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Right on time?

Notwithstanding the teething problems with HMRC’s Real Time Information project, organisations need to make sure their software is ready for its imminent arrival. BASDA’s advice is sound – and Richard Young has been asking around for other practical tips, too.

Under HMRC’s Real Time Information (RTI) programme, employers will be required to file payroll data “on or before” payments are made to employees through PAYE. On the face of it, the idea looks sound. This is a digital-era solution that quenches a thirst for accurate data, and HMRC admits it’s “the biggest change to the operation of PAYE in more than 60 years.” It kicks off in April.

But big change usually comes with big challenges, and RTI is no exception. The biggest of these has been around the “on or before” stipulation which says payment data has to be filed in, well, “real time”. “Cash-based businesses would really have a problem with the need to log payments that way,” says Emily Coltman, chief accountant at Freeagent Central and IT Faculty committee member.