From March 6th 2015, small employers (those with 49 staff or less) are liable to new HMRC penalties for the late or none submission of their RTI Full Payment Summary (FPS) or if they don’t send an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) if when no employees have been paid in a tax month.
FPSs need to be submitted to HMRC on or before the payment date (ie the date stated on your employee’s payslips although HMRC recently announced that no penalty would be issued if the FPS reaches them within 3 days of that date).
The penalties are automatic and depend on your staff numbers.
For 1 – 9 employees the fine is £100.
For 10-49 employees the fine is £200.
These fines have been in place for employers with 50+ staff since October 2014 (£300 for 50-249 employees and £400 for 250+).
How can you avoid these fines?
- Ensure you submit your FPS on or before the payment date. If you have a Payroll Agent make sure that you get your payroll data to them in plenty of time.
- If you are re-sending a FPS after the pay date due to an amendment, make sure you add a “Late Reason” to the amended employee’s record. Be very wary of using them too frequently (especially the “Acceptable Excuse” one – that could trigger the HMRC alarm bells!). Check with your Payroll Software provider if you are unsure of where this option is.
- If you are not paying any one in a tax month, ensure you send an EPS stating this (you have until the 19th of the following month to do it).
- Remember to send an EPS if you have paid any Statutory payments such as maternity or paternity pay (and for the first time you claim the Employment Allowance from April 2015).
What can I do if I receive a penalty?
You can appeal HMRC’s decision if you do not agree with the fine. You can do this by completing any appeal form which may come with your penalty notice or you can write to HMRC direct.
More information can be found here: www.gov.uk/tax-appeals/decision
Keep an eye on your Online Services notifications too – they are often updated well in advance of any letter you may receive.
I hope this has been useful but please do get in touch if you have any questions.