Forum warns it’s ‘last chance saloon time’ for firms over RTI

The Forum of Private Business is urging small firms still not ready for the biggest change to the PAYE tax system since its introduction in the 1940s not to ignore the issue and act now.

Real Time Information (RTI) will come into force on April 6, at which point all firms that employ staff need to have new payroll software installed.

A poll carried out by not-for-profit employer support group this week has revealed that with just a few working days left until RTI launches, 60% of firms classify themselves as ready while 18% say they are not prepared.

“It’s quite clear that there are businesses out there still not ready even at this late stage. The message we would like to get out there now, even at this point, is that it’s still not too late to get on board for RTI – the ship has not sailed,” said the group’s head of policy Alex Jackman.

“We know it can seem a daunting prospect to small firms, but it’s just not an option to do nothing. Better to act now than have a phone call from an unhappy tax man after April 6 – and that could happen.”

The Forum’s financial specialist Rachel Andrews, who has been working with HMRC for the past two years with an RTI pilot scheme, said: “If I had any last minute advice for businesses it would be to have everything you need ready to go. So employee addresses, dates of birth, and the correct NI numbers. The date of birth is more important now than previously, it has to be correct.

“And the correct NI number is also crucial. If any business is unsure to the number’s authenticity, they need to submit an NI validation check with HMRC, and they will come back to you,” she said.

Small businesses which pay staff weekly, or more frequently, should also be aware of the concession announced last week by HMRC on RTI compliance, says the Forum. The change effectively means these businesses will be able to submit payroll details monthly rather than in ‘real time’ until October, though they still need RTI specific payroll software to do this.

Small firms needing advice on RTI should contact HMRC direct, or call the Forum’s helpline team on 0845 130 1722.

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