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Is HMRC basic tools on it's way out?

HMRC basic tools going, going, gone?

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I attended Xerocon in London last week. Whilst in conversation with an exhibitor about auto-enrolment, he casually mentioned that he had heard HMRC basic tools was to be phased out. Needless to say, this took me by surprise. I have several clients still using basic tools that are unwilling or unable (cost) to move. Is this simply industry gossip or could there some truth to the rumour? 

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By Tim Vane
10th Oct 2017 14:06

I've not heard that it's going, but any business that cannot afford £100 a year for payroll software is not a viable business and, frankly, HMRC should be spending its money (our money) elsewhere than on free software for businesses.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
By SteveHa
11th Oct 2017 13:20

Tim Vane wrote:

HMRC should be spending its money (our money) elsewhere than on free software for businesses.

Especially since they aren't very good at it.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
RLI
By lionofludesch
10th Oct 2017 14:36

We should go back to the days when folk paid their Schedule E in four instalments.

No need for employers to be wasting their time doing the Government's work.

Surely HMRC policy is to make the software so carp that no-one uses it ? Then they have the perfect excuse to withdraw it.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By carnmores
12th Oct 2017 12:37

bloody hell you don't really remember that do you :-) ?

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Replying to Tim Vane:
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By Stephanie Ward
11th Oct 2017 11:02

Tim Vane wrote:

I've not heard that it's going, but any business that cannot afford £100 a year for payroll software is not a viable business and, frankly, HMRC should be spending its money (our money) elsewhere than on free software for businesses.

I use BPT to run a payroll for the two part time personal assistants for my brother's son who has special needs. £100 a year would be a lot to take out of his benefit payments.

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Replying to Stephanie Ward:
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By Alex_T
11th Oct 2017 11:28

I can completely understand why £100 per year wouldn't be viable in this situation. If basic tools is phased out keep in mind Brightpay is free for up to 3 employees and it produces payslips.
Good luck!

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Replying to Stephanie Ward:
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By DMGbus
11th Oct 2017 11:31

Brightpay currently has a free option for small payrolls (three or less employees, I believe). So if this rumour about Basic Tools disappearing is true then at least you'll still have a free option (unless the free option is withdrawn in response to HMRC's Basic Tools ceasing to be).

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Replying to DMGbus:
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By Alex_T
11th Oct 2017 11:56

Agreed! Having a free option available for small clients will be a great help should basic tools go.
I would be very surprised it Brightpay removed the free option given that the demise of basic tools could only be good news for them. Interesting times ahead!

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Replying to Stephanie Ward:
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By carnmores
12th Oct 2017 12:47

tjere are a number of free payroll programs online (upto 3 employees)

http://go.iris.co.uk/FY17P-PPC_FY17P-PPC-Payroll-Software-and-Services.h...

http://www.12pay.co.uk/

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Replying to Tim Vane:
By cfield
11th Oct 2017 11:47

You forget one thing Tim. Employers are acting as unpaid tax collectors. PAYE didn't always exist. Once it was the responsibility of each taxpayer to pay his/her own taxes. The least the Government can do is pay for the means to fulfill the obligations they impose on businesses.

I take your point about payroll software being cheap, but for a very small employer, £100 is still £100 they could have spent on something else, and over the years it can mount up to a significant financial outlay for them.

Most of the cost to the Government for Basic Tools was in the up-front design and implementation. That money has already been spent and is therefore a "sunk cost". Annual maintenance is very low by comparison so the cost argument doesn't really stand up.

Also, don't forget they are now saving huge sums in not having to employ staff to run the old manual systems, so they should be thinking of it as a cost saving measure, not a free service they are so generously giving.

They've already restricted it to payrolls of 50 or less and anyone still using it when there are better solutions for just £100 a year could well be doing so for a good reason. Probably inertia, but perhaps something else.

Hence, they should let it become redundant in the natural course of time rather than trying to force that moment on us, as they are so apt to do these days.

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Replying to cfield:
By Tim Vane
11th Oct 2017 16:24

cfield wrote:
The least the Government can do is pay for the means to fulfill the obligations they impose on businesses.

What utter rot. The cost of compliance with regulations should be factored into the business plan and paid for by the business, not stumped up by the government. Nobody would expect the government to provide my clients with free van insurance because it is a legal requirement of using the van on the road, so why should my clients not expect to pay other costs of complying with regulations. One can always have the point of view that a particular regulation is wrong or overburdensome, but that is a separate argument from having the compliance costs paid for by the taxpayer.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
By cfield
11th Oct 2017 16:43

Tim Vane wrote:

What utter rot. The cost of compliance with regulations should be factored into the business plan and paid for by the business, not stumped up by the government.

