Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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RTI alerts continue to misfire

27th May 2014
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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AccountingWEB members last week reported getting another rash of generic late-filing notices for clients whose PAYE full payment submissions (FPSs) had been sent well before the monthly deadline.

The flow of an estimated 40,000 messages started on Wednesday 14 May. According to HMRC, the alerts would be generated where it had not received an FPS it expected from an employer for the previous period, or an employment payment summary (EPS) indicating that no payments were made.

Within hours, however, AccountingWEB member KH asked in Any Answers, is anybody else getting these?

Several other members had indeed been on the receiving end of the notices. The threads repeated, on a smaller scale, the February outcry when 400,000 such notices were dispatched. A few days later HMRC announced it was delaying the imposition of late-filing penalties for RTI until October. Late payment penalties will then start from April 2015.

KH explained that all of their GNS notices had been received for clients whose FPSs had been filed two to three days before the 26 April payment date. “The HMRC email didn't identify which clients these generic RTI notices referred to. As soon as I downloaded said notices from HMRC's agent PAYE portal, all was clear...  apart from why I was being sent these ‘default’ notices.

“Still can't work out why HMRC should be sending out non-submission notices when their own software clearly shows that the FPSs were filed correctly and well before the actual stated salary-payment dates.”

Euan MacLennan speculated that filing three months' FPSs on the same day may have upset HMRC’s computers if the May FPS was processed before the April one, giving the impression that the April FPS had been missed. 

HMRC responded that GNS notices for non-filing and late filing had started going on 13 May and noted a “marked decrease” in the numbers late-filing notices dispatched. A new late reporting reason code introduced in April will also help employers give reasons for reporting payments late.

In the wake of the February outcry, HMRC worked with stakeholders to make the message more relevant. “Early feedback on the revised text has been positive,” it said.

Guidance on the HMRC website explains in more detail how late filing messages are generated and what action to take if one is received. However it does not explain situations reported by AccountingWEB members.

Janefg, for example, received two generic late filing notices on Friday 16 May for clients whose No Employee Paid EPSs for April had been filed on 6-7 May.

“We have been told frequently that we cannot file these before 5th of month following and must file them between 6 and 19, which we have been doing. What are we doing wrong?”

The latest episode presented more examples of how the complexity of the rules surrounding the “on or after” requirement of RTI filing is continuing to cause niggles with payroll managers and their software suppliers.

Tomazaan is a one-person business who pays annually. Initially they accepted the late filing notices were caused by system glitches at HMRC’s end, but when they tried to file a nothing to report EPS for April, Moneysoft alerted them the filing was late and asked for a reason.

“I discovered that Moneysoft does not allow you to file EPSs if you have employees. If the employees are not paid, their system requires you to file a nil FPS and this has to be filed before the ‘pay date’ recorded on the system - or you get a late filing notice.”

Kazmc, a veteran of the RTI wars, also discovered from one of HMRC’s notices that a May FPS had been filed for a client, but not one for April, generating a late filing notice. But how could the situation be rectified so that late filing penalties didn’t start building up? This situation could potentially get expensive when HMRC starts raising penalties in October.

Sage’s Gary Ging explained that it as possible to submit an FPS for April using Sage’s software, “But in order to do that you will need to restore the RTI files as at the point where the April submission should have occurred.”

The software retains a backup of the data and RTI submissions, so by going back to April, the software will not be aware of the May submission.

“You then just need to restore your latest backup, including the RTI files, which will re-instate the May FPS. That should prevent any outstanding non-filing penalty from continuing,” said Ging.


Replies (15)

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27th May 2014 11:00

Generic Notices

Simply nothing seems to be improving does it. Every different software seems to work differently as well. I read most of what goes on to do with RTI & I use Brightpay which seems to cater for all the oddities that other software doesnt.

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
27th May 2014 12:28

CIPP perspective

Karen Thomspon, the head of policy & research at the Chartered Institute for payroll and pensions professionals, (CIPP) reported that their members had also been affected by the 13-15 May GNS mailings.

"The CIPP are aware of a number of issues that have appeared around annual schemes and schemes that have ceased," she said. "We have given some of these examples to HMRC for them to explore and are confident of a positive outcome in the end."

She explained that some of the alerts could have been triggered by historical situations. For example, before specific procedures were put in place for annual schemes last July that allowed them to submit a single full payment summary, HMRC's computers may still have anticipated a set of monthly nil employer payment summary notices from schemes that had started filing them.

"There may be some underlying trigger, either on the employer's side or with HMRC and when they find out what that is, HMRC will need to do something about it. The more evidence we can give them the better," she added.

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By sally1964
27th May 2014 13:54

Also getting late notices when we have already told HMRC that business had ceased


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By Carolynne
27th May 2014 14:00

Accountants & Employers PLEASE!!!

I really believe that this RTI caper should be re-addressed with those who operate payroll systems, who can confirm, the best way forward for both those operating it and HMRC receiving the information they need for those people in receipt of benefits that they need to keep a tab on the hours worked and income received.

The LOGICAL answer to this nightmare, as far as I see it, is if all accountants and employers ask HMRC to have a re-think, as a more workable system would be ONE FPS PER MONTH for everyone.

It is unreasonable to expect everyone to submit these figures weekly, people go on holiday and people become sick and are off work. Bigger companies will cope but the majority of smaller companies and practices are finding this an absolute nightmare.

Does anyone know how we can achieve something like this, something that would be much more workable for all?

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By dmmarler
27th May 2014 14:16

Just wait for the Members of Parliament to find out

MPs all have payrolls ... just wait and see how long all this RTI chaos takes to hit them.

I was at an Auto-Enrolment seminar the other day ... this will hit MPs too!  Either they will have in-house systems or their external accountants will charge more.

It is possible we may see some changes, but not immediately.

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By Andrewmoore777
27th May 2014 14:21

RTI alerts

Another RTI problem I'm finding is with employers who have PAYE/NI below £1,500 per month so only have to pay quarterly. You file the month's payroll at the proper time and then because HMRC don't get a remittance they send out a notice estimating what they think is due.  

You would think they were capable of  programming their computer to catch quarterly payments, but apparently not.

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Replying to Wanderer:
By sally1964
27th May 2014 14:46

Use to use a P31 to notify HM of quarterly - not sure how you notify them now - especially when a payroll moves from paying PAYE monthly to paying quarterly.

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27th May 2014 16:42

Have two closed payrolls, but still getting reminders...

I have two payrolls closed down by me (all the correct submissions done and dusted according to HMRC's own software) but every time I open HMRC's very own Basic PAYE Tools, I get threatened with an URGENT ACTION REQUIRED Pop-Up, but the actions can't be done, since the payrolls have been closed down ... So, what's the problem?... Well, the next bit is the problem .... the tick box which you have to tick to go any further, but that tick box then states that "I understand that my submissions will fail if I don not carry out the employee and employer actions" ... but it's impossible to carry them out since the payrolls for the offending clients have been closed down, and so no further actions can be taken on those payrolls, and it's impossible to navigate further without ticking that tick box ... WONDERFUL .... time for another large snifter of single malt, or maybe two, or maybe even seven or eight ... YES!

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By tony metcalf
27th May 2014 17:00

Help yourself

....and they want the right to help themselves from our bank accounts!

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
28th May 2014 09:21


The irony on all of this of course is the whole point of doing all this was for Universal Credits, which was going to be 100% rolled out by April 2014, remember?

A system which is not only way behind its deadline it is all the way "back to the drawing board" and wont happen in this parliment. 

There is no reason for HMRC not to relax the whole system now the reason for many of the rules has gone.

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By AndrewV12
28th May 2014 10:07


I think regarding RTI some things are going to get worse before they get better.  Brace your self for the next round of demands and penalties.


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By AndrewV12
28th May 2014 10:10


Just a thought how long will it be before bogus company's start to contact Accountants and clients advising they can solve RTI problems.  


'You can reclaim RTI penalties and fines'. 

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By AndrewV12
28th May 2014 10:15


Looking at the top of this page it has already started.


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By CreDec Client Services
28th May 2014 12:33

Hi AndrewV12, you make the valid point that regulatory changes can often result in 'quick' responses from commercial suppliers looking to take advantage of these changes. However, just to reassure you CreDec isn't "a bogus company": We're the RTI BACS partner of ICAEW, ACCA & ICAS and the RTI BACS hashing mechanism has been a part of HMRC's reporting arrangements for PAYE since before the RTI pilot started in April 2012. HMRC's own website explains the importance of BACS hashes, which give it the facility "to validate [Employer] RTI data by cross referencing with hashes generated [from] the BACS payment." If you'd like us to explain this further please get in touch. There is a helpful 36 second video on our website that explains hashing in detail at www.credec.com/

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By 4aterr1ers
28th May 2014 18:48

RTI alerts

My client has received a bill for PAYE Month 12 which is not due.  After spending about 2.5 hours on the telephone I am told that the March EPS which was submitted on 31 March, with HMRC confirming email received, was just posted by HMRC into a "pending" file and then entered as received on the day HMRC decided to process it at the beginning of May.  No generic notice issued, but HMRC thought it would assume that £272 would be due for PAYE for month 12 and just instructed Debt Management Office to chase this fictitious debt.  HMRC representative says it's not her fault - ok not her personally - but it is HMRC's fault and they now have the nerve to say it take at least 2 months to correct !

How dare HMRC state publicly that the system is fine.  Woe betide anyone chasing my client for this fictitious debt again !! .... and there will be a complaint, with bill, for wasted time to date

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