Thursday, 21 March 2013

More on Court Orders - Direct Earnings Attachments

Not strictly a Court Order at all, but -

There's a new type of order for employers to operate.

Only announced towards the end of last year, these are due to begin a pilot in April.  The orders are going to be operated by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

So where are all the details? Weeeelll, apparently the DWP will be publishing a guide on their website soon.

Sadly for everyone, the timescales are a bit challenging for anyone wanting their payroll software package to calculate and prioritise the orders automatically.

The timing could be better, given the advent of RTI, the recent changes to the requirements for reporting of other orders demanded by CMEC (which replaced CSA) - although CMEC is apparently now called Child Maintenance Group, presumably on the grounds that they hadn't had a name change for a few months.

All that said, the requirements don't look too onerous - and there's a chance that an employer may never see one of these orders at all.

Monday, 4 March 2013

HMRC Demands for Underpayment

Following my previous post, it seems that concerns were raised at the Customer User Group. HMRC has issued a formal response, published (for members) on the CIPP website. So far so good - but the response seems to lay all the "blame" on employers or their agents - for example;

Duplicate (or too few) employment records held by HMRC:

If the employment records held by HMRC contain duplicate employments,
and therefore do not match the employment records held by the
employer, it's likely that we will be expecting the employer to pay
more than is actually due. We have published guidance about avoiding
the creation of duplicate employments to software developers and in
our pilot employer updates.

This of course, is fine up to a point, but neither employers nor software providers or payroll bureaux are creating duplicate records on purpose to cause problems.

I'm hoping that HMRC will make an effort to find out what the source of the issues is and offer some help in sorting it out. I hope they won't be looking for a way to try and complain they are being sent bad data (even if strictly speaking they are) - because a lot of people have spent a huge amount of time and cash trying to comply with their requirements.

Not many payroll people are also systems experts so some of these issues are not immediately transparent to them - I suspect the same is true for many in HMRC - but it's no good HMRC just saying "you're wrong" if a new system seems to be doing unexpected things. Clearly, as I alluded to in my first posting, if you are suddenly "underpaying" by a significant amount that is worthy of further investigation and not just a demand to "pay up"

Fingers crossed.  Like all postings here - this is a purely personal view.