Mar 2014


Employers yet to file RTI Returns

HMRC has announced more than 12,950 employers in the south east are being urged to send their employees’ Pay As You Earn (PAYE) information in real time or face penalties.

For example a total of 405 employers in Portsmouth are yet to file PAYE returns in real time. Employers who have not used the system were recently sent an email from HMRC, telling them to complete it by the end of March.

As mentioned in previous blogs, RTI should be the standard for the majority of employers now but there are those who are still struggling to achieve compliance.

Last June HMRC released a statement saying they “appreciated that many employers” (over 600,000 at that specific time) “are still getting used to this new way of reporting” and provided a reminder of the PAYE payment position for reporting for compliance with RTI.

With Auto Enrolment now being phased in, the pressure on employers to comply with the law and HMRC’s RTI is growing.

Posted byLorraine McEvoyinPAYEPayroll SoftwareReal time informationRTI

Mar 2014


BrightPay 14/15 is Now Available. What's New?

BrightPay 14/15 is now available to download. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new:


2014/15 Budget Changes

  • 2014/15 PAYE thresholds
  • 2014/15 National Insurance contributions rates and thresholds
  • 2014/15 Student Loan threshold
  • 2014/15 Statutory payments rates and thresholds
  • The emergency tax code has changed from 944L to 1000L.
  • Eligible employers can claim the new £2000 Employment Allowance which can be used to reduce Employer Class 1 Secondary NICs payments to HMRC.
  • Retirement of the regional employer NICs holiday scheme
  • Statutory Sick Pay is no longer recoverable


Automatic Enrolment

BrightPay 14/15 has complete functionality to enable you to automatically enrol your employees into a qualifying pension scheme:

  • BrightPay allows you to record your automatic enrolment staging date. When the staging date has been reached, automatic enrolment functionality will automatically kick in.
  • BrightPay will assess your employees, monitor eligibility criteria, and let you know:
    • who must be enrolled into a qualifying scheme
    • who has the right to opt in to be enrolled in a qualifying scheme
    • who can request to join a pension scheme
  • BrightPay walks you through all the various automatic enrolment processes:
    • postponing assessment
    • enrolling employees
    • handling opt-ins and joining
    • handling opt-outs and refunds
  • BrightPay enables you to generate tailored communication letters and notices to employees
  • BrightPay tracks records on a period by period basis, allowing you to see exactly what changes, actions and contributions are made throughout the year. You can produce custom reports with the exact information you require.
  • BrightPay has dedicated support for the automatic enrolment qualifying pension scheme offered by the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), allowing you to:
    • set up your NEST scheme, group and payment sources
    • create enrolment and contribution submission CSV files for uploading to NEST
  • We plan to add dedicated support for other pension scheme providers, but for now BrightPay offers generic support for any automatic enrolment qualifying scheme which you can use in conjunction with BrightPay's built-in reporting tools to operate your scheme.

For more information on automatic enrolment, see our automatic enrolment blog or the guide for employers on The Pensions Regulator website.

Real Time Information (RTI)

This time last year we launched BrightPay 13/14 with full support for RTI.

In 14/15, there are some new features and improvements:

  • From 2014/15, HMRC will be introducing penalties for late Full Payment Submissions (FPS). To help determine whether any late filing penalties are due, HMRC request that a late reporting reason be included with late submissions. BrightPay will detect when an FPS is late, and prompt you to select a reason.
  • Support for the new FPS contracted hours worked per week bands
  • Ability to set/change the Payroll ID for any employee (start of year or mid year)
  • New Employment Allowance indicator on EPS
  • Bank account information on EPS
  • Improvements to the RTI interface in BrightPay, including the ability to view total amounts of the values in an FPS.
  • We received feedback from HMRC about the most common data errors that occur in submissions from BrightPay customers, and so have made many improvements to prevent these from happening. For example:
    • Improved wording on notifications
    • Better validation at the data entry stage
    • Forced UK data formats for users on non-English operating systems
  • RTI messages and logs are now stored in a compressed format in your data file, which should greatly help to reduce file size.


