E-payroll returns in the pipeline

Large companies could be required to file end-of-year payroll returns electronically with the Inland Revenue within three years, under proposals backed by Treasury ministers yesterday.

The proposals are part of a range of measures recommended by Patrick Carter, a businessman and member of the government’s public services productivity panel, and were released as part of the government’s pre-Budget report.

Carter was appointed in June to review how payroll services among smaller businesses could be improved.

In a recommendation published yesterday he said that more use should be made of IT to enable businesses to deal with complex payroll arrangements. As well as recommending large companies to file electronically by 2004, he suggested that smaller businesses should follow suit by 2007.

Carter also supported cash incentives for smaller employers to encourage electronic filing of end-of-year returns with the Revenue for a period of five years.

A Treasury statement said that the government supported the recommendations “in principle” but that it would consult on the proposals over the next two months.

For more on the pre-Budget report go to

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