HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has agreed to relax reporting arrangements for small businesses, after recognising that some employers may more time to adapt to reporting PAYE information in Real Time Information (RTI).
HMRC has announced the 11th hour change just two weeks away from the scheme going live. It said that it recognises that some small employers who pay employees weekly, or more frequently, but only process their payroll monthly, may need longer.
Until October 5, employers with fewer than 50 employees may send information to HMRC by the date of their regular payroll run – but no later than the end of the tax month (5th).
HMRC will continue to work with employer representatives during the summer to assess and understand the impact of RTI on the smallest businesses and consider whether they can make improvements to real time reporting.
A spokesman for bira (British Independent Retailers Association) said: “The new reporting regime is tough for small, time-pressured businesses. So this temporary relaxation in the stringent demands of RTI is welcome. We look forward to the opportunity to provide feedback to HMRC over the summer to further fine-tune the system as everybody gains experience of the way it works in practice.”
Forum of Private Business spokesman Robert Downes said: “Nobody likes last minute changes, and this development perhaps hints at something of a panic at HMRC that many, many small firms still aren’t fully prepared for RTI.
“However, this does seem the sensible course of action, because a tax system in meltdown come April is in nobody’s best interest, and no doubt many firms will now be breathing a sigh of relief. It will though now add another layer of confusion around a subject which is already as clear as mud to many SMEs.”
He added: “HMRC don’t have a great track record for communicating well with business. Is this yet another example? The suggestion certainly is that awareness levels among SMEs in relation to RTI are nowhere near where they need to be.
“Any business still unsure of what’s expected of them must seek help immediately from HMRC. They aren’t the enemy, and they are there to help firms become compliant.”
Details can be found on the HMRC website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/news/rti-small-businesses.htm.