Back in August, the government made headlines in a name and shame exercise of epic proportions where they published the names of 239 employers who underpaid more than 22,000 employees. These underpayments totaled in excess of £1.44 million. That might not seem like a lot in relation to the sheer amount of employees who were underpaid, but on average it would amount to £65 per employee. That would cover a tv license for a year, a new winter coat, or a cheeky Nando’s. My point is, it’s all relative and it was their hard-earned money. Even worse is that all underpayments happened to people who were on minimum or living wage. An added kick in the teeth!
Well the HMRC agreed! They are cracking down on companies who are underpaying their workers. The back pay identified by the HMRC was for more workers than in any other previous ‘name and shame’ exercise. Not only that but the fines wholloped onto the devious employers totalled an eye-watering £1.97 million, which is ironically, more than the underpayments themselves.
In fact, funding for minimum wage enforcement has doubled since 2015 with the government set to spend £26.3 million in 2018/19. The scheme is now in its fifth year and has identified £10.8 million in underpayments and have fined employers in excess of £8.4 million. So although you might be trying to save a few pennies Ebenezer Scrooge, the ghost of paychecks past will inevitably come back to haunt you.
But what about me? I’m an honest business owner who pays my employees - I feel very attacked right now! Ok, so the 5 main areas identified by HMRC as reasons for national minimum and living wage underpayments as:
So as you can see, besides underpaying apprentices, the majority of payroll deductions are as a result of money being offsetted from employees’ wages. Now, this could be on a purpose, pre-calculated or if you will pardon the pun or by penny pinching grinches. OR more so, (and the latter is most likely) you’ve gone and messed up the bloody deductions!
Let me tell you where you’re going wrong. Many employers are not using a payroll software system to do all these mind-boggling calculations for you. And that’s just the payroll calculations. It can get even more complicated for employers using Basic PAYE tools as this tool does not calculate the workplace pension contributions. Instead, this is a manual process.
Yes that’s right, there is software that can do these calculations for us now and even provide payslips to employees (yes, it’s the law to provide payslips to employees). Using a dedicated employer payroll software means that all of those pesky deductions are calculated and processed for your employees by a machine that is much smarter than you. It means a massive reduction in error, no underpayments and most importantly no fines from HMRC and your company name included on the Wall of Shame.
The best payroll software out there right now (as voted by the public) is BrightPay. I could talk about all the benefits that it would bring to your company and life in general but instead read for yourself what its customers have got to say about it on BrightPay’s Customer Testimonials page. You can also book a free demo at https://www.brightpay.co.uk/pages/book-BrightPay-Demo/.
Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
The deadline of 31st July is fast approaching for employees renewing tax credits. Payments will be stopped if tax credits are not renewed by this deadline. HMRC are asking employers to encourage their employees to renew their claim for tax credits as soon as possible and to use the online method.
An employee can renew their tax credits online using their mobile device, tablet or computer. They can also renew on HMRC’s App. Renewing online is easy and is less time consuming, an employee can do this once they have received their renewal pack.
Employees need to report any changes in their circumstances that they have not previously reported to HMRC, for example, changes to working hours, income etc. HMRC has a specialist support team through the tax credits helpline that employees can contact if they cannot renew online.
Employers can help encourage their employees to renew their tax credits by:
The main points to be noted by employers from Autumn Budget 2017, as announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond are:
A few changes have been made on methods of making payments to HMRC:
HMRC would encourage all their customers to use the following methods to make payments:
These methods are more secure and can save the customer time and the expense of going to the Post Office or Bank.
HMRC’s Annual Report and Accounts for the tax year 2016-17 revealed the best results for customer service performance. The report sets out HMRC’s latest performance results which includes the collection of £28.9 billion from compliance activities, which exceeded their government target. With total tax revenues of £574.9 billion, this report shows record tax revenues for the seventh year in a row. The Annual Report is available here.
HMRC online services and new improvements have made it easier for customers to obtain information, advice and support. The improvements have also made it easier to process returns which has lead to an increased number of HMRC customers going digital. For example, over 9.4 million HMRC customers accessed their Personal Tax account online and HMRC conducted over 1.6 million web chats.
Customers can still contact HMRC by telephone or post seven days a week. The average call waiting time for customers to get through to HMRC during 2016-17 was approximately 4 minutes. Postal levels are the lowest in recent years.
Regarding renewing tax credits, nearly 2.5 million did so ahead of the deadline of 31st July 2016 and around one million people renewed their tax credits online, an increase of 30% on the previous year.
HMRC’s Charter Annual Report sets out the relationship between HMRC and their customers, what customers can expect from HMRC, and the behaviours HMRC expect from their customers. This helps HMRC strive for their commitment to provide excellent customer service. The Charter Annual Report can be viewed here.
HMRC are currently experiencing issues with a delay in submission responses from RTI submissions. If you are unsure if your submission has been successfully sent, you should receive your confirmation email from HMRC to acknowledge receipt of the RTI submission.
