Have you hit the RTI information gap?

Hemera/Thinkstock

Accountants and payroll service providers are beginning to report minor misalignments with PAYE data submitted via RTI and cannot access the live figures to verify that they have reconciled clients’ PAYE records successfully.

Bacs service provider CreDec reported on the issue in a statement on its AccountingWEB supplier page and has liaised with ICAEW Tax Faculty chair (and AccountingWEB roving editor) Rebecca Benneyworth about the problem.

Under the security arragements on the government web gateway, once an agent has filed a client’s full payment submission...

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Comments
derek44's picture

HMRC Feedback    1 thanks

derek44 | | Permalink

To not be able to see figures once they have been submitted boggles belief. What sort of eejits have worked at HMRC on this?

Correct me if I am missing

fpdbookkeeping | | Permalink

Correct me if I am missing something here, but on my payroll software, it shows me the totals before I send them, so it is fairly easy to check. If they then make a mistake with it later on, it is a nuisance, but ultimately it is their job to check their own work. They don't pay me to do it. It would be useful to be able to check the figures online, but ultimately, reconciling their own accounts is their job - provided the data is submitted correctly, that is their problem.

Or am I misunderstanding the point of the article?

It's Always Been The Same

Mallock | | Permalink

Agents have never been able to get online details of PAYE payments and allocations which is frankly stupid beyond belief. We have several 2012/13 under and overpayment notices at present - how exactly are we supposed to tell the client how the underpayment for 2012/13 arose when we can't see what's been paid or allocated?

These cases can normally be resolved on the phone but at a cost the client often doesn't believe belongs to them (in particular when HMRC have used a bit of random allocation).

thought that was the objective

The Black Knight | | Permalink

I thought that was the objective HMRC can't do reconciliations and don't see why we should have this option.

They have long refused to provide information from their end because we have this skill and they don't.

no reconciliation = no visible problem = government objective (problem elimination) achieved

Just another HMRC pigs ear did anyone actually believe it would work?

My Accounts package works    2 thanks

cherub | | Permalink

My Accounts package works with the nominal link from Payroll, meaning I can check my figures instantly before I make the payments.  I always have checked my nominals before making any payment to ensure they are accurate.

BUT I can see what people mean, the HMRC should be in REAL TIME showing balances due right up to date.  What do they be doing with the figures?  Is it really that they have created something they did not think about before launching!

Another waste of time and money by HMRC!  I think everyone knew it would not work.

TomMcClelland's picture

Reconciliation    2 thanks

TomMcClelland | | Permalink

fpdbookkeeping wrote:

Correct me if I am missing something here, but on my payroll software, it shows me the totals before I send them, so it is fairly easy to check. If they then make a mistake with it later on, it is a nuisance, but ultimately it is their job to check their own work. They don't pay me to do it. It would be useful to be able to check the figures online, but ultimately, reconciling their own accounts is their job - provided the data is submitted correctly, that is their problem.

Or am I misunderstanding the point of the article?

 

The problem arises when HMRC claims that the amount you owe for the month/quarter isn't the same as the amount your payroll software P32 is telling you.

We have seen several instances of this, but not yet a single confirmed instance where the payroll software was at fault or the amount filed was incorrect. But because all the accounts office and tax office seems to have is the total figures you can't tell *why* there is a difference between their demand and what you think they owe. And some accounts office operators take the (ridiculous) line that their system must be perfect therefore the error is the client or their payroll software. In one case the amount claimed by HMRC was more than 10x the client's P32 figure.

We've been advocating since RTI was first on the drawing board that there has to be the possibility of a reconciliation process, where the payroll software can draw back employee level detail from HMRC's systems, and compare that with the current P11s. Every time we suggested it, everyone agrees that the system needs this facility, but nothing ever happens.

Tom 7000's picture

Client log ins now Very Important

Tom 7000 | | Permalink

fpdbookkeeping wrote:

Correct me if I am missing something here, but on my payroll software, it shows me the totals before I send them, so it is fairly easy to check. If they then make a mistake with it later on, it is a nuisance, but ultimately it is their job to check their own work. They don't pay me to do it. It would be useful to be able to check the figures online, but ultimately, reconciling their own accounts is their job - provided the data is submitted correctly, that is their problem.

