up to find out how much VAT I owe and then send a cheque."

I wonder how many have found this new system doesn't suit. Authority is pushing everyone online. Trust me, there will be a traffic jam and crashes.