Employers must get up to speed on RTI

Some employers, particularly small organisations, are still not prepared for real-time information (RTI) reporting, according to research published last month.

This is despite the fact that, from April 2013, employers must report pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) in real time to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when they perform a payroll process, rather than waiting until the end of the year.

Last month, Crunch Accounting’s study of 503 people working in small businesses found that only 19% were aware of RTI, 46% had no knowledge of the upcoming changes to PAYE and 35% were only vaguely aware.

A separate study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) also in February, of 197 HR and payroll professionals, found that 52% expected payroll providers to help them become RTI-compliant.

With one month to go before RTI begins, employers should be checking that they are compliant with the new rules on payroll reporting, or risk possible penalties.

John Harding, director in PWC’s HR services team, advised employers to engage with their payroll provider as soon as possible because the industry is unlikely to have enough capacity to support every employer to comply with RTI.

A key issue is ensuring that data provided to HMRC is of good quality, so data-gathering processes must be up to the task.

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Andrew Hayward, managing director at software provider M-hance, said: “Data quality is critical to HMRC, so it is imperative businesses have robust processes to ensure their employee data is accurate and up to date, ready for RTI.

“Over 80% of data-quality issues are the result of inaccurate or missing employee information, typically relating to an individual’s national insurance number, date of birth and full name.”