Or am I misunderstanding the point of the article?

I think the point is you tell the client to pay £22,345.67 PAYE. They pay this to the vat account and the 6,425.36 that is vat to paye. Because it doesnt really matter does it? Then they pay in £141.32 which is actually a notification of interest due on CT to them. Their personal tax gets paid to their wifes account and theirs gets paid to CT....and on and on

 

So someone has to sort it all out. So... if we can see whats going on its easy...

 

Yes the answer is here already  and its what we are doing....getting all the clients their own individual logins, recording the detals and then using that to access it. Bit long winded but needs must and all that.

RTI    2 thanks

richardotley | | Permalink

We have a number of ex armed forces clients who recieve a government pension  and second a earned income.

In the past we have had ESC A19 issues.

Last week I attempted to reconcile a client via RTI. HMRC informed me that Xfinity (the Armed forces pension provider) is outside the sope of RTI and not reporting. Therefore they cannot provide in year figures for my client although the pension is paid through PAYE.

RTI Nightmare!    2 thanks

susan2carter | | Permalink

I have just hit my first reconciliation problem. One of my clients has accessed their business dashboard, which is showing approximately a £1200 overpayment.  However, the PAYE they have paid is in line with the figures I have provided.  

I telephoned the Accounts Office last week but they cannot give me a breakdown of their figures and suggested that I ring the Employer's Helpline, which I have still to do.  It's not a call I relish, that is when I do eventually get through and I cannot see the problem will be easily reconciled.  And this is only 3 months into RTI, imagine the nightmare at the end of the tax year.

Several potential causes for discrepancies    4 thanks

Mike Nicholas | | Permalink

In October 2012, HMRC implemented a new debt management system. It is inevitable that there are operational problems.

In addition, there are processing issues within HMRC's NPS system. For example, it is known that duplicate employee (and pension recipient) records are being created. One effect of this is inaccurate tax codes but another serious defect is the doubling up of YTD values for tax etc which will impact on the amounts that HMRC calculate as due for a tax period. This is because – unless HMRC have changed their computer processes – the tax due is determined by the movement in the YTD values from one period to the next based on FPS returns.

There are also timing issues. An EPS for say tax month 4 (‘July’) submitted on say 19 June will probably appear in HMRC’s system as relevant to June.

Looking beyond HMRC’s systems, there is plenty of scope for errors in software and payroll processing. I doubt that every payroll product is accurately performing RTI submissions. And if an adjustment is processed is this included at the right time in a FPS and in the calculations that an employer (pension payer) performs? Furthermore, some employers (and perhaps their agents) rely on the figures in the general /nominal ledger for identifying and making payment of tax etc to HMRC, but inevitably there will be errors here too.

In my opinion, this reconciliation problem is the most serious issue to have been identified so far under RTI. With hindsight, greater controls were (and remain) required – such as a P35-like summary for each batch of FPS returns so that any discrepancy can be isolated by HMRC with feedback to the originator.   

It seems highly likely, based on current knowledge and processes, that HMRC will not be in a position to establish with accuracy the tax etc due for many if not all PAYE schemes for any tax year. As a taxpayer I find this to be unacceptable.  

 

Timing errors by HMRC

JDBENJAMIN | | Permalink

I have already had to waste two hours on one of these matters. HMRC booked Month 2's NIC figure into Month 1, as a result of which there was an apparent underpayment on M1 and a matching overpayment on M2. They were too stupid to see what had happened and only mentioned the M1 underpayment to my client, so it took about a dozen calls and emails between me, the client and HMRC to sort it all out. I told them in future to look at the totals for the year to date before claiming there is an underpayment. Meanwhile I have had to request logins for every single PAYE client to get around the problem of lack of access to PAYE payments through the agent login.

TomMcClelland's picture

Most serious RTI issue    1 thanks

TomMcClelland | | Permalink

Mike Nicholas wrote:

...

