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October 05, 2012

HMRC launches awareness campaign for PAYE Real Time Information

With six months to go until PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) becomes a reality, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is launching an awareness campaign in October that will involve writing to over 1.4 million employers.

The letters will provide information on what employers need to do to prepare for the new way of reporting PAYE data starting in April 2013.**

PAYE itself will not change — just the way, and how often, employers send this data to HMRC.

The letters are part of a wider HMRC campaign to raise awareness among employers of the changes. The campaign will include targeted flyers and emails, regular live Twitter Q&As, YouTube videos and roadshows across the country. It will target employers of all sizes, payroll bureaux, accountants, professional bodies, software providers and other industry groups.

Ruth Owen, HMRC’s director general, said: “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. Employers in the pilot who are already using RTI are telling us how straightforward and easy to use it is once you prepare.”

From April, employers will send PAYE data electronically to HMRC each time they pay their employees as part of routine payroll processes rather than sending a separate return at the end of the year. Returns will include details of all employees’ pay, tax and deductions.

However, many businesses are still unaware of the new scheme. Recent research by Sage found that 36% of small businesses don’t know about RTI. To help businesses prepare for its introduction, Sage is offering advice on its website.

** After this article was published, HMRC announced a "relaxation of reporting arrangements for small businesses". According to HMRC: "Until 5 October 2013, employers with fewer than 50 employees, who find it difficult to report every payment to employees at the time of payment, may send information to HMRC by the date of their regular payroll run but no later than the end of the tax month (5th)."