Employers, payroll bureaux and accountants should now be conversant in submitting monthly or weekly payroll returns under HMRC’s new “Real Time Information” system. From our point of view, it is easy enough and for HMRC it’s the obvious way to go. The controversial issue is the deadline for online filing, in that the online return must be submitted “on or before” pay date. In an increasingly digitised world there is a point of friction between firstly the desire of a large organisation to obtain online information immediately, and secondly, the difficulty for small businesses (or just the inability of humans ?) to get things done promptly, every time, never once missing. HMRC’s computers never have to deal with a customer complaint, or pick the kids up from school…
HMRC has announced that there will be no penalties for late filing of FPS (Full Payment Submissions) until the end of the tax year 2013-14. (Source http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/news/payerti-payments.htm)
It is reported also that 77% of micro businesses have started reporting PAYE under the RTI system. (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/record-numbers-of-employers-report-paye-in-real-time). According to Lord Young’s report in May 2012, “micro-employers” are those with less than 10 employees. Most of our clients fall within this description.
Put another way, nearly one quarter of all small business employers are still not filing under RTI.
Our own experience is that most clients are willing to take on PAYE RTI filing themselves, using suitable software and with our guidance on setting up. We have a handful of clients who are still not set up for RTI, usually because of issues such as being unable to get the online access. Typically HMRC’s online system does not recognise the tax reference or postcode, even when these are copied exactly from a letter received from HMRC. “Computer says no” about sums it up.