April deadline for changes to payrolls

Small businesses may struggle with new Government legislation that comes into force in April, it has been claimed.

Real Time Information (RTI) will mean companies that employ one or more people must provide Revenue and Customs with staff information at the time they process wages - monthly or weekly - rather than at the end of the financial year.

This change aims to save businesses time so they do not have to send information on staff sickness, holidays and other information all together at the end of the financial year.

However, small businesses that do not have a dedicated payroll employee or accountant, may have struggled to set up the system in time for this month's start date.  They may need to buy new software and will have to input all their employee information, including names, addresses, contact details and national insurance details, before they can even begin to provide HMRC with the information.

Juliet Price, founder of Park City Consulting in Colchester, which provides outsourced HR services, took park in a nationwide pilot scheme.  She said the scheme will be a fairly easy transition for larger companies that have a dedicated HR and payroll department, but it may prove costly in time for small and medium-sized firms where the business owner also sorts the payroll.

She said: "It may be quite challenging for other businesses as an extra processing element they could do without.  A lot of businesses sill haven't worked out they are supposed to be doing this, which means they have a lot of work to do ahead of the April payroll."

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