In my opinion, this reconciliation problem is the most serious issue to have been identified so far under RTI. With hindsight, greater controls were (and remain) required – such as a P35-like summary for each batch of FPS returns so that any discrepancy can be isolated by HMRC with feedback to the originator.   

...

Agreed. The equivalent of P35/P14 monthly would help.

The ability to file a DPS request asking for the details for HMRC's figures at employee level would be invaluable.

Tim Robinson's picture

Business Tax Dashboard    2 thanks

Tim Robinson | | Permalink

Would someone from HMRC explain why it is that agents can access much less information than clients can from their Business Tax Dashboard?  Some of my colleagues advocate not bothering with an agent authorisation when more information is available through the Business Tax Dashboard, just get the client to sign up and give us their login.  What price HMRC's 'agent view' of us when no 64-8s are in place so they don't actually know who we act for!

Rebecca - can you ask HMRC why it would take a couple of years for agents to be able to see what is already available to taxpayers - we all know that the current situation is ridiculous and to have to wait perhaps two years for it to be corrected is an insult.  This needs to be highlighted to HMRC in no uncertain terms.

Awkward squad

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Tim Robinson wrote:

Would someone from HMRC explain why it is that agents can access much less information than clients can from their Business Tax Dashboard?  Some of my colleagues advocate not bothering with an agent authorisation when more information is available through the Business Tax Dashboard, just get the client to sign up and give us their login.  What price HMRC's 'agent view' of us when no 64-8s are in place so they don't actually know who we act for!

Rebecca - can you ask HMRC why it would take a couple of years for agents to be able to see what is already available to taxpayers - we all know that the current situation is ridiculous and to have to wait perhaps two years for it to be corrected is an insult.  This needs to be highlighted to HMRC in no uncertain terms.

Because that's what the awkward squad do best. Make peoples lives awkward. Surprised you had to ask?

yearly or monthly reconciliation period

Joss | | Permalink

For collection purposes, HMRC used to treat every year as a separate account. This used to cause issues because they could not automatically carry forward an under or over payment from an earlier period (year). And when you rang them, you needed to ask them to physically change screens to look in previous years in order to ensure they could reconcile to your figures.

From what I understand from this thread, it appears they are now treating every month as a separate account. This is simply not tenable. They need to treat each month's liability as one transaction in an ongoing account. A radical overhaul is required.

RTI Information Gap

Cherry Matthews | | Permalink

As some have already pointed out some software and certainly Sage, which I use allows you to print off a P32 before submitting an FPS or EPS. Having been involved in payroll bureaux, my own and other practises for many years and am proficient in calculating payroll manually, I automatically check these anyway and find it hard to believe that some don't! HMRC are insisting that the month reference as well as the accounts reference should accompany the payment. The only queries I have had to date have been by clients NOT including these details. Regarding the Business dashboard, I agree as agents we should have access and whilst not perfect am in the process of asking clients to sign up and pass their ID to us to use. I agree whole heartedly that HMRC are far from perfect but we shouldn't blame them for our own short comings!! 

DMGbus's picture

P32 OK, HMRC correct once and HMRC wrong once - raises questions

DMGbus | | Permalink

The problem appears to be at HMRC end of the data handling.

Employers helpline wlll see the P32 (per software) correct total and breakdown of figures, but Collector of Taxes (and online liability) will differ with Collector of Taxes having no access to figures that Employers Helpline have (Collector of Taxes and online liability has no drill down to individual employees figures making up an alleged liability).

The questions therefore are as follows:

"Why can't Collector see Employer Helpine figures?"

"Why can't Employer Helpline see Collector figures?"

"Why does Collector see figures higher than the FPS minus EPS = P32?"

"Is HMRC at fault with their design specifications?"

"Are HMRC's software writers at fault by not following HMRC's design specs?"

"Or is just one of those things where no one is to blame as HMRC are using employers as guineau pigs to test their imperfect defective software?"

 

 

 

 

Not rocket science    1 thanks

North East Acco... | | Permalink

Why don't HMRC just have a PAYE account for each employer.

Employers submit FPS and EPS self assessing liabilities and all PAYE payments allocated to account.

