Nearly all employers now report their payroll information to HMRC via Real Time Information (RTI). The introduction of RTI is widely acknowledged to be the biggest change to PAYE since 1944. Most employers started reporting via RTI in 2013 and HMRC has since conducted a post-implementation review. The resulting report was published last week and this shows what went well, and also what didn’t go so well. It explains the ways in which government departments use the information that RTI gives them, and how it may be employed in the future.
Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered his Autumn Budget speech. From a payroll perspective, there were no big surprises.
Universal Credit is a new payment that replaces 6 benefits, including Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. It has been under the spotlight recently, with MPs pointing out some of its problems and calling for a delay in the planned roll-out. Universal Credit is designed to reduce automatically if an employee’s income increases and, for this reason, its success is dependent on employers reporting their payroll information via Real Time Information.
I was recently asked what advice I’d give somebody who is starting a new business and hiring his or her first employee. As you’d probably expect from someone whose business is payroll software, my answer was about the importance of organising your payroll.
When Real Time Information was first introduced, we were told it would save businesses hundreds of millions of pounds, make tax more accurate, reduce tax credits over-payments, enable dynamic adjustment of Universal Credits, move the planets into alignment and bring about world peace. Okay, maybe not the last two.
With such ambitious aims and a very short timescale for implementation, nobody should be surprised that the result wasn’t perfect.
New customers switch their payrolls to our system at all times of the year but there is always a peak at the start of a new tax year. This is because payroll works one tax year at a time, accumulating information as the tax year goes on and then resetting it for the start of the next.