HMRC puts RTI annual scheme requests on hold

John Stokdyk
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HMRC has temporarily stopped employers and their payroll agents from switching their pay cycles to lessen the administrative burden of RTI.

In new guidance published on its website today, the tax department  explained, “There has been a recent increase in the number of employers and agents requesting the registration of PAYE schemes as annual.

“Please note that, at the moment, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are unable process requests from employers to:

  • move to paying annually and register as an annual scheme
  • change their payment frequency.

“HMRC are working to rectify this position and will publish a further 'What's New' message to announce when this is ready.”

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29th Apr 2013 18:43

begining to breakdown

on a relatively simple , or what shoud be, part of the service

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30th Apr 2013 08:02

it's all kicking off!

I predicted this week to be the first crash, it happened on 10 April.  I thought the annual thing would be one of the easier elements - which indeed it is, but not for HMRC.

So we fell at the first hurdle and then managed to trip up over a daisy.  This does not bode well for the hard yards in front of the system over coming months.

The politics behind this is going to get interesting.  It's not often I find myself in total agreement with Labour but on this one they are spot on:

1.  Universal Credit is the right way to go.

2.  HMRC are such a shower of brown smelly stuff there is no chance of them getting it to work until at least 2020.


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30th Apr 2013 09:32

i wasnt aware that Labour

was in favour of universal credit only universal benefits and they are not qute the same thing.

i didnt think much oftax credits but we were told as was GB that HMRC werent ready for them

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30th Apr 2013 11:45

HMRC incompetence - how surprising...NOT!

This comes down to the usual deliberate ignorance from government that regulatory burdens have behavioural impacts, especially on businesses where additional costs are involved.

Something like 98%++ of businesses in the UK are micro-businesses, for whom cost management within the current recessionary environment is essential to their survival.

The government has introduced a new regulatory burden as a one-size-fits-all solution, which is fundamentally biased towards the needs of larger businesses who have automated payrolls in place, paying little-to-no heed of the way the vast majority of businesses in the UK operate, from pubs, to nannies, to cleaners.

It was obvious that most micro-businesses would roll the problem back to their accountants and in turn, accountants recommend solutions which save time, cost & labour for themselves and their clients. This has resulted in PAYE schemes being closed or moving to annual periods.

Only HMRC could be so stubborn and stupid as to ignore the obvious unintended consequences of RTI as they have from the outset going back to 2010 when RTI was proposed. This latest problem is just another example of their wilful ignorance.

There are none so blind as those that will not see...

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30th Apr 2013 13:30

Stubborn & stupid?  HMRC?

Stubborn & stupid?  HMRC?  Surely not.  Anything run by a bloke called Dave is always doomed to failure....

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30th Apr 2013 14:26


jamiea4f wrote:

Stubborn & stupid?  HMRC?  Surely not.  Anything run by a bloke called Dave is always doomed to failure....

Or Lin?
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30th Apr 2013 15:22

Think it was started under Dave's stewardship.  

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By Locutus
30th Apr 2013 12:00

Slightly off topic

But the whole RTI / Universal Credit thing are just symptoms of a larger problem.  How did we ever get to this idiotic system whereby the poor and middle income earners are taxed ... and then some of their own money is given back to them as a "benefit"?

If you were setting up a new country would you really use our tax and benefits system as a model?  I doubt it.  It makes you think why we choose to persist with it, here.  I just wish one of the big three political parties would make a real effort to improve things.

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30th Apr 2013 12:17

exactly 0103953

it was a vague copy of the US system I think , families  without children got nothing and it loads of flaws , it was basically gerrymandering on a large scale made Shirley Porters actions look like childs play. one hopes that the universal credit system will be better yeah right lol

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30th Apr 2013 13:22

it's all kicking off!


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03rd May 2013 16:01

Caps lock stuck?

@ David5541 - Caps lock stuck?

Actually the Universal Benefit trial is in Ashton Under Lyne, just up the road from me, not Ashton In Makerfield - the market square and the road outside the Jobcentre were full of TV crews on Monday. 


I found HMRC's RTI tools surprisingly easy to use, but its not obvious how to get to the figure your client has to pay in Tax and NI. 

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30th Apr 2013 13:26


I tend to get the impression that HMRC simply do not know how many "one person director" payrolls there are in the UK.

Which is a bit odd given they have all the data!

Hopefully the plus side of this farce is that they will sort out a better solution for the sole director companies that allows a single filing once a year, at the time of OUR choosing and not HMRC's. The main issue with the annual period is the requirement to file in the same month the following year which is going to be tricky to pull off. 

You never know they could *whispers* have a simplifed 2 line reporting system that gets rid of PAYE completely in this situation, thus reducing the number of PAYE schemes at a stroke by the unknown % that are these ones. I bet its a big %. And saving HMRC tens of thousands of pounds per year in staff and stationary alone. 

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30th Apr 2013 15:09

RTI - Annual PAYE Scheme

We are all having problems with the Annual PAYE Scheme, as in HMRC have disconnected the phones and hung the "Closed" sign on door.

