RTI & PAYE Reconciliation Headaches – Don’t Panic!

We have recently been helping our client’s resolve issues in relation to what PAYE liabilities HMRC say they are expecting to what has actually been paid, or, at the other end of the spectrum, you have paid more than you need to!

Initial correspondence received from HMRC either by post, or telephone, immediately lead you to believe an FPS (Full payment submission) or EPS (employer payment summary) hasn’t been received, or, had incorrect figures on thus leading to a discrepancy on your PAYE account. Those relying on their payroll software to remit accurate figures assume something has gone awry. We are aware that some payroll programmes don’t hold reference to the figures that were submitted on your FPS, proving it difficult to reconcile the figures. It’s sometimes easy just to “pay up – HMRC must know what they are talking about as they have all our data”, and leaves you wondering “I must be doing something wrong”, “my payroll system isn’t picking up all relevant data/making the correct calculations”

In each of the cases dealt with by our payroll team recently, where the client was sure they had been keeping up to date with their payments, the discrepancies had nothing to do with the FPS or EPS submissions, or Real Time at all! There were no under/overpayments in these cases, HMRC had received all FPS submissions and were able to agree figures over the phone. It did take a call to HMRC to resolve the situation, but any initial “Real Time gone wrong” feelings were soon put to bed. Sometimes it can be a simple case of incorrect payment allocation/timing of processing submissions, but we found, overall, the figures for the whole year rather than a particular period balanced.

If you find yourself in this situation, our advice is:

  • Check your FPS history to ensure all your submissions are up to date and were successful
  • Check you have submitted any EPS due to ensure HMRC are aware you won’t be paying all the tax and NIC’s stated on your FPS as you are recovering Statutory payments/ CIS tax suffered/ NIC holiday (prior to 5th September)
  • Check all PAYE payments are up to date, have debited your bank account and were submitted with your Accounts Office Reference

If you are happy you have done your bit – don’t be afraid to give HMRC a call. We are finding them increasingly helpful in relation to Real Time Information; it’s a learning curve for them as well!
Alternatively, contact Alexander & Co, we will be happy to help, we already are, we recently brought the issue up at a HMRC Working Together meeting to point out recent correspondence had caused employers to immediately suspect something was going wrong with their Real Time Reporting, here’s what they had to say:

“The business area is grateful that this was brought to their attention and apologises that such an unclear letter has been used. Such letters were issued in error and amended guidance has been given to staff as to the revised content. No such further letters should now be received”

If you aren’t already, it’s a good idea to register to use HMRCs PAYE online services so you can view your PAYE account. Although there can be time delays updating the payments received to the service, it could prove a useful tool. Agents aren’t able to view client PAYE accounts yet, but HMRC are working on it.

If you are finding Real Time is time consuming, or just your payroll duties in general, why not outsource to Alexander & Co? Give us a call on 0161 8324841 to discuss your needs.