I disagree with that because it's a service that is being provided by business to the Government, as opposed to regulations on product standards, health and safety, etc. which directly relate to the goods/services that you are producing, or which apply to us all.

Van insurance is a poor analogy as we all have to pay for that if we want drive our vehicles on the public road and it is necessary for the good of us all, not just to do their work for them.

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Replying to cfield:
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By carnmores
12th Oct 2017 12:50

I agree with Tim, you have to differentiate personal tax software which HMRC sort of provide with business software which they are phasing out which is the right approach as there will hopefully be less [***] ups

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Replying to carnmores:
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By lionofludesch
12th Oct 2017 13:02

carnmores wrote:

I agree with Tim, you have to differentiate personal tax software which HMRC sort of provide with business software which they are phasing out which is the right approach as there will hopefully be less [***] ups

JaysusmaryanJoseph - is this what we've come to ?

There'll be less cokc-ups because nobody uses the Government's software ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By carnmores
12th Oct 2017 14:35

in specialist areas such as tax, YES just look at the self assessment software

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Replying to carnmores:
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By lionofludesch
12th Oct 2017 15:12

Self Assessment is the second best !

VAT comes top - so HMRC are getting shut of that.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By cfield
12th Oct 2017 16:02

lionofludesch wrote:

VAT comes top - so HMRC are getting shut of that.


Whatever happened to that old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?
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Replying to Tim Vane:
Tom McClelland
By TomMcClelland
14th Oct 2017 10:07

Tim Vane wrote:

I've not heard that it's going, but any business that cannot afford £100 a year for payroll software is not a viable business and, frankly, HMRC should be spending its money (our money) elsewhere than on free software for businesses.

Not all employers are businesses.

But there are plenty of other free options from commercial suppliers apart from BPT.

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By Chris Mann
10th Oct 2017 14:53

Given the (almost) exhaustive analysis possibilities, with the likes of; Moneysoft and Brightpay etc and, the highly efficient renewal costs for this type of software, I really am surprised that HMRC persists with the "basic" programme.
You can't even perform a basic function of producing a payslip, almost beyond belief in 2017.
I'd imagine, following any potential announcement, there would be at least a further year to be able to migrate elsewhere.

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Replying to Chris Mann:
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By PBH64
11th Oct 2017 10:01

From the Moneysoft Website

"If you need to send employee pay information for a previous year to HMRC then the only way of doing this is by submitting an Earlier Year Update (EYU), which Moneysoft Payroll Manager cannot do."

"You will need to download and install HMRC Basic PAYE Tools in order to submit an Earlier Year Update to HMRC. "

So neither Moneysoft (and other software) can do the whole job nor can BPT. Until the full range of functionality is in one place it is difficult to see how BPT can go without causing some disruption on the way.

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Replying to PBH64:
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By Alex_T
11th Oct 2017 10:57

This is not quite true, BrightPay now includes Earlier Year Updates (EYU) as part of its very comprehensive functionality. That and the fact that it is free for employers with up to 3 employees makes it a very viable alternative to basic tools.

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Replying to Alex_T:
Morph
By kevinringer
19th Oct 2017 13:45

I've contacted MoneySoft to ask if they plan to include an EYU. Their support have emailed to say "No, we have no plans to do that". If HMRC to axe Basic Tools there's going to be a lot of MoneySoft users looking to change to another product.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By lionofludesch
19th Oct 2017 13:57

Sounds like another VT+ fiasco.

Great piece of kit. Developers can't be bothered to keep it up to date.

However - HMRC haven't announced anything yet, so no need for Moneysoft to go down the route. Yet.

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Replying to PBH64:
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By DMGbus
11th Oct 2017 11:27

Sage Instant payroll is another case where some non-routine (ie not day to day) tasks require the use of Basic Tools according to the software supplier - in my case I had to do a mid year "cease employer" and "final submission" for a client in Basic Tools recently.

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Replying to PBH64:
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By SKCOX
11th Oct 2017 16:06

I use 12pay, which ain't what it used to be since Iris bought it. However it's still quite cheap, and can handle an EYU.

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Replying to Chris Mann:
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By Alex_T
11th Oct 2017 10:59

I completely agree Chris! I think its safe to assume that it will be phased out over a long period of time if indeed it is to go.

