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Auto-enrolment, not declared

A new client hasn't Declared to the Pension Regulator original date was 2018.

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We picked up a new client on on getting all of their information together we noticed that they never declared for Auto-Enrolment despite the declaration date being 2018. It is a Director only Ltd.

They don't appear to have been chased by the Pension Regulator.

I am not sure how to proceed. Let sleeping dogs lie and carry on as the client and previous advisers did for 3 years or declare now and potentially release the hornets nest.

Any suggestions?

Replies (13)

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By Leywood
26th Aug 2021 14:53

Did they not just opt for exemption at the time?https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/business-advisers/automatic-e...

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Replying to Leywood:
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By Paul Crowley
26th Aug 2021 15:04

That is indeed the likely answer
We have 25 or so such companies
I am sure the regulator follows up any non-compliance

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By JohnStead
26th Aug 2021 16:20

On the Pension Regulator's website it is still showing the Declaration Deadline as 2019 and there is a link "Start Declaration". Would it still do this if they had already notified that the PR that they don't need to?

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Replying to JohnStead:
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By Wanderer
26th Aug 2021 18:21

No it wouldn't.

As long as it applies tell them to complete the 'Not an employer' routine & the problem should go away.
https://automation.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/notanemployer

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RLI
By lionofludesch
26th Aug 2021 18:14

They should've declared something.

Even if it was that they had no qualifying employees.

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By kestrepo
27th Aug 2021 11:52

Have they been making the correct employee pension deductions and employer contributions in line with the Auto-enrolment regulations? If so the declaration to the Pension Regulator is in my opinion a formality that has been overlooked and easily rectified - if not it is thinking caps on time!!

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Replying to kestrepo:
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By Hugo Fair
27th Aug 2021 12:52

OP said "It is a Director only Ltd."

So there was no need (under AE) to set-up a Pension scheme, let alone to pay any (ER or EE) contributions.

But there was a need to complete the Declaration ... the absence of which I'm very surprised to hear has not been noticed by TPR.

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Replying to kestrepo:
RLI
By lionofludesch
27th Aug 2021 13:04

kestrepo wrote:

Have they been making the correct employee pension deductions and employer contributions in line with the Auto-enrolment regulations? If so the declaration to the Pension Regulator is in my opinion a formality that has been overlooked and easily rectified - if not it is thinking caps on time!!

Easily rectified - but there might be a fine.

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RedFive
By RedFive
05th Dec 2021 22:39

Did you get anywhere with this?

Just had a client receive a penalty notice of £16000 for not completing the declaration.

The fine is £500 per day.

Small pub with 16 staff.

Original declaration was done but the 3 year renewal wasn’t. six months ago.

Note that all pension requirements have been met with all staff in NEST that qualify and no opt outs.

Client is appealing as penalty notice went to previous address not registered office address which is why it was missed.

Client changed payroll providers and they missed it too.

Lucky for us we don’t do the payroll.

Made me sit up and take notice and do a sweep of all our clients we do payroll for though.

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Replying to RedFive:
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By Hugo Fair
06th Dec 2021 10:09

Once all the phased AE commencement dates had passed (2017), TPR moved into a communication/encouragement mode ... and then finally into enforcement mode, which has been their primary focus since before the pandemic arrived.
So, making you "sit up and take notice" is very much part of their intentions!

The key that many employers don't seem to realise is that AE is every bit as much an ongoing/continuous activity as PAYE ... not a 'done it, now move on' action.

BTW that fine seems very high and is indicative of an accelerator for ignoring previous attempts by TPR to get something done ... so maintaining up-to-date contact details is highly desirable. Also, unlike HMRC, TPR have a willingness to listen even after a penalty has been issued - so it may be worth your client explaining everything to them.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
RedFive
By RedFive
06th Dec 2021 10:34

Thanks Hugo, I agree with your sentiment.

After the intial £400 which went to the previous registered address it then went at £500 per day for 28 days so is actually £14,400 not £16k as I said.

I'm not sure if the 28 days is a maximum charge or not. TPR just said it stopped after 28 days. Nothing on their website gives an indication to maximum penalties.

Only the email enforcing collection landed in my clients inbox so hopefully an appeal on the grounds of incorrect serving of the notice will work. Have to say though TPR website fines & appeals page do not give me much hope.

On my sweep through I found a client who should have declared in 2016 and has been outstanding since. Sole trader, no employees but has a PAYE reference from being a CIS contractor. TPR dashboard shows overdue declaration. We took the client on in 2018 and never gave TPR a thought given his status.

I need to pick that up next and it's burning like a hot potato.

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Replying to RedFive:
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By Paul Crowley
06th Dec 2021 10:39

We have put through a lot as non employers
Could that have been done at the time?

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RedFive
By RedFive
06th Dec 2021 10:46

Yeah we did that for all our single directors companies.

But this one is on the dashboard as outstanding. In big red letters.

If you try and add a ‘non employer’ you get an error message.

I also wonder how many people are informing TPR of those that then become employers to trigger the 3 yearly declaration.

While we’ve been white hot on enrolling in month 1 and doing everything right with NEST I must admit I have a couple where we didn’t then trigger a TPR declaration.

Suffice to say I didn’t sleep much last night.

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