HMRC have advised that if an employee needs to take time off sick or to self-isolate due to COVID-19, the first 3 waiting days that normally apply for SSP will be disregarded and the employee will be entitled to receive SSP from the first day.
We have programmed BrightPay 20/21 so that there is a new option for ‘COVID-19 Related Sick Leave’ and, by choosing this option, the software will automatically apply any SSP due to the employee from day one. Whereas, if you were to choose the normal SSP, the software will take into account the usual 3 waiting days.
With the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, the employer can claim for up to 2 weeks sick leave for an employee that cannot work due to COVID-19, and also those who are self-isolating or shielding, subject to eligibility criteria.
An SSP Claim Report is available in BrightPay to assist users in ascertaining the amounts needed for input into HMRC's Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme online service.
Processing COVID-19 related Statutory Sick Pay is easy in BrightPay. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you do it.
Processing COVID-19 Related Sick Leave in BrightPay
It is important to note that if existing payment records have not been recorded in BrightPay or if there is insufficient historical payroll data to determine the employee's average weekly earnings, the automatic calculation may be inaccurate or not possible. In this instance, you can manually override the employee’s average weekly earnings.
BrightPay’s Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme Claim Report
As mentioned, BrightPay also has a claim report to assist users in determining the amounts that you can reclaim through the Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme. This report can be found within the ‘Employees’ tab in BrightPay.
Each claim report generated in the software is stand-alone and no data is saved each time a claim report is run. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have exported the report, so that you don’t lose the information.
Furloughed employees retain their statutory rights, including their right to Statutory Sick Pay, and so furloughed employees who become ill must be paid at least the rate of SSP, subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria. You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.
If an employee becomes sick while furloughed, it is up to the employers to decide whether to move these employees onto Statutory Sick Pay or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate. If the employee is moved onto SSP, employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary. Whereas, if the employee is kept on the furloughed rate, they remain eligible for the employer to claim for these costs through the furlough scheme.
Want to keep up-to-date with the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and businesses? We’re holding regular webinars to share with you all news relating to HMRC updates, what employers need to know and how you can make sure you’re complying with best practices at all times.
Click here to watch our previous webinars on-demand, where we cover everything from important COVID-19 payroll updates to return to work government policies and more.
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HMRC has announced that the online portal or service for employers to make claims relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is planned to be launched on 20th April 2020. In order to process the claim employers must have:
Employers will need the following for the claim:
An employee that was furloughed has to be on furlough leave for a minimum of 3 weeks in a row in order to be eligible under the reclaim scheme. Employees may have been placed on furlough leave multiple times but each period has to be a minimum of 3 weeks in a row.
The amount the employer is coming to claim from HMRC must be calculated by the employer. They may use records from their payroll software to help ascertain the amount of the claim. Where employees were already placed on furlough leave claims can be backdated until 1st March. Authorised agents that have the capacity to act on behalf of their clients for PAYE matters will be able to claim on behalf of their clients. But agents with permission to file only and payroll bureaus will not have the ability to access this service on behalf of their clients. But file only agents may have to assist their clients in order to be able to make the claim and are being encouraged by HMRC to help where they can.
HMRC will check each claim made for each employer and if the employer fulfils the criteria for the scheme then payment will be made by HMRC into the UK bank account by BACs transfer. HMRC reserves the right to audit any employers’ claim under this scheme.
HMRC has issued details regarding the latest Advisory Fuel Rates for company cars.
From the 1st December 2019 employers may use the old rates or new rates for one month. Employers are under no obligation to make supplementary payments to reflect the new rates but can do so if they wish. Hybrid cars are treated as either petrol or diesel cars for this purpose for the fuel rates.
The rates are as below:
|Engine Size||Petrol- amount per mile||LPG - amount per mile|
|1400cc or less||12 pence||8 pence|
|1401cc to 2000cc||14 pence||9 pence|
|Over 2000cc||21 pence||14 pence|
|Engine Size||Diesel - amount per mile|
For fully electric cars the Advisory Electricity Rate is 4 pence per mile. But electricity is not a fuel for car fuel benefit purposes. Please click here to see all details as per HMRC.
HMRC have confirmed they are continuing the three day easement for filing of Full Payment Submissions that was introduced in 2015. Employers are required to file their PAYE information to HMRC on or before each payment date, which is the statutory filing date, unless the circumstances set out in the 'sending an FPS after payday guidance' are met. The three day easement is not an extension to the statutory filing date. No late filing penalties will be charged for late filing up to three days after the statutory filing date.
Employers can get a penalty in the following circumstances:
HMRC had advised they will not charge a penalty if:
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.