Written by Stewart Waddell
Published on July 12, 2013

I am being careful not to suggest that every Payroll Outsourcing Company had the same preparation process prior to April 6th 2013. I am being careful when I suggest that some provider’s preparation process was little more than waiting for the date with apprehension armed with a HMRC helpline number set to speed dial. I can say with the utmost confidence that Dataplan Payroll Limited were ‘RTI Ready’.

Our current partners and clients will remember the large scale Data cleanse exercise we undertook in the months before going live, enabling us to have the very latest information on record for the alignment with HMRC. Many of our partners found this a useful exercise themselves – particularly sectors where there was a frequently large employee turnover. The exercise enabled the update and implementation of all records in an efficient and organised manner using the software we provided on our ePaysafe portal.

After 6th April, with the process of Alignment complete, it was interesting to note the sheer diversity in success rates across the UK. In the rare event that we had to contact HMRC with small queries, it was commonplace to be met with automated message of a 30 minute waiting time to speak to an advisor and this can be interpreted differently depending on opinion. One view is that the sheer scale of RTI . 99.9% of employers submitting information on the same day was always going to lead to numerous queries and frustrations. The other view is perhaps questioning the Revenues provision of information prior to RTI going live. Information was often either too brief or overly detailed for the smaller employer and some were completely oblivious to the largest change to Pay legislation in 70 years.

In May it was reported that some 600,000 employers across the UK were still not reporting PAYE information in Real Time. This does not include the smallest of employers (fewer than 50 personnel) who are granted until October 2013 before they have to start reporting. By now penalties will have been issued and perhaps some of these employers deserve our sympathy Businesses were arguably failed by HMRC with poor quality helpdesks and a confusing scatter-gun approach of information distribution. The costs to these Businesses for implementing the correct software to report RTI should also be taken in to account when discussing those not yet conforming to RTI.

Now in July, with the majority now well underway with the new legislation , RTI is facing criticism from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) due to the cost of implementation being almost triple what the Government predicted in 2010 –(£311m) . HMRC’s defence stance is that RTI as we know it was not how they envisaged RTI in 2010, with major changes addressed in the 2012 pilot scheme involving 60,000 employers.

For some organisations, Real Time reporting was a step too far in cost, implementation and maintenance. This is where payroll providers like Dataplan step in and ease the burden of RTI which divides opinion on almost everything except – it is here to stay.