Filing Nil returns from Apr 13 to Feb 14 without being registered on the annual scheme will probably result in HMRC assuming that all the director's/employees have upped sticks and bogged off to another job and will probably close down their PAYE accounts.  We obviously want to avoid this because we don't want to be registering all our annual clients for PAYE again in March 2014.

Can anyone tell me if this is a viable idea:

File 11 Nil returns now (Apr 13 to Feb 14)File the March 2014 return now with a small amount of salary such as £500.  Make an adjustment/addition to the March 2014 (to reflect the proper salary) return in March 2014

By entering a small salary this should in theory keep the client's PAYE open and all returns will be filed in time.

Any comments much appreciated.


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30th Apr 2013 18:44

I don't want to say it...

but i'm going to, I told you so!

Big business involved, no thought given to the smaller and one man companies and hey presto, HMRC can't cope with the blindingly obvious.

Stopping people from switching over isn't a solution- they SHOULD have the capacity to deal with the huge number of one man companies that will now report annually- indeed this issue was brought up by myself and others a few months ago and we were told' ring up and ask to be put on the annual scheme'.

Now that advice is down the toilet it's more work for all of us to try and file nil payments etc as their system can not cope with the very issues we raised.

And saying if you report annually you have to pay on the same month next year- what sort of idiotic civil servant and reviews let that one through?  No concept of what running an actual small business entails at all.

So, when I DONT file NIL returns for April I expect the fun will really start and I'll let you know how the appeals against the penalties go! 



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01st May 2013 08:41

are there penaties for non filing FPS (nil or otherwise)

or have they been delayed until april 14

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By Ian Bee
01st May 2013 08:41

Nil returns

Genuine question - can we file nil returns in advance for one man businesses? So I can file say the next six months then review the position in November.

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01st May 2013 12:04

RTI Annual Payment

I was able to set up both director employees (on an annual payment basis) on HMRC Basic Tools last week and file both annual salary payments yesterday. The submission was successful and the PAYE and NI amounts were properly calculated. I won't be able to file the first nil EPS return until 6th June but will do so for a 6-month period (as advised by the rti helpdesk).   

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01st May 2013 15:18

Does an annual scheme need to do any nil EPS?

awdeek123 - it's news to me that if you register as an annual scheme there's any need to do any nil EPS's at all. My understanding (am I wrong?) is that with an annual scheme they only expect one lot of RTI submissions in the year, and you tell them which month they can expect them - so no EPS submissions needed.  However, if you have heard different from the RTI helpdesk then maybe I'm wrong. Or maybe the RTI helpdesk is wrong? How can we be sure if we get different advice from different sources within HMRC?

I registered for annual RTI on 8th April, submitted an FPS, and paid directors fee, all on the same day - and hadn't planned even to think about HMRC and PAYE and RTI until April 2014.

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01st May 2013 15:37

Does an annual scheme need to do any nil EPS?

Silicondale - we appear to be in a similar situation and I agree with your logic. My approach has always been to minimise paperwork and hassle and, in previous years, my accountant has run an annual payroll at some point in the year (not always the same month). 

With the introduction of RTI my accountant was not clear on how to process an annual payment (using his software package) and I was in the verge of asking him to set up a monthly payroll when I decided to go down the Basic Tools route, which seems to work reasonably well. I called the RTI helpline to check I was setting up the annual payments properly and one of the questions I had was the nil return requirement. The RTI advisor was clear that it is still necessary to do this and he walked me through the steps.  I have also seen contradictory statements on other discussion sites and to be honest I'm not sure who's right. To keep things right on 6th June I'll try to submit a 6-month nil return EPS and then in Dec 2013 I'll do the same again to take me to the end of the tax year. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has been given conflicting advice.

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16th May 2013 14:28

Basic Tools and annual scheme registration


I've just re-read your earlier post(s) and notice that you mentioned you "registered for annual RTI". All I did was tick the 'annual' box on the Basic Tools setup - is there a formal registration step over and above this for Basic Tools users?

Many thanks


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01st May 2013 16:35

I'll try the other option

Since it's not clear which option is right, I think I'll try not submitting any nil returns - assuming (risky!!) that there aren't any penalties this year - and see if HMRC flag it. Let's then compare notes on 6th April 2014...

I really am quite annoyed about how slipshod the whole RTI implementation has been. Owner directors have no choice but to register for PAYE, yet our income tax is generally so simple that we really don't need the complexities of PAYE, let alone RTI. We don't have a payroll department to do this for us. Basic PAYE Tools works reasonably well as a piece of software, but it's just one more thing cluttering up the computer - and I'll only be using it once a year.

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03rd May 2013 11:19

The following paragraph appears in the "Rebecca Benneyworth & Intuit tackle RTI gripes: Free download" which appeared on the AW site today. It supports your approach.  Another issue addressed in the article (which I've also seen mentioned elsewhere) is the need to notify HMRC of the annual scheme - I did not do this but instead simply ticked the annual box in the Basic Tools set up screen for both director employees. 

