Real Time Information: are you ready? - Business Works
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Real Time Information: are you ready?

Sarah Coulson. Bureau Manager, Rawlinsons Payroll and HR The countdown is on to the introduction of Real Time Information, the biggest shake up to the PAYE system since 1944.

From April this year, small- and medium-sized businesses will be required to submit information to HMRC on or before the date they pay employees, replacing the annual reporting via P35 forms. This information will need to include salary details, PAYE, NIC and student loans.

"We have been involved in HMRC's pilot scheme and help businesses with the steps they need to take right now," said Sarah Coulson. Bureau Manager of Rawlinsons Payroll and HR. "The new system is being introduced in April which doesn’t leave much time to prepare. Our experience has shown the provision of better quality, more up-to-date information reduces the margin for error, ensuring more people pay the correct level of tax from the outset. But it’s important to ensure everything is in place so the system works effectively and efficiently."

Sarah recommends the first step businesses take is to check that all information held on employees is correct. The Real Time Information system requires:

  • Full, official, forenames and surnames - correctly spelt. Double-barrelled names must be hyphenated to avoid confusion;
  • National Insurance number – temporary numbers can’t be used;
  • Date of birth;
  • Gender.

"This information should be checked against an official source – a birth certificate or passport, for instance," warns Sarah. "And don’t rely on assumptions. Just because someone has worked for you for a while doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the details you hold. You may not have updated records following a change in marital status for instance."

"You also need to check the necessary software is installed to enable the submissions to be made. Your software provider should be able to help with this," said Sarah. "There are free packages available to download."

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