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5,000 employers affected by Sage RTI glitch

June 21, 2013

 

Thousands of employers have been contacted by HMRC about their Employer Annual Returns for 2013/13 because of an error in Sage 50 Payroll.  The glitch came to light as interim penalty notices were issued to thousands of employers, stating that they have not yet fulfilled their end of year reporting duties.  It appears those employers affected mistakenly filed RTI returns when they had not been invited to do so, believing they had joined RTI during its pilot phase.

These returns submitted by this group of Sage customers were accepted by the Government Gateway, but did not provide HMRC with the correct information regarding these employers’ end of year reports as they were the wrong returns for employers not in the RTI pilot. Normal Gateway security protocols suggest these returns should have been rejected.

The penalty warning notices will likely come as a surprise to the employers affected, as most had received confirmation emails suggesting that their information had been filed successfully.  HMRC has set a new date of 25 June for correct end of year reports (P35 and P14s) to be filed, after which penalties will apply.  Those contacted by HMRC about this issue should also have received specific guidance from them about how to file their P35/P14s for 2012/13.

Although HMRC published details of the fault on their own website on 12 June, they did not name the particular software provider affected, saying only that they were “working with the software provider to identify all the employers who are affected by this issue.”  The update also states that those affected by this issue who have recently, or who submit by 25 June, their Employer Annual Returns will not receive penalties.

Sage has said that it is in the process of contacting those customers affected by the issue.  The software developer stated that the problem only affects a small number of customers, and has emphasised that they are working closely with HMRC and employers to prevent those affected from being penalised.

Sage’s Gary Ging said, in comments reported by Payroll World, that “A fairly small group when they did their end of year submission for 2012/13 did an RTI submission by mistake.  That submission should not have been accepted by HMRC, however for whatever reason it was.”  Sage also stated that it has processed around 500,000 submissions successfully, and that the 5,000 businesses affected by the glitch only represents around 1% of its customer base.

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