HMRC’s Real Time Information system, launched last April and designed to streamline the process of filing employee payroll information, has had something of a bumpy ride. The subject of a fierce backlash from accountancy bodies before it even went live, and responsible for many costly IT upgrades in the meantime, RTI is nevertheless operational and handling millions of PAYE submissions every month.

HMRC initially offered smaller businesses struggling with compliance costs a few months of leeway to become RTI-ready, which was subsequently extended to a full year, and all businesses now must operate RTI come the beginning of the new tax year in April 2014.

The IT system behind the RTI program is gargantuan, and required a full 48 hours of downtime when it was switched on. Since its inception HMRC has been improving and updating the software, and recently announced a slew of updates in preparation for the 2014/15 tax year. In theory, April 2014 will be the first time every business in the UK is filing payroll in Real Time, so HMRC is likely doing everything it can to ensure the system operates without problems.

The recent updates include:

  • Submissions arriving late can now specify a ‘Late reporting reason’
  • PAYE submission for the 2014/15 tax year can be filed any time after 6th March 2014
  • The RTI appeals facility will move online in 2014/15
  • Extra guidance for employers unable to file online or exempt from filing