Following a review of the three-day easement and risk-assessed approach adopted last tax year, which has seen a significant reduction in returns filed late, HMRC has decided to continue this approach for a further tax year
Last week, HMRC released the following text to some members of their Taxpayer Data Standards Forum (TDSF):
“Following a review of the three-day easement and risk-assessed approach adopted last tax year, which has seen a significant reduction in returns filed late, HMRC has decided to continue this approach for a further tax year. As a result employers will not incur penalties for delays of up to three days in filing PAYE information during the 2016-17 tax year.
“Late filing penalties will continue to be reviewed on a risk-assessed basis rather than be issued automatically.
“The three-day easement is not an extension to the statutory filing date, which remains unchanged. Employers are required to file on or before each payment date unless the circumstances set out in the sending an FPS after payday guidance are met. HMRC won’t charge a late filing penalty for delays of up to three days after the statutory filing date. However, employers who persistently file after the statutory filing date but within three days will be monitored and may be contacted or considered for a penalty.
“HMRC will continue to review its approach to PAYE late filing penalties beyond 5 April 2017 in line with the wider review of penalties, and will continue to focus on penalising those who deliberately and persistently fail to meet statutory deadlines, rather than those who make occasional and genuine errors for which other responses might be more appropriate.’
This is good news and let’s hope that the easement will either be legislated for as part of Finance Bill 2017 or clarified long before we reach the start of tax year 2017-18. It is a bit rich telling us towards the end of May 2016 that an easement applies for a tax year that started in April.
Let’s also hope that HMRC improves the way they communicate to UK payroll professionals. The information that was given to members of the TDSF was in contrast to the way it was slipped out carefully to the profession as a whole via an update to their Gov.uk penalty page on 23 May 2016.
We are one profession and deserve to be treated as one – please don’t create a ‘them’ and ‘us’ environment any more than it already is.