Category Archives: Payroll Press Articles

HMRC steps up fight against minimum wage dodgers

  • HMRC to receive £5.3 million in extra funding to enforce national minimum wage
  • Compliance team expands to more than 360 members
  • Despite this, more than 362,000 jobs paid less than the NMW in April 2016

According to the Government’s latest Labour Market Enforcement Strategy report, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to receive an additional £5.3 million of funding in 2017/18 to ensure businesses are paying employees the national minimum wage (NMW) and national living wage (NLW).

This follows on from a previous increase of £20 million in 2016, which has allowed the team to expand to more than 360 members of staff.

According to the report, it is estimated that there were 362,000 jobs paying less than the NMW or NLW in April 2016, which equates to around 1.3 per cent of all UK employee jobs.

Within its findings, the Government flagged up accommodation and food services, the wholesale and retail trade, and other services such as hairdressers and beauty as the worst offenders.

Shockingly, of those who were underpaid, more than 40 per cent received wages that were at least 50p an hour below the NLW.

It is thought that this high rate of underpayment was what led to the increase in penalties on arrears from 100 per cent to 200 per cent in April 2016.

Currently, HMRC enforces non-compliance with the statutory wage legislation in five ways:

  • Getting the wage arrears paid to the worker;
  • Civil penalties of up to 200 per cent of the arrears owed per worker up to £20,000;
  • Naming scheme under which the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will name all employers who owe their workers over £100;
  • The new regime of labour market enforcement undertakings and orders;
  • And criminal investigation possibly resulting in a prosecution by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Depending on the severity of the case employers can face one or all of the penalties listed above, so it pays to ensure that a business is compliant with the current NMW and NLW requirements.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

Moore Thompson opens the door to experienced payroll manager

Moore Thompson has welcomed an experienced payroll expert to help head up its growing team.

Kieran Smith joins the firm from Boston College where he worked his way up from apprentice to the position of Payroll Manager.

He will take on a similar role at Moore Thompson, drawing upon his experience and prestigious Higher National Diploma in Payroll Management to assist clients.

Speaking about his appointment, Kieran said: “I am really looking forward to helping lead the payroll team at Moore Thompson, which continues to see increased interest in its services from local businesses.

“I hope that I can build upon the success of my predecessors and continue to deliver the high levels of service that clients have come to expect of the practice.”

In his new position, Kieran will play an important role in continuing to support Moore Thompson’s clients with automatic-enrolment and the management of workplace pensions.

Mark Hildred, Managing Partner at Moore Thompson said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Kieran to the firm. He comes to us with lots of experience and a strong local connection to the area, which is always beneficial to us when working with our clients’ in the region.”

Moore Thompson also welcomes Siri Pabby Chetty to its payroll team, as it continues to grow to meet clients’ requirements.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

Your personalised Payroll diary

19 October 2017
Deadline date for payment of PAYE Tax and National Insurance to HMRC Accounts Office by non-electronic method. (Every 19th of the month thereafter)

20 October 2017
Deadline date for payment of PAYE Tax and National Insurance to HMRC Accounts Office by electronic method. (Every 22nd of the month thereafter)

31 October 2017
Deadline for paper self-assessment tax return

25 December 2017
Bank holiday

26 December 2017
Bank holiday

01 January 2019
Bank holiday

What you may have missed…

01 April 2017
New National Minimum Wage rates apply. Find out more here.

06 April 2017
Government officially launch Apprenticeship Levy. Find out more here.

01 October 2017
Automatic enrolment staging date for new employers. After this date, new employers will have pension duties as soon as their first member of staff starts work.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

Businesses not claiming apprenticeship vouchers, figures show

Almost half of businesses paying the apprenticeship levy are writing their payments off as tax, according to new figures – amid concerns that firms are not reaping the advantages of extra training.

The Department for Education (DfE) revealed that just 10,500 eligible businesses are registered to receive apprenticeship vouchers, compared with the 19,150 paying the levy.

The levy is designed to fund the Government’s pledge to create three million apprenticeships by 2020. Employers with a wage bill of £3 million or more each year are required to pay the levy – charged at 0.5 per cent of their annual pay bill.

All organisations have an apprenticeship levy allowance of £15,000 each year, meaning they only pay the levy on any amount over £3 million.

