RTI switchover: Computer says no until 6 April
HMRC has been trying to resolve a logjam that is likely to occur when real time information (RTI) filing gets under way in earnest in early April.
As is traditional at the turn of the tax year, HMRC schedules several days of downtime for its web gateway to update its mainframe computers so with new rules, rates and functionality. Doing the work at another time would cost too much in extra contractors’ fees.
With Easter falling on 31 March, and millions of companies under orders to start filing their RTI submissions from 6 April, the potential for chaos and frustration is particularly acute in 2013.
In response to pressure from professional bodies and software suppliers, HMRC and its contractors have undertaken to complete the job between 3-6 April. And nobody will be able to submit RTI returns until the overhaul is complete.
Those already filing under the RTI pilot scheme will also be affected as the validation tests for 2013-14 will be different to the ones that are currently being applied.
There is no question of anyone getting caught by penalties, as HMRC has vowed not to levy penalties for late/inaccurate RTI submissions to HMRC until 2014 (except for the final payment due each year, for which the penalty regime will be the same as the one currently operating for P35/P14).
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