RTI alerts continue to misfire
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.
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