Joe Dromey, senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, told the HR publication People Management that the low uptake suggested employers were not engaging with the levy as hoped.

“While these are early days, with the levy introduced just six months ago, these figures will be a cause for concern,” he said.

“They seem to validate concerns raised around the lack of awareness of the levy – even among firms paying it – and that many levy-paying employers will simply see it as a tax and write it off.”

Elizabeth Crowley, skills adviser at the CIPD, added: “In our view the government needs to be doing more work to ensure employers are making a choice in not using the levy, instead of being unaware of it. It is equally important that if there is an underspend, the funds are ring-fenced and used for supporting employer training, as there is a danger it could simply go back into the government’s coffer, and not be used to increase skills training and investment in the UK economy.”

A separate study, published by the British Chambers of Commerce earlier this month, found that one in four firms had no understanding of how the levy worked or how their company would respond.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

No more credit card PAYE penalty payments

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that, as of 13 January 2018, employers will no longer be able to use personal credit cards to settle outstanding PAYE late payment penalties, PAYE settlement agreements or Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) late filing penalties.

However, from that date HMRC will accept full payment by company credit card or debit card but not part payment, so any employers who are unable to make full payment by card will have to find another way to pay, such as telephone banking, CHAPS or Bacs. Employers should note that HMRC will charge a fee for payment by credit card.

All payments must include the 14 or 15-character payment reference that begins with X and is on the payslip. If an employer does not have a payslip for the worker, they should still have a payment reference from HMRC, which they must include in the payment. However, it is important to get this right, as an incorrect reference could delay it.

They will also need to factor in the time it takes for the money to get to HMRC when they pay. The slowest way is via direct debit, which takes five working days to arrive. However, the agency has said it will accept payment on the date made, not the date it reaches them, as long as the payment was made between Monday to Friday.

There is also the cheque in the post method. Employers paying this way should allow three working days for the payment to reach HMRC and must ensure that the cheque is not folded and that any documents are not fastened together.

Employers who currently pay at the Post Office should note that this facility will be withdrawn on 15 December 2017.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

Can your business afford long-term absence?

Can your business afford long-term absence? Can your employee afford to be absent for a long period through no fault of their own?

An estimated 137.3 million working days were lost to sickness absence in 2016 – over 30 per cent of which were due to long-term illness (four weeks or more). This equates to roughly 4.3 days per worker, with the mean annual cost of absence totalling £522 per employee.

Research also suggests that being out of work for long periods of time is damaging to both social and financial well-being as well as health.

Has your employee been off for more than 4 weeks?

Work helps people stay mentally fit and focused. But if they are unfortunate enough to fall ill and be subject to an absence of four weeks or more, get support with a Government funded initiative offering free Occupational Health Assessments to help employees return to work.

There are two elements to the Fit for Work Service for Employers, Employees and GP’s:

  • Free, expert and impartial work-related health advice via its website and telephone line
  • Referral to an occupational health professional for employees who have been, or who are likely to be, off sick for four weeks or more.

The occupational health professional will identify obstacles preventing the employee from returning to work and produce a Return to Work Plan tailored to the employee’s needs.

Referrals can be made by GPs, and employers can refer an employee if they have not yet been referred by their GP after four weeks of absence.

Employees will need to consent to be referred to Fit for Work and for the Return to Work Plan to be shared with their GP and employer.

For more information please visit the Fit For Work Service website.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

Watch out! Fake HMRC emails are about

Moore Thompson has noticed a marked increase in the number of clients receiving suspect email from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

While some of these may well be genuine, most are not and are designed to trick you into thinking otherwise.

To help you stay safe from fraudsters, we have compiled a quick guide below:

HMRC emails will never:

  • notify you of a tax rebate
  • offer you a repayment
  • ask you to disclose personal information such as your full address, postcode, Unique Taxpayer Reference or details of your bank account
  • give a non-HMRC personal email address to send a response
  • ask for financial information such as specific figures or tax computations, unless you’ve given us prior consent and you’ve formally accepted the risks
  • have attachments, unless you’ve given prior consent and you’ve formally accepted the risks
  • provide a link to a secure log in page or a form asking for information – instead HMRC will ask you to log on to your online account to check for information.

