RTI exemptions possible on religious grounds

DESPITE the nationwide roll-out of real-time information for PAYE coming into force in April 2013, employers with religious objections to electronic communications are to be exempt from online filing.

As a result, those groups will continue to file their returns on paper via the simplified PAYE deduction scheme – for people whose taxable pay does not exceed £700 per month – as HM Revenue & Customs looks to develop an effective real-time paper-filing system by April 2014.

Groups that have been exempted from electonic filing will move to real-time paper filing in 2014.

Other schemes receiving this treatment include those in place for examination fees, electoral payments, direct payment and direct collection.

HMRC will this month write to 1.4 million employers in preparation for the introduction of RTI in order to raise awareness of the switch and outline what needs to be done in preparation.

PAYE itself will not change, with employers instead updating their PAYE records as and when changes occur, rather than at the end of every tax year.

A statement on HMRC’s website reads: “Practicing members of religious societies or orders whose beliefs are incompatible with the use of electronic methods of communication are exempt from online filing requirements.

“To claim exemption, you must write to your HMRC office with full details so your claim can be considered.”

HMRC director-general Ruth Owen added: “April 2013, when RTI becomes a reality, is now less than six months away.

“The letters going out to employers include a useful help sheet, which tells them what to do to get ready for the change. Employers should read that and take action, such as speaking to their payroll software provider or payroll service provider and checking their employee data is accurate.”

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