HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is sending letters to over 1.4 million employers this month outlining the key points of the real-time information (RTI) PAYE scheme for when it is rolled out in 2013.
Under RTI employers will send PAYE data electronically to HMRC each time they pay their employees, rather than sending a separate return at the end of the year. Returns will include details of all employees’ pay, tax and deductions. It will also provide up to date information about wages and tax for the forthcoming Universal Credit, so eligible employees will get the right amount of benefits.
The letters form part of a wider HMRC campaign to raise awareness among employers, which includes targeted flyers and emails, regular live Twitter Q&As and You Tube videos.
And the letters also include a help sheet, which tells employers what to do to get ready for the change, such as speaking to their payroll software provider or payroll service provider and checking their employee data is accurate.
But while RTI is the biggest overhaul of the PAYE system in decades, most employers at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who won’t have taken part in the RTI pilot scheme, will be “blissfully unaware” of this radical change to how their payroll will work.
So as well as the letter and afore-mentioned communication channels, HMRC officials are urging Payroll Bureaux, accountants, professional bodies, software providers and other representatives and industry groups
to help their SME clients “get their heads around what the move to RTI reporting means for them and how they are going to comply with the new rules”.
And HMRC will also be running a series of road shows about RTI around the country between mid-October and early December.
As an accountant, Simon Denton specialises in providing PAYE advice, support and guidance.