Fraudsters target multiple people at any one time so be cautious of emails that have generic greetings such as ‘Dear Customer’. HMRC emails will always:

  • usually use the name you have provided to them, other than where you sign up to HMRC subscription services
  • always include information on how to report phishing emails to HMRC.

If you suspect that you have received a fraudulent email from HMRC, report it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

For more information on HMRC phishing emails and bogus contact, please click here.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

Payroll predicaments: one in five employees paid late following tech issues

  • 44 per cent of European employees have been paid late, while 48 per cent have been paid incorrectly
  • UK employers are worst offenders, with 61 per cent of British workers reporting incorrect pay
  • One in five cite payroll tech errors
  • Almost half consider jumping ship after delayed pay

PAYROLL technology failures are among businesses’ leading issues when it comes to paying employees on time, a study has revealed.

The European survey looked at organisations with between 10 to 10,000 employees across six countries, including the UK, France, Austria, and Germany.

It found that UK employers were the number one worst offenders when it comes to payroll punctuality, with 61 per cent of workers reporting incorrect pay at some point in their careers.

Across all countries, the research found that 44 per cent of European employees have been paid late at some point in their working lives. Of those, 48 per cent had been paid incorrectly, too.

European employees experiencing a delay in payment were waiting on average between one-and-a-half to two weeks to be remunerated, the report said.

The survey also revealed that 79 per cent of employees that had been paid incorrectly were forced to identify the issue themselves. Over one in five (23 per cent) of those employees cited payroll tech errors as the primary reason for late or incorrect payments. A further 61 per cent cited poor management, while 33 per cent blamed delayed payments on financially unstable bosses.

Of those who were paid late, 44 per cent of respondents had considered leaving their jobs, while an overwhelming 88 per cent said late payments had left them with a negative perception of their employer.

Katie Hewlett, Payroll Manager at Moore Thompson, said the study highlights the serious impact late payments can have on an employee.

“With almost half of employees considering quitting their jobs, employers should keep payroll at the forefront of their managerial duties.

“If an employer is aware that they have delayed a payment, whether intentionally or through a system error, they should take steps to immediately remunerate an employee and cover any charges they may have incurred as a result of the late payment.

“As we find with the majority of our clients at Moore Thompson, outsourcing your payroll to a professional provider often works out to be the most cost-efficient and beneficial option.”

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.

Your personalised Payroll diary

19 July 2017
Deadline date for payment of PAYE Tax and National Insurance to HMRC Accounts Office by non-electronic method. (Every 19th of the month thereafter)

22 July 2017
Deadline date for payment of PAYE Tax and National Insurance to HMRC Accounts Office by electronic method. (Every 22nd of the month thereafter)

28 August 2017
Summer bank holiday

31 October 2017
Deadline for paper self-assessment tax return

What you may have missed…

01 April 2017
New National Minimum Wage rates apply. Find out more here.

06 April 2017
Government officially launch Apprenticeship Levy. Find out more here.

Employers, are you paying the Apprenticeship Levy?

From 06 April 2017, the Government introduced a new ‘tax’ on businesses known as the Apprenticeship Levy.

The levy is charged at 0.5 per cent of a business’ annual wage bill.

All businesses are given a £15,000 allowance, which effectively means only businesses with a total wage bill of £3 million or more are required to pay the levy.

How it works

The Apprenticeship Levy is charged through the PAYE system on a monthly basis and you’ll need to tell HMRC how much you’ve paid through your Employer Payment Summary (EPS).

In return, businesses will gain access to a Digital Account which is facilitated via the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). There they will able to obtain funds from the levy to spend on Approved Training Providers that are on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) for apprenticeship Framework & Standards.

Small Non-Levy business can also access Apprenticeship Training, but are required to make a 10 per cent contribution.

The levy is compulsory for all businesses, whether you choose to take on apprentices or not.

How can we help?

Moore Thompson is a chartered accountancy firm which specialises in payroll. Our services range from free monthly updates for employers, to a fully comprehensive outsourced payroll package.

For a free, no-obligation meeting to discuss you needs, get in touch with us here.

Keep track of your legal obligations by visiting www.moorethompson.co.uk. For more information on any of the articles discussed in Payroll, contact one of our payroll & HR experts here.