HMRC has published a consultation document about how to make real-time PAYE reporting “as easy as possible” for employers, in a move that’ll also prevent employers from deliberately flouting the rules.

The consultation document is called Securing Compliance with Real Time Information – Late Filing and Late Payment Penalties and its job is to identify the best ways to help employers understand and comply with RTI. It is also set to identify new, clear and fair late-filing and late payment penalties.

“We want the RTI returns not penalties. The aim is to encourage all employers to comply by making it as easy as possible for them to do so. We are working with employers and the payroll industry in our 12 month pilot to best achieve that. But penalties are necessary to deter the minority who don’t want to play by the rules. And to reassure those who do file and pay on time that non-compliance is being tackled” said Stephen Banyard, Acting Director General for Personal Tax.

What is ‘real time information’ in this context?

Real time information means employers will have to send information about employee pay, tax and National Insurance in real time instead of at the end of each tax year. And HMRC wants the new penalty system to be “simple, proportionate, clearly set out in law and cost effective” for everyone concerned. Which is good news for the HMRC-challenged amongst you, who currently find the whole process thoroughly alarming and confusing!

The exact details aren’t known yet and decisions about the timing of the new penalties will be based on the results of the consultation. The deadline for responses is 6th September. But apparently the pilot, which involves a test segment of 300 employers, is going well and it looks as though full implementation will take place next year, from April 2013.

Find out more about HMRC RTI for employers

You can download the consultation document on the HMRC website at or visit for more information.

There is also a YouTube video at

If you find yourself lost in space, worried or losing sleep over it, ask me and I’ll give you a plan language explanation!

HMRC RTI timing

  • In total about 1,300 volunteer employers will be reporting PAYE in real time by September  this year
  • By March 2013 about 250,000 employers will be reporting in real time, assuming all goes well
  • The remainder will join in from April 2013 onwards
  • All employers should be reporting PAYE in RTI by October 2013

Source: HM Revenue & Customs