The following message has been added to the PAYE service availability and issues page:
PAYE Real Time Information slow submission responses
HMRC are aware of a technical issue which is causing a delay in submission responses being issued for Real Time Information (RTI) submissions. We are currently investigating the underlying problem and are working hard to resolve this as soon as possible.
If you have received your confirmation email from HMRC to acknowledge receipt of the RTI submission and it still shows as outstanding in BrightPay you can mark the submission as sent and accepted by HMRC.
To mark an FPS as sent in BrightPay:
1) Click the RTI tab heading and select the FPS from the left hand listing.
2) Click the 'Send' button on the menu toolbar and select 'Mark as Sent and Accepted by HMRC'.
This will flag the FPS as sent on BrightPay but the FPS file will not be submitted again to HMRC.
If you are considering employing an apprentice there are some things you should know:
If you employ an apprentice you may be eligible for an apprenticeship grant of £1,500 if you have less than 50 employees and your apprentice is aged between 16 and 24.
If you are providing the training you can apply for training funding to cover some or all of the training costs. Further information is available on the HMRC website.
Employers who have an apprentice will not be required to pay employers National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on their earnings if they are under 25, earning below £45,000 and on an approved UK government apprenticeship. National Insurance category ‘H’ is to be used for apprentices under 25 in qualifying circumstances.
Currently with HMRC if there is an underpayment of tax that is owed at the end of the tax year the process is that it can be coded out, by means of adjusting the tax code for the employee in the next tax year, or the tax is to be paid by the employee in full. From May 2017 onwards HMRC will make automatic adjustment to Pay As You Earn tax codes using real time information as they occur.
HMRC will be watching the data being submitted from Full Payment Submissions by employers and pension companies from April 2017 onwards. HMRC will then be assessing individuals and projecting whether an employee will be due to have an underpayment of tax by the end of the tax year. Where this occurs HMRC will amend the employee’s tax code in order for the collection of the tax be in the current tax year and not be left owed at the end of the tax year. This proactive approach from HMRC ensures that the majority of tax owed will be collected in the same tax year.
The main points to be noted by employers from Spring Budget 2017 announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond are:
• The personal tax allowance will increase by £500 from £11,000 to £11,500 from 6th April 2017 as previously announced, this is in line with the government's goal to have the personal tax allowance at £12,500 by 2020.
• The Dividend Allowance will decrease by £3,000 from £5,000 to £2,000 from 6th April 2018. This means that there is no tax payable on dividend payments up to £2,000 from April 2018 onwards. Any dividends above this allowance will be taxed at 7.5% for basic-rate taxpayers, 32.5% for higher-rate taxpayers and 38.1% for additional-rate taxpayers.
• There were no changes regarding company car and van charges or fuel charges.
• In the Finance Bill 2017, legislation will be introduced by the government about dates where an employee can make a payment in return for a Benefit in Kind they receive, this can reduce the taxable value of the Benefit in Kind. The 6th of July after the end of that tax year has been decided by the government, so if employees make a payment for the BIK before that date, they can reduce the taxable value of the BIK or remove if payment in full is made. This will be for the 2017-18 tax year and following tax years.
• Termination payments over £30,000 which are subject to income tax currently from April 2018 will be subject to Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) The first £30,000 of a termination payment will remain exempt from Income Tax and NICs. In the Finance Bill 2017, the tax treatment of termination payments will be clarified and this will include all contractual and non-contractual payments in lieu of notice taxable as earnings and requiring employers to tax the equivalent of an employee’s basic pay if notice is not worked. The changes, including to Foreign Service Relief, will take effect from 6 April 2018.
• The Money Purchase Annual Allowance to £4,000 will be reduced from April 2017, down from £10,000. This restricts the amount of tax relieved contributions an individual can make in a year into a money purchase pension, if they have flexibly accessed their pension savings.
• The Government is carrying out the first statutory review of State Pension Age and the details will be published in their review by 7th May 2017.
• HMRC's compliance team are monitoring employers that are claiming the Employment Allowance, as it has been reported that some employers are using avoidance schemes to avoid paying National Insurance amounts due.
Electronic Notification - HMRC will be sending out email notifications from 18th February up until the 5th March to notify employers that P9 coding notices for the tax year 2017-18 are available to view online. HMRC have advised employers to ensure when logging into their online account to ensure they have the correct tax year selected, 2017-18. And also if the notices are not available that day, to leave it 24 hours and log in the next day and the P9s should be available to be viewed.
HMRC have commenced to send out the P9 paper coding notices and employers should expect to receive them up until the 17th March, although some employers may receive this notifications up until 20th March. If for some reason the employer does not receive the paper coding notice before the 6th April 2017, the employer may contact HMRC Employer Helpline on 0300 200 3200 and request a duplicate. Just to note the duplicate will only be made for the full employer PAYE scheme and no individual tax codes will be sent for individual employees. HMRC have advised that the duplicate requests may take up to 14 working days.