HMRC has been forced to issue a clarification about national insurance number verification requests after being contacted by worried employers trying to meet the Real Time Information (RTI) requirements.
The employers have been receiving rejections in response to their requests. This, says HMRC, is correct. They are being rejected because the employers are sending their requests in before they have made their first full payment submission (FPS).
“You cannot send a national insurance number verification request (NVR) until you have started to send PAYE information in real time,” HMRC advises. “Wait two weeks after sending your first FPS before sending an NVR.”
It points employers to its guidance, Making Sure You Use the Correct National Insurance Number
HMRC also says that it has been receiving phone calls from employees trying to find out what their NI number is after being told by their employer that they must have one for when the employer submits the RTI returns.
Although HMRC does want employers to provide correct NI numbers in their PAYE submissions, it stresses that there will be occasions when an NI number is not available. For example, the employee will not have been allocated one if they are under 16 years old.
Again, it points employers towards the NI guidance to make it clear that they should leave the NI number field blank and not be tempted to fill it in with a dummy or incorrect number.