With just one month to go until the start of the biggest shakeup of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system in nearly 70 years, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging employers to get ready.
From 6 April, employers will be required to move to a new way of reporting PAYE called Real Time Information (RTI), where they report each time they pay employees, rather than annually. This updates the PAYE system so that it is quicker, easier and more accurate.
With the introduction of RTI, employers will benefit from much simpler requirements for reporting to HMRC and the abolition of the extensive annual tax return that the old system required.
For employees, particularly the 1 million people in the UK with multiple jobs, RTI will bring benefits as HMRC starts to get details of their tax every time their wages are paid, rather than just once a year. This will make HMRC’s records more accurate and up-to-date and will begin to reduce the number of cases where someone is found to have under or overpaid tax during the year.
Ruth Owen, HMRC’s Director General Personal Tax, said:
“Real Time Information will be better for employers, better for employees and better for Britain. This is the biggest revolution in PAYE in around 70 years and over time will reduce the costs of administration for businesses.
“Employers can find all the information they need about the new system on HMRC’s website and small businesses can download free software to help them get ready. So whatever the size of your business, wherever you are based, whatever you do – if you employ people, it’s time to get ready.”
Richard Burchell, owner of Burchell & Associates in South Croydon, a chiropodist with five PAYE employees already using the new RTI system, said:
“We have been part of the pilot since June last year and have had no trouble with RTI at all. The key is to get good software and make sure your data is up to date.”
For the vast majority of employers, the first real time return will be the first employee payday on or after 6 April 2013. In order to make sure that employers are ready for RTI they should follow these three simple steps:
1. Go to HMRC’s website – www.hmrc.gov.uk/rti – for comprehensive information about RTI, including how to prepare, payroll software options and tips;
2. Acquire new or updated software. Employers will need to talk to their payroll software provider or payroll service-provider (and their Bacs software or solution supplier if they pay via Bacs);
3. Start checking and updating employee information. It is vital that the information employers have about their employees is up to date.
HMRC is offering a range of help for businesses to prepare for the change, including free software for employers with nine or fewer employees, targeted flyers and emails, regular live Twitter Q&As, YouTube videos and roadshows across the country.
An interview with an employer already using RTI, Richard Burchell – www.burchellsfeet.co.uk – can be seen on YouTube at http://bit.ly/W1FoXa and HMRC is also holding a week long Twitter Q&A (4 March – 8 March) to give employers the opportunity to ask RTI-related questions.
To take part or ask a question, follow @HMRCgovuk on Twitter and use the hashtag #RTIqa.