"Useful solutions: Annual schemes

Annual schemes have been in existence for some years, but under RTI will become particularly useful, especially for very small companies with a single director. By registering a scheme as an annual scheme, under RTI the employer will have to state in which month the payment is to be made. The employer will then file an FPS for that month only, and will not be required to file EPS nil returns or inactivity reports for the remaining months of the year.Clearly this presents a significant time and administrative saving, so schemes will probably be set up as annual to save time and effort. This is done by telephoning the employer payment helpline and providing the Accounts office reference. However, HMRC is having some issues with setting up the new schemes at present, which they hope will be solved shortly. In the meantime they advise submitting nil EPS for April and May 2013."

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03rd May 2013 11:48

That's a useful point ...

... I had assumed (foolishly) that ticking the 'annual' box in the basic PAYE tools would actually send the information to HMRC that my company is paying annually (as in fact we have done for the past several years, though I have no idea whether or not it's recorded formally as an annual PAYE scheme). Having to phone HMRC to tell them was not something I would have expected to have to do. What a ramshackle system! Well, as there aren't any penalties this year, I'm still not bothering with working out how to do nil EPS submissions. Did an FPS in April, that will have to be enough for them.

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03rd May 2013 15:31

Notifying HMRC about annual scheme

I wonder if it is only necessary to notify HMRC about annual payment schemes if you're not using Basic Tools?  My reasoning is that my accountant who has run my annual payroll for the past several years did not have the same annual payment option on his system and was therefore going to have call or write to HMRC to notify them. When I decided to go solo down the Basic Tools route I was pleasantly surprised to find an annual tick box. Nowhere on that system did it mention anything about notifying HMRC separately so as far as I'm concerned the successful FPS (and payment of NI/PAYE) will suffice until I'm told otherwise.

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06th May 2013 20:52

How long for an RTI submission to appear on HMRC Online Services

I successfully submitted an annual FPS for two director employees on 30th April and mailed a cheque to HMRC to pay the NI/PAYE amounts per the Basic Tools calculations.

When I log on to my company's HMRC Online Services account the NI/PAYE payment appears but the 'Tax Due' (and all the other fields) under the RTI "Return information" is shown as "Not available".  Should I call to ask why the RTI submission is not yet reflected in the HMRC Online Services account or give it a few days?

I would have thought the two systems would have been linked in real time?!

Update 06.05.2013: Called the Online Services helpline who confirmed the Basic Tools FPS has been received but it can take a few days to appear on the PAYE Online account.


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08th May 2013 16:45

begining to breakdown

The system was always liable to break down.

Mark Thatcher sold several government departments a cheap computer which he assured them could handle all the data then, and in the future. It was never 'fit for the purpose' and should have been rejected.

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16th May 2013 11:29

So it looks like Basic Tools and the annual payment tick box is the way to go, but it's now May - does that mean I pay my directors a reduced salary this year and then start a nice new annual scheme next year on April 6th!! Goodness this used to be so simple!

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16th May 2013 14:50

Quite honestly I have no idea

Hi Deek ... yes, I ticked the 'annual' box on basic PAYE Tools, and assumed this was sufficient. On reading other posts here and elsewhere, talking about telephoning HMRC to register for annual PAYE I'm now not so sure. I had assumed naively that information I entered in HMRC's own software would actually reach HMRC. Certainly if I were to design such a software package that is the way it would work. But then the annual struggle with their corporation tax PDF files should have told me otherwise. Sorry, I really don't know. I haven't done a May EPS, and since there aren't any penalties this year it seems the simplest course of action is to do nothing and see if they send a reminder. Or wait and see if some other Accountingweb user actually knows how it works for annual payments with the basic tools software, and can tell us!

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21st Mar 2014 10:11

Registering for RTI Annual Scheme (Basic Tools)
Just to round off the previous annual scheme/nil EPS debate from last year ....... see above. I eventually called the HMRC payment enquiry helpline (0300 200 3401) today to ask whether I needed to formally register an annual payroll scheme or whether ticking the annual box in Basic Tools was sufficient.  The agent seemed very clear on the process which is as follows: 1. Call the HMRC helpline (0300 200 3401) and register the payroll as annual scheme. This can't be done in advance of tax year therefore I will need to call on or shortly after 6th April to register for the new 2014/15 tax year. 2. Complete an FPS, which should also be the 'Final submission for the tax year'.  No other submissions are required thereafter. [Not an issue for me as I make an annual payment in Month 1 but I guess nil EPS's would be required in any months preceding the month in which the annual payment was made] Not only is it not necessary to submit subsequent nil EPS's after the annual FPS, it actually confuses the HMRC system.  Apparently my payroll, which has always been annual, was marked as being a quarterly payroll on the HMRC system because I had submitted nil EPS's for May onwards (as advised by the RTI helpline!).

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