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Advisers to be bypassed in RTI penalty notifications

ACCOUNTANTS and payroll advisers will be bypassed by HM Revenue & Customs when their client received a filing penalty, it has emerged.

Employers have been operating real-time PAYE since it was introduced in April 2013, and it sees PAYE reported on or before the date payment is made, while changes will be reported as and when they occur, rather than at the end of the financial year.

Changes in circumstances – such as a pay rise, promotion or departure from job – are reported as they happen.

Penalties are to be charged by HMRC quarterly if there is any error or late filing. Employers who have incurred these penalties will start to receive the quarterly penalty notices from the beginning of February 2015.

Penalty notices may contain more than one penalty, HMRC said.

However, in an employer bulletin issued by HMRC this month, the taxman said “agents will not be sent a copy of the penalty notice”.

It added: “However, the notice will contain a prominent message instructing employers who have an agent acting for them to show them the notice immediately.”

Each penalty on the notice will have a unique ID number to help employers identify the penalty should they want to appeal. The penalty notice will explain what action the employer may need to take if they disagree and wish to appeal.

HMRC also said an automatic generic message will be sent to employers to advise when they fall into a penalty position, although it stressed they do not constitute a penalty notice.

However, many agents are harbour concerns over potentially being left unaware of clients’ positions.

Addressing that point, an HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC is transforming the way it interacts with customers and is committed to conducting more of its business digitally. We need to look critically at printing and postage costs for all paper communications and the cost of also copying the notice to the agent is considered to be prohibitive.”

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