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HMRC chief acknowledges RTI will have “chewy moments”

March 6, 2013


HMRC chief Lin Homer acknowledged in an interview with the BBC yesterday that Real Time Information reporting of PAYE which starts next month will have “chewy moments”.

Speaking to Radio 4’s PM news programme, Lin Homer said that most of those employers who had participated in the RTI pilot were “pretty chipper” and said it had been easier than they expected. She said that she did not anticipate a “big bang” in April when RTI begins.

However, as has reported previously, the number of employers participating in HMRC’s RTI pilot have been far lower than HMRC themselves anticipated, with only some 25,000 actual employers participating, compared to the 250,000 HMRC hoped for. About 1.4 million employers start Real Time Information reporting of PAYE on 6th April at the same time.

Lin Homer told the PM programme, “We’re all going to have a few chewy moments, and we’re determined to be as open and as listening as we can. I’m confident we’re going to learn a lot during the year, and that we will be able to make this system work.”

The interview, the first significant news reporting of RTI by the BBC appeared to be the first admission by HMRC that RTI’s introduction might encounter difficulties. Previous press comment by HMRC have not indicated any concern over the change to PAYE reporting despite known issues matching RTI returns with bank payments and widespread business surveys showing a continuing low level of awareness of RTI.

Liesl Smith from the Federation of Small Businesses, speaking in the same BBC programme, said that “It’s all very well saying it’s a simple click, but actually this is time and money that small businesses need to spend doing this,”

“We want to see employers submitting returns once a month, up to two weeks after the tax period, which would benefit companies that pay their staff weekly, or had a mix of payment times.”

Anita Monteith, Tax Faculty technical manager for SMEs at the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, said: “For a small business, which is trying to grow and provide employment in a local environment, I think this burden is just too great.

“I think we’re going to see fewer full time jobs being advertised, and more small part-time jobs, simply to avoid having to run a payroll.”

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