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By neiltonks
10th Oct 2017 14:58

It will go eventually, but not just yet as far as I know (at least, nothing has been announced to other payroll software developers).

Businesses using it will be given a period of time to make alternative arrangements before it finally goes.

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Replying to neiltonks:
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By lionofludesch
10th Oct 2017 15:41

It'll wither on the vine eventually.

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By NYB
10th Oct 2017 19:25

Have heard on the good old grape vine it’s days are numbered. They are“recommending” third part software when it comes to AE & the fact it doesn’t support AE surely must be indicative of something.

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By Mr Hobbit
11th Oct 2017 11:42

I for one will be very relieved if BPT is phased out. I have so many very small clients using it despite the fact that they could use proper payroll software like Brightpay for free. It couldn't be easier to do the transfer, its a simple click of a button import from BPT to Brightpay. Unless they are forced to move on they just won't. Frustrating!

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Morph
By kevinringer
11th Oct 2017 13:23

We use MoneySoft and have persuaded all our ex-Basic Tools clients to switch to MoneySoft too. They all find MoneySoft much easier to use than Basic Tools which must be the worst software I've ever used. But all us MoneySoft users need Basic Tools for EYU. If HMRC do pull the plug on Basic Tools before MoneySoft introduce EYU functionality, we're going to have to move from MoneySoft to something else as are all our clients.

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By psimonparsons
12th Oct 2017 12:54

Yes get rid if it and the nonsense EPS. Only if EYUs operated in a sensible way that would be job done. The whole lot were after thought nonsense to cover bits that HMRC RTI designer forgot about. You mean HMRC really don't understand how to calculate parental leave recoveries! Do the maths. It's about time the job was done right.

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By pauljohnston
13th Oct 2017 17:45

I too believe that taxpayers should not pay for HMRC "free" software.

As I have said before if HMRC want to help the very small users this can be done by way of a tax rebate. Does not matter what the tax is. Payroll Manager for one employer is £65 plus VAT or £6.50 per month so sorry Stepahanie but just over £3 per employee per month does not sway me from agreeing with Tim Vane.

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Morph
By kevinringer
14th Oct 2017 09:57

If you are a partnership, you can't file you tax return online - you have to use commercial software. If the partnership has PAYE you have to file that online and if there's no Basic Tools you have to use third party software. And we all know that when MTD comes in there will be no HMRC software for that too so once again I'll have to use commercial software. I'm sure the commercial software industry just loves HMRC which forces millions of taxpayers to have to buy commercial software. Costs, costs, costs. It's not just the cost of buying the software, it is the cost of learning it, using it and working around problems. All this takes small business owners time and prevents them from concentrating on running and growing their business.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By carnmores
14th Oct 2017 11:13

Hi kevin

in the days before software calculating the wages manually was a shocking waste of time and each company had to do it themselves. the use of software especially third party has vastly speeded up this process and made it easier for businesses, its the non software compatible red tape that is the real curse

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By ScribbleD
18th Oct 2017 13:02

Having read this thread in full it would seem to me that Brightpay is the only reasonably priced payroll software that has the full functionality (AE, annual pay, EYU, CIS, P11D, free for employers with less than 3 employees etc.)
to replace Basic tools.

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Replying to ScribbleD:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
18th Oct 2017 15:00

Yes Brightpay is great value for money and is dead easy to use.

I have not heard anything official but I would imagine the free PAYE tools will disappear soon as HMRC know they cannot really do it well and as they are now in bed with software boys it makes sense for them to just allow business to plug into their systems as opposed to provide the free tools.

I suspect it will go the same way as the on line filing for accounts etc.

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By SteveHa
19th Oct 2017 20:29

For crying out loud. I'm a little surprised at some of the comments supporting the decision to withdraw BPT.

So Government can, in collusion with software houses introduce regulation requiring IT solutions whilst ensuring that those solutions are paid for and their buddies (the software developers) reap the rewards and HMRC benefit by the additional tax the developers pay whilst those being regulated just incur more cost.

Give me a break.

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Replying to SteveHa:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Oct 2017 22:11

I agree. I've always said that the Government should provide free software if it wants to burden the business population with the task of running the Government. Is it saving money ? Yes. So why not feed that back to the people doing the work ?

It's a good job the Tories are committed to reducing red tape because, if that weren't the case, there'd be so much red tape that no one would have time to run a business.

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