BrightPay – New Features

With RTI and Automatic Enrolment, the last couple of years have seen many changes to UK payroll. This in turn has required a lot of supporting development to be done on BrightPay. So with these out of the way, we are excited to get back to adding unique features and making BrightPay the best payroll software on the market. Here are the new features we've completed for this first 14/15 release:

  • Ability to add an addition (new or existing type) to multiple payslips at once
  • Ability to add a deduction (new or existing type) to multiple payslips at once
  • Ability to set a note on multiple payslips at once
  • Ability to edit the FPS settings for multiple payslips at once
  • Ability to record absence and strike on employee calendar
  • Ability to record part day annual leave, unpaid leave, absence or strike on employee calendar
  • Ability to print the employee calendar and overview of leave for one or multiple employees
  • Ability to print a summary of company annual leave entitlement
  • Ability to create a BrightPay employer file without a password (and remove the password from an existing file)
  • Ability to see the most recent time a payslip was printed, emailed, or exported.
  • Ability to import employee details from Bright Contracts

But that's not all – we've got some great plans for what's coming next. And like previous years, you won't have to wait until 15/16 – we'll be releasing new features to 14/15 users when they are ready. Watch this space!

Other Improvements in BrightPay 14/15

  • Improved aesthetics (including graphics fixes for Windows 8 users).
  • Performance enhancements – we've upgraded much of the core technology that powers BrightPay to the latest version, bringing with it faster and better number crunching.
  • Minor user interface tweaks to make BrightPay even easier to use.
  • Lots of minor bugs have been squashed.


BrightPay 14/15 will be the same price as BrightPay 13/14 (including FREE for small employers with up to three employees). Support will continue to be free of charge for all users.

Posted byRoss WebsterinAuto EnrolmentNew FeaturesPayroll SoftwareRTISoftware Upgrade

Mar 2014


Windows XP support to end – Time to upgrade?

As of the 8th of April 2014 Microsoft will cease support of the Windows XP OS (Operating System). Originally launched in 2001 it has been Microsoft’s most successful operating system. They tried to convince people to upgrade to Windows Vista in 2005 but many had upgraded to XP service pack 2 around the same time so didn’t want to incur extra cost or the hassle of having to change their OS.

What does support ending mean?

It means there will be no more upgrades. Patch Tuesday (the day of the week Microsoft release their updates and patches) will be no more. It means that XP machines will no longer receive security patches, meaning they will face greater risks of targeted hacking attacks.

It also means that when companies such as Thesaurus Software and banks update the security certificates (which are renewed every few years) for their websites, XP users will not receive these new patches from Microsoft. Therefore, when users visit these sites they will get security warnings, or could be blocked by their computer altogether.

When should you upgrade?

Like with windows 95, 98 and 2000, your existing programs will continue to work as normal, your computer will not suddenly stop working just because Microsoft stops supporting it! However as technology moves on XP will become eventually obsolete. Couple that with the fact that as a machine gets older it inevitably slows down and becomes less reliable. So while there is no major rush to go out and buy new machines a plan should be put in place to upgrade your systems in the near future.

Will my payroll program still work on XP?

Both Thesaurus Payroll Manager and BrightPay will continue to work on XP and they will continue to work for the foreseeable future. We at Thesaurus will continue to support our programs and assist customers who use XP. However as Thesaurus and other companies update their digital certificates some XP users may experience difficulties using certain aspects of the program (Creating bank files, upgrades etc).

Posted byAlan KellyinPayroll Software

Mar 2014


New UK Tax-Free Childcare scheme due to launch in autumn 2015.

1. The scheme will launch in autumn 2015

You’ll be able to open an online account, which you can pay into to cover the cost of childcare with a registered provider. This will be done through the government website, GOV.UK.

2. For every 80p you or someone else pays in, the government will top up an extra 20p

This is equivalent of the tax most people pay - 20% - which gives the scheme its name, ‘tax-free’. The government will top up the account with 20% of childcare costs up to a total of £10,000 - the equivalent of up to £2,000 support per child per year.

3. The scheme will be available for children up to the age of 12

It will also be available for children with disabilities up to the age of 16, as their childcare costs can stay high throughout their teenage years.

