HMRC updates intermediary reporting requirements helpsheets

Official guidance on quarterly reports that employment intermediaries send about contractors and other agency workers who they place without operating PAYE has been updated.

In an online note last week, HMRC said that “wherever possible” changes to its reporting requirements, and guidance on them, had been made to help reduce the regulatory burden.

Clients, agents, intermediaries and workers now each have their own official guidance, additional to an HMRC overview of the rules, detailing why they were introduced and when.

Clarifying timeframes, including the “at least” quarterly frequency with which reports must be sent, is helpful, as the initial November 2014 start date was put back to August 2015.

But such leniency from the taxman (he made the delay owing to uncertainty about the rules), has been replaced with details about a regime of penalties for late or inaccurate reporting.

Applying also to “incomplete” reporting, the regime covers a 12-month period and dictates a fine of £250 for the first offence; £500 for the second and £1,000 for third and later offences.

It means that if there are 12 months or more between offences, the intermediary (often called the agency) will only be charged £250 for the first offence in the new 12-month period.

But where there is “continued failure to send reports or send reports late,” HMRC warns the agency they may receive a penalty “every day that you don’t send a report.”

The Revenue adds: “There is a new appeal process for these new penalties. For incomplete and incorrect reports, manual penalties may apply on a case-by-case basis.

“If you replace a report before the deadline of the next reporting period without being asked to, HMRC will consider this when they decide if you have to pay a penalty.”

Elsewhere in the guidance, HMRC includes some brief reminders such as spelling out who an agency/intermediary is, where they must log on to report and what template they must use.

Those parties who don’t have to report are covered in the guidance too: It says: “You don’t have to send HMRC reports if all the following statement are true. ‘You are a UK employer;’ ‘supply workers to provide their services to end clients and nobody else is involved;’ ‘operate PAYE when you pay those workers.’”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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