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HMRC chief admits no backup plan if RTI fails

November 1, 2012


The head of HMRC, Lin Homer, admitted to the Treasury select committee yesterday that HMRC has no contingency plan if its implementation of Real Time Information reporting for PAYE fails to operate as expected.

In an exchange between the HMRC Chief Executive Lin Homer and Labour Treasury select committee member Teresa Pearce MP, Homer admitted HMRC had “the reverse of a backup plan” that relies on lessons learned from HMRC’s RTI pilot.

The committee, meeting on 31st October 2012, was taking evidence on the administration and effectiveness of HMRC when Pearce asked: “Do you have a backup plan if this doesn’t work – if people can’t do RTI, they can’t do online filing - will a paper system happen?”

Homer responded: “I think our view is that we will have a system that organisations can link with and it will be tested and ready – it’s actually almost the reverse of a backup plan, we’re probably doing more faster than we planned when we started the project.”

Pearce asked again: “So there isn’t a backup plan?”

Homer responded: “The backup plan is to be ahead of ourselves – but therefore the people who need help – there will be even more of our resources to pay attention to that.”

The comments appear to contradict statements made by the Revenue as part of its efforts to encourage more firms to join the pilot before the end of the year.

Phil Nilson from HMRC’s RTI team told delegates at Payroll World’s Autumn conference in October that employers will receive considerable hand holding during the pilot but that level of support will be unavailable once RTI goes live for the majority of organisations in April 2013.

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