01 May 2022

The CIPP’s policy and research team guides payroll professionals through the range of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tools available to them, and how they can help with keeping up-to-date


As payroll professionals, we will always have a close relationship with HMRC.

HMRC provides comprehensive libraries of guidance, along with other resources to ensure you’re compliant when processing payrolls. It also offers some lesser-known resources that are beneficial to employers, tax agents and anyone who needs to keep abreast of the latest pay as you earn (PAYE), tax and legislative changes.

 

The employer bulletin and the agent update

HMRC provides two main publications – an employer bulletin and an agent update. Employer bulletins are released every other month, whereas the agent updates are released monthly. There’s often a substantial amount of overlap between the two, but the agent update provides much more tax-related information.

The update and bulletin provide us with updates relating to legislation, guidance and HMRC plans. It’s great for keeping up-to-date with changes that might slip under the radar. With all the different coronavirus support schemes that were introduced, the update has been a fantastic resource over the past couple of years. With reminders of deadlines, and information regarding scheme changes and closures, it’s allowed businesses to forward plan and adapt.

As an example, here are just a selection of items included in the February issue of the employer bulletin:

PAYE – including changes to basic PAYE tools, the health and social care levy, P9 notifications, student loan thresholds and the new national minimum wage (NMW) rates

UK transition – information on the trader support service

  • coronavirus (Covid-19) updates and information – statutory sick pay rebate scheme information and an update on coronavirus job retention scheme claims

  • tax updates and changes to guidance – includes construction industry scheme changes, making tax digital and the introduction of parental bereavement leave and pay in Northern Ireland

  • general information and customer support – more information and feedback pathways, along with a reminder of the help to grow management course currently being offered by the government.

As you can see, the update covers a plethora of items and topics. Not all of it will be relevant to you, but there can be things worth investigating, which could make all the difference to you and your company.

Another resource, often signposted in the bulletin, is the wide range of webinars offered by HMRC.

 

Webinars

Recently, HMRC has been working on expanding the range of webinars it offers to customers. The focus of these webinars is to increase compliance and to open dialogues between employers and HMRC. Recent topics include:

  • expenses and benefits

  • NMW rules

  • uncertain tax treatment reporting.

The CIPP has a news page, which includes a list of government webinars for you to keep up-to-date with. This can be accessed at the following link: http://ow.ly/sNqv30sf97A. As we await more information about the single enforcement body, we’re pleased to see HMRC moving towards education to increase compliance. The government’s response to the consultation, Establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights showed that employers would like to see more support on how to comply with the law. Unsurprisingly, workers’ rights groups advocated for stronger non-compliance sanctions, and, while this is important, we should still celebrate the fact that HMRC wishes to provide more comprehensive educational tools to help employers.

 

Forums

Other tools at our disposal are the customer and agent forums. The forums provide a place for employers and / or agents to stage discussions, and often include a representative or several representatives from HMRC. Agents must request access to the forum through their profile page, but all individuals can sign in and use the customer forum. You can visit the agent forum page here: http://ow.ly/Q8JJ30sf99N.

This service works in much the same way as speaking to HMRC on the phone, however, for those who have difficulties using a phone, it can be a fantastic alternative. Responses are received in writing and may pinpoint the legislation relevant to your query. This can help in ensuring your processes are correct and compliant. 

 

With the GOV.UK guidance and instruction pages being our usual port of call, it could be really easy to forget the other types of support that HMRC provides. Keeping up with all the changes can be a monumental task, but with these tools (and your ever-helpful Advisory Service and policy team), you can stay on top of the changes and ensure you keep your business compliant.


 

Featured in the May 2022 issue of Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward. Correct at time of publication.