Last-chance saloon for incorrect PAYE filers

Thousands of year-end payrolls have been filed incorrectly to HM Revenue
& Customs, but the department has played down fears that it will levy
millions of pounds in fines on businesses.

With the PAYE filing deadline just one day away, HMRC revealed that more than
700,000 P35 end of year tax returns had been filed by employers, with an error
rate of 4%.

Although the department can fine businesses up to £3,000 for incorrect
submissions, a spokesman said that most of the problems would be corrected
before the deadline passed. ‘We contact the employers whose returns do not pass
our quality standards to allow them sufficient time to correct and refile their
returns on time. We pinpoint the actual error to allow them to remedy any
mistake easily,’ he said.

The spokesman added that the PAYE filing system had not been working as
quickly as HMRC would have liked leading up to the deadline, due to the level of

Businesses with 50 or more employers must file annual returns online from
this year or face a penalty. The online only filing previously related to just
large businesses.

Small organisations will be rewarded with £250 tax free if they file online.
Next year the figure goes down to £125.

The PAYE filing is being closely watched to see how HMRC’s systems stand up,
a key condition for the full implementation of Lord Carter’s reforms. Carter has
proposed controversial changes to self-assessment deadlines.

The institutes now have six weeks to gather information for a response to the
partial regulatory impact assessment into the plans to shift deadlines forward.

Nine bodies, including the ICAEW, ICAS and ACCA, are looking to receive more
detailed information from practitioners, and are launching a web-based survey to
strengthen the RIA response.

‘We believe that the information we are assembling will demonstrate that the
proposal to accelerate the filing deadlines is simply unworkable,’ said Paul
Aplin, deputy chair of the ICAEW’s tax faculty.

HMRC is taking comments on the RIA until 30 June. The institutes will
separately comment on the other parts of HMRC’s strategy to operate ‘universal
electronic delivery’ of its services by 2012.

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