HMRC Scheme Reconciliation Service receives few queries

06 November 2014


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reports that it has received an unexpectedly low volume of queries from schemes that have obtained data as part of its Scheme Reconciliation Service.

We are grateful to Professional Pensions for this report:

According to HMRC, it received 1889 requests and issued records for 1175 schemes, but very few of these schemes had follow up queries. The organisation said: "There was an expectation that once schemes received their data, they would send in queries approximately two to three months after receiving it. However, the volumes of queries received to date are not as expected," it said.

It said in some cases the data might just have been needed discuss funding and other cases schemes may not have had the resources to deal with reconciliation. Other reasons included changes to pension scheme rules taking priority over reconciliation work and schemes developing software to assist them with reconciling HMRC data against their records, it added.

Premier Pensions Management head of administration services Daniel Taylor said: "Everybody knows there's a massive capacity crunch with this. It is easy to request the data but when you have the data, you have to do something with it and resource it. If their expectation was that they would deliver the data on Monday and the initial queries would be back on Friday or even next week, that is not realistic in terms of how these processes work."

Meanwhile Veratta chief operating officer Monica Cope said: "I suppose they are taking an optimistic view because it is an ideal opportunity for schemes to get their house in order."

Equiniti lead project consultant Stewart Winter said that a lesson could be learned. He said: "With hindsight HMRC should probably have engaged with the private sector and said ‘how long will it take? What should we expect? How much should we gear up?"