In the real world this is what happens for all customers and suppliers. They have a statement of account.

While they are on they can do it for Corp Tax as well to avoid the idiotic system of a new reference every year.

Its not rocket science!

Agents unable to view PAYE payments

txcjg | | Permalink

It is not just an RTI problem, although RTI has made matters worse.

In PAYE overpayment cases HMRC have refused to provide details of how they have allocated payments and even refused to reallocate to a later year!

HMRC still do not understand that in many cases the agent deals with payroll because the client either does not understand or does not want to deal. The clients only involvement being paying staff and HMRC. In many cases small clients pay round sum amounts depending on cash flow.

The online helpdesk advised in April 2013 that HMRC has no plans to give agents access to PAYE payments.

An agent can see and reconcile CT and SA payments but not PAYE which is crazy. This makes additional work for both HMRC and the agent with additional costs for the employer.

HMRC need to update their systems sooner rather than later so that Agents can access PAYE payments.

Chris

HMRC live in a dream world

kenatnam | | Permalink

And HMRC famously told all employers that their payroll processing costs would come down under RTI.....

DMGbus's picture

New problems...

DMGbus | | Permalink

 

Today I see that we have a notice that there are new PAYE codes issued (a list of perhaps 15 employer clients) ... good, I think, perhaps some of the coding errors have been put right ..,. WRONG...

...click to view new PAYE codes and get the message:

Displaying 0 - 0 out of 0 records for Tax year 2012/13 

(for dates 25/06/2013 to 02/07/2013)

so, change the dates (start 01/01/2013, end 02/07/2013) and get the message:

Displaying 0 - 0 out of 0 records for Tax year 2012/13 

NEW QUESTION:

"What sort of idiots do HMRC or their software contractors employ?"

wrong tax year

aburt01 | | Permalink

you appear to be looking at 2012/13, perhaps that explains why you can't see the records in June / July 2013.

If you can change the tax year to 13/14 you might see what you want?

DMGbus's picture

HMRC now fixed their error

DMGbus | | Permalink

I was definitely looking at / requesting "current tax year" (I kept screen grabs to prove this).

However, by 3pm same day HMRC  had realised their error and have fixed it - I can now see the current tax year PAYE codes (and some of them look like being actually correct!).

Agent View

staceycga | | Permalink

When we get the new "agent view" it will be an extension of the Business Tax Dashboard and you will be able to reallocate between taxes - which would solve some of the problems mentioned above too - like when the client pays the PAYE to VAT account. You will also be able to see the accounts for your authorised clients for the main business taxes, I have been told this also includes PAYE.

It won't be for a year or two yet though, so don't get too excited.

RTI Nightmare    2 thanks

susan2carter | | Permalink

I finally got through to the employer's helpline, after endless games of telephone bingo.  Press this number and then that number and then another number and then wait in a queue for 20 minutes.  I still haven't managed to solve the overpayment showing on my client's online account.  The Revenue can't seem to reconcile their figures and have escalated it to their Newcastle office.  Interestingly the guy I spoke to said they had not yet processed the June FPS, even though I was calling on Friday 5th July and the FPS was sent online on 25th June.  Apparently they only update their systems TWICE A MONTH!  So what is the urgency when the Revenue say you MUST file your FPS on or before payments are made???

elpis.bs's picture

HMRC have mercy on us!

elpis.bs | | Permalink

We too are under the impression that the online helpdesk advised last year that HMRC has no plans to give agents access to PAYE payments in the near future. 

Agents can access and reconcile other tax affairs and relative payments on behalf of clients enabling them to maintain accurate records thus avoiding unecessary penalties. This is not the case with PAYE and this is beyond belief.

Reconciling is one issue for the client, penalties are another. It would make sense and we feel would simplify matters if agents were to access the clients PAYE/CIS records. Correcting entries, re-allocating transactions, queuing on the phone endlessly or writing letters of appeals is costly to the clients but also to the Agents' reputation for best practice. Clients do not always see that the issue is with the absence of information from HMRC getting to their Agent.

So HMRC have a little mercy on us and please update your systems so that Agents can access PAYE payments and other important records.