HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the UK tax authority, has an overarching policy to make it easier for customers to deal with their taxes and to ensure collections and payments are correct. For Pay As You Earn (PAYE), HMRC wanted to replace employers end of year returns and ‘in-year