HMRC retires PAYE software accreditation scheme
One of the unheralded victims of HMRC’s drive towards Real Time Information (RTI) for the PAYE Online system is the department’s software accreditation scheme.
Since it first introduced online filing, HMRC has maintained a list of software developers that have passed its basic tests for filing PAYE forms online. Many companies - and AccountingWEB - used this list as a basic source for potential suppliers.
There was a second tier of accreditation, where software suppliers went through a more rigorous assessment against HMRC’s payroll software standard.
But with the focus on RTI, those schemes were retired on 6 April 2012, replaced by a new “enhanced recognition scheme” that involves less testing and policing by HMRC.
HMRC’s RTI software forms page explains that the new listing covers whether a program can file valid RTI submissions of the following types: Full Payment Submissions (FPS), Employer Payment Summary (EPS), Employer Alignment Submission (EAS); and National Insurance number verification request (NVR). It will also carry out a range of tests to check basic payroll values.
HMRC's basic payroll tests will not include every possible payroll function and the site advises employers to contact suppliers to ensure programs handle all the necessary functionality.
“The new recognition process goes some way to address the concerns that accreditation processes are resource-intensive both to the developers and to HMRC, whilst ensuring a common standard.," an HMRC spokesman told AccountingWEB.
“The requirements for the new recognition process were drawn up in consultation with representatives of the payroll software industry. They are simpler and bring PAYE into line with the approach taken for suppliers of, for example, Corporation Tax software. This means that we will be able to focus HMRC resources on the quality of all payroll products rather than the limited numbers seeking accreditation.”
QTAC technical director and BASDA payroll and HR software special interest group chairman Alex Rowson accepted this rationale: ““Accreditation was a useful thing at the beginning,” he said. In recent years it became less of a differentator because everyone assumed that developers had it.
He continued: “I regret it going, because you haven’t got that badge of HMRC assurance. But the biggest advantage was the huge volume of test data they provided. We lobbied to keep that.”