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HMRC starts to estimate ERs liability to pay PAYE

June 19, 2013


HMRC has announced its intention to estimate the liability to PAYE and demand payment of the charge estimated for employers not yet reporting RTI. The announcement was made on HMRC’s website on 17 June. Referred to by HMRC as ‘specified charges’ the estimated charges will be based on previous PAYE payment and filing history, and represent what HMRC thinks you owe.

The announcement of the commencement of ‘specified charges’ for PAYE, which represents the first time such charges have been used for PAYE. Such estimated charges have long been used for employers registered for VAT, who do not file a regular VAT return. The decision coincides with HMRC’s decision to contact employers not yet reporting RTI, urging them to do so.

Specified charges will be imposed if an employer has made no RTI submissions by 19 June. There will be one specified charge per month that there has been no RTI submission – so if there was no submission for April and May, the employer will receive a specified charge for the month of June as well as a specified charge for the prior period of April and May. Those employers who pay HMRC quarterly will still receive a specified charge if they have failed to file FPS/EPS submissions monthly, even though they are not required to pay monthly, and their first payment date for the quarter is not until the 19 or 22 of July.

HMRC stated that the specified charges will be listed on the PAYE Liabilities & Payments Viewer for those who are registered for Employer PAYE Services online.  However, employer payroll providers and accountants who are responsible for managing PAYE RTI for clients are not able to see client PAYE data on line because HMRC systems restrict them from doing so.

A specified charge from HMRC does not remove the requirement to file an FPS: the FPS or EPS must still be filed, and if the total PAYE is more than the specified charge, the excess must also be paid.  HMRC say that if employers file their first FPS or EPS within seven days of the specified charge they will only have to pay what they have calculated in their submissions.

It is not clear what enforcement action HMRC will take to follow up PAYE specified charge notices. The adoption of a system of specified charges by HMRC, made possible by the introduction of RTI, makes clear HMRC’s intention to ensure PAYE is paid strictly to term by employers.

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