PAYE filing penalties will not apply to short delays, says HMRC

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Employers will not incur penalties for delays of up to three days when filing PAYE information, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.

Late payment penalties will continue to be reviewed on a risk-assessed basis rather than be issued automatically.

There is no change to the filing deadlines. This means filing on or before each payment date unless the circumstances set out in the sending an FPS after payday guidance apply.

In addition, to prevent the unnecessary penalties being issued, HMRC will be closing around 15,000 PAYE schemes next month that have not made a PAYE report since April 2013 and which appear to have ceased.

HMRC will write to the affected schemes to tell them about the planned closure and what to do if they are, or should be, operating PAYE.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees are reminded that PAYE late filing penalties will apply to them from 6 March.

HMRC has published a discussion document seeking views by 11 May about potential improvements to the way in which  penalties apply for failing to pay what is owed or to meet deadlines for returns or registration.

HMRC is considering whether, and if so, how it should differentiate between those who deliberately and persistently fail to meet statutory deadlines or to pay what they should on time, and those who make occasional and genuine errors for which other responses might be more appropriate.

Following the consultation, HMRC will review the operation of the changes to the PAYE penalties by 5 April 2016

Any employer that has received an in-year late filing penalty for the period 6 October 2014 to 5 January 2015 and was 3 days late or less, should appeal online by completing the “Other” box and add “Return filed within 3 days”.

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  1. Penalties are disproportionate. A small company, 1 – 9 employees the penalty is £100 i.e anything from £100 to £11 per head. A large company (over 250) penalty is £400, i.e. a maximum of £1.60 per head. If 4,000 employees then 10p per head. How can this be right, especially when a small company is unlikely to have all the payroll experts/software/resources of a larger organisation? Once again penalties and systems that have either not been thought through or HMRC running scared of the “Big Boys” and picking the low hanging fruit.
    If they must scale the charges how about a percentage of the amount shown on the late filing?

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