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Real Time PAYE awareness campaign launches

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has kicked off its Real Time Information (RTI) awareness campaign and will be writing to more than 1.4 million employers over the next month.

RTI is due to start in April 2013, and will change the way that employers report on and send PAYE data to HMRC. By October 2013, all employers and pension providers will have to use RTI, as it is vital for Universal Credit to work.

A pilot of the scheme was launched in April 2012, and participants have been providing details of tax, national insurance and other salary deductions in real time as opposed to at the end of the tax year.

For RTI to work all employers will have to prepare, which is why HMRC is launching its campaign now. Measures that employers will have to take include:

  • Cleaning data - for RTI to work, the data held by employers on their employees must be as clean as possible. Information such as name, address and national insurance number must be correct and up to date to ensure that HMRC can match records correctly and ensure the right amount of deductions are paid.
  • Payroll alignment - all employers will have to provide HMRC with an extract of all employees in their PAYE scheme that tax year, regardless of whether they have since left. HMRC will then compare this data with data they already have to ensure records are accurate and up to date. 
  • Change internal processes - employers may have to change their internal processes to accommodate RTI, including the payroll software used as this will need to be updated for RTI.

Commenting, HMRC's director general, Ruth Owen said: "Don't put it off - April 2013, when Real Time Information becomes a reality, is now less than six months away.

"The letters going out to employers include a useful help sheet, which tells them what to do to get ready for the change. Employers should read that and take action such as speaking to their payroll software provider or payroll service provider and checking their employee data is accurate.

"Employers in the pilot who are already using RTI are telling us how straightforward and easy to use it is once you prepare."

As your accountant we will help you to prepare for RTI, please contact us.