4. To qualify, parents will have to be in work, earning just over an average of £50 a week and not more than £150,000 per year

The scheme is designed to be flexible for parents if, for example, they want to get back to work after the birth of a child or work part-time.

5. Any eligible working family can use the Tax-Free Childcare scheme - it doesn’t rely on employers offering it

Tax-Free Childcare doesn’t rely on employers offering the scheme, unlike the current scheme Employer-Supported Childcare. Any working family can use the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, provided they meet the scheme’s eligibility requirements.

6. The scheme will also be available for parents who are self-employed

Self-employed parents will be able to get support with childcare costs in Tax-Free Childcare, unlike the current scheme (Employer-Supported Childcare) which is not available to self-employed parents. To support newly self-employed parents, the government is introducing a ‘start-up’ period. During this, self-employed parents won’t have to earn the minimum income level, £50 a week.

The scheme will also be available to parents on paid sick leave and paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

7. If you currently receive Employer-Supported Childcare then you can continue to do so

You do not have to switch to Tax-Free Childcare if you do not wish to. Employer-Supported Childcare will continue to run. Parents won’t be able to register for Employer-Supported Childcare after Tax-Free Childcare is introduced in autumn 2015, but those already registered by this date will be able to continue using it for as long as their employer offers it. However, Tax-Free Childcare will be open to more than twice as many parents as Employer-Supported Childcare.

Employers’ workplace nurseries won’t be affected by the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare.

8. Parents and others can pay money into their childcare account as and when they like

This gives you the flexibility to pay in more in some months, and less at other times. This means you can build up a balance in your account to use at times when you need more childcare than usual, for example, over the summer holidays.

It’s also not just the parents who can pay into the account - if grandparents, other family members or employers want to pay in, then they can.

9. The process will be as simple as possible for parents

The process will be light-touch and as easy as possible for you. For example, parents won’t have to report any change of circumstances to HMRC; there will be a single log-in service where parents can view accounts for all of their children at once.

10. You’ll be able to withdraw money from the account if you want to

If your circumstances change or you no longer want to pay into the account, then you’ll be able to withdraw the money you have built up. If you do, the government will withdraw its corresponding contribution.

Posted byAnn TigheinPayroll

Mar 2014


HMRC's employment allowance calculator

Through the new Employment Allowance employers can reduce the amount of NIC they pay for their employees by up to £2,000.

An online calculator is now available for employers to see the effect the new Employment Allowance could have on their National Insurance Contributions bill.

The new Employment Allowance can be claimed from 6 April 2014. You are not required to pay any employer National Insurance Contributions if you pay less than £2,000 a year.

It is estimated up to 1.25 million businesses and charities will benefit from Employment Allowance, with 450,000 businesses and charities not required to pay any Employer NIC at all.


Employment Allowance is for nearly all employers that pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions on their employees’ and directors’ earnings. This includes:

 • Businesses
 • Charities
 • Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Posted byLorraine McEvoyinNICPayroll

Mar 2014


UK minimum wage to rise to £6.50 in October, government confirms

The government has approved a rise in the national minimum wage (NMW) to £6.50 an hour in October this year, as recommended by the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC).

This change is expected to boost take home pay for more than one million employees who could see their wage increase by as much as £355 a year..

From the 1st of October 2014 NMW rates will be:

  • a 19p (3 per cent) increase in the adult rate (from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour) 
  • a 10p (2 per cent) increase in the rate for 18 to 20 year olds (from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour) 
  • a 7p (2 per cent) increase in the rate for 16 to 17 year olds (from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour) 
  • a 5p (2 per cent) increase in the rate for apprentices (from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour) 

Bright Contracts – Employment contracts and handbooks.
BrightPay – Payroll & Auto Enrolment Software

Posted byCaroline MaloneinPayroll Software

Mar 2014


CIPP launches Auto Enrolment forum

The CIPP has launched what should become a successful forum for collecting information regarding pensions auto enrolment , called “The Friends of AE”.

Its central aim is to be “a joint capacity crunch task force” and is open to any organisation that wants to work together on the practical issues facing employers through sharing ideas, experiences , problems and solutions.

It is free to join The Friends of AE and the people most likely to benefit from the membership are:

• People who provide any services or solutions to the pensions auto enrolment marketplace
• If you are an employer that has already staged and would be happy to share your knowledge and insight into the process of auto enrolment.
• If you are an employer that has not yet staged and would like to be more informed and have access to the experience and advise of others that have already staged.

By the time the summer of 2017 arrives there will be in and around 135,000 companies staging per month so the CIPP feel that payroll, pension software and intermediary industries need to collaborate to help employers brace for the operational impact of auto enrolment and that is what The Friends of AE is all about.

Posted byDenise CowleyinAuto Enrolment

Mar 2014


Draft rules on shared parental leave and pay published - UK

Government calls for employer responses to new regime

The government has published its draft regulations for shared parental leave and pay, with finalised rules scheduled to come into force on the 1st of October 2014. However, law experts are already warning that the proposed rules “look terribly complicated for both employers and employees”. The draft regulations outline new entitlements for mums and dads, or their partners, to receive 'statutory shared parental pay' from their employers.

The proposals detail the conditions that parents must meet to qualify for these payments. They also allow flexibility for parents to change their requirements after their initial claim.This secondary legislation is part of a radical government overhaul of the existing maternity and paternity regime and it will support the primary legislation known as the Children and Families Act once it receives Royal Assent. The rules will allow both parents to share up to 50 weeks' leave, which can be taken at the same time, or separately. Mums will be able to cut short maternity leave and, provided they give at least eight weeks' notice, can make up to three requests to share their maternity leave with their partner after having their child. But if an employer does not agree to discontinuous periods of leave the employee will have to take the leave continuously. Policy makers at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (Bis) have urged employers, and other stakeholders, to respond to the draft rules, saying they want to make the new system of shared parental leave and pay “as simple to use as possible”.Bis has indicated it intends the changes to take effect for babies born on or after 5 April 2015.

But in response to the publication of the draft, Pattie Walsh, London head of employment at DLA Piper, said: "The much trailed overhaul of the UK's existing maternity and paternity regime has now had some flesh put on the bones with the publication of a series of draft regulations. "The government's aim to allow parents to share a period of parental leave is a laudable one. However, at first blush at least, the regulations which will implement the system look terribly complicated - for both employers and employees. They are due to come into force in October 2014, leaving employers with a relatively short time to prepare new policies and procedures, and will apply to employees expecting a baby on or after 5 April 2015.And she added: "Surprisingly, it appears that only employees with 26 weeks' service will qualify for the right to take shared parental leave in any event."


Bright Contracts – Employment contracts and handbooks.
BrightPay – Payroll & Auto Enrolment Software

Posted byCaroline MaloneinPayroll

Mar 2014


Year end procedure in BrightPay

With the introduction of RTI the year end procedure for 13/14 is a simple process. You will no longer need to send a P35 instead a “Final submission” needs to be sent to HMRC.

1.  Complete your payroll for the year, sending your FPS files as normal on or before your pay date, this would need to be done for all pay frequencies you run. You will not be asked when doing these final FPS files that this is your “final submission”, instead we have designed it so you can send you final submission as an EPS.
2.  Before you final submission is sent be sure to send an EPS for statutory payments recovered (if applicable)
3.  The final submission you need to send in the tax year is an EPS file. To create the EPS final submission click the “New” button in the RTI section and select EPS. From the options select “Final Submission” and tick the relevant box e.g if you have p11s to submit etc.
4.  Finally your P60s need to be printed and given to your employees.



Posted byAlan KellyinPayroll SoftwareRTI

Mar 2014


Withdrawal of National Insurance Number Tracing Service

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will withdraw the CA6855 clerical tracing service on 31 March 2014.

This is following the introduction of reporting PAYE in real time and the National Insurance number verification request service (NVR).

If you are not yet reporting PAYE in real time yet and need to use this service you should do so now.

If you are reporting PAYE in real time but you have not used the NVR service you should read the guidance 'Check an employee's National Insurance number' that can be found in the guide 'Making sure you use the correct National Insurance Number'.

BrightPay includes the NVR request among its list of RTI functions.

Posted byAnn TigheinNICPayroll Software