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RTI starts and clears its first hurdle

April 6, 2013


On the day the Grand National is run at Aintree, HM Revenue & Customs introduced sweeping changes to the operation of Pay As You Earn. Saturday 6 April, which is also the first day of the tax year, marks the beginning of what HMRC have themselves styled a “tax revolution”. From today employers are legally required to report in real time their liability to PAYE at the same time they pay their employees, known as PAYE Real Time Information or PAYE RTI. PAYE RTI is being introduced to support the government’s welfare reforms and the introduction of Universal Credit from October 2013.

However, the start of RTI was not as smooth as HMRC or employers might have hoped and RTI cleared its first hurdle with some difficulty. Although compulsory reporting of RTI began today as planned for all UK employers the launch was delayed by some hours due to what appears to have been a combination of delays completing scheduled technical maintenance and industrial action by some HMRC staff.

Members of the PCS (Public and Commercial Services) union walked out on Friday morning in a move designed to disrupt the launch of RTI reporting and the beginning of the new tax year. The union is protesting over pay and employment terms, and the walkout was scheduled to last half a day.  The protest involved members of various other Government bodies as well as HMRC. The Public and Commercial Services union’s website claimed that the walkouts were “very solidly supported and caused massive disruption,” with as many as 55,000 members of HMRC alone having left their offices.

HMRC had stated in advance of the strike that it would have “no effect” on the launch but advised that non-urgent calls should be held until Monday afternoon to assure speedy resolution of any issues. 

Scheduled maintenance to HMRC’s Government Gateway for submissions was also considered to present a possible risk of having a negative impact on the launch, but HMRC has not so far reported any major issues.  However some members of Accounting WEB reported delays when trying to upload to the Government Gateway and call waiting times in excess of 30 minutes when trying to reach HMRC contact centre staff were reported. One user received an error message recommending that P35s be filed after Wednesday the 10 April. was also unable to load the Government Gateway on Saturday morning after it was scheduled to be available following the planned maintenance, receiving a ‘server is taking too long to respond’ message.  One Twitter user responded to on the social media network: “HMRC staff are all at Aintree today putting money on Major Malarkey” (@PhillipsLtd).

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