Experts slam Revenue’s payroll pilot

The government’s plans to conduct up to a quarter of its business electronically have been savaged by payroll software experts.

Just days after Tony Blair launched the long-awaited draft e-commerce Bill, Alistair O’Reilly, managing director of Access Accounts, said the Inland Revenue’s payroll data strategy was geared at larger employers.

He said: ‘Using proprietary electronic data interchange networks rules out 99% of potential customers. It’s too expensive – why not use the Internet?’

Dennis Keeling, chief executive of the business software trade association, BASDA, said: ‘Though the government says it wants to carry out a quarter of its work electronically, for payroll data, all it has done is to define a basic specification. It’s a typical civil servant approach.’

Promoting on-line payroll services is likely to be the responsibility of the planned Small Business Service, said Baker Tilly partner and Better Regulation Task Force member Teresa Graham.

‘It will be very busy if it is going to meet the prime minister’s 25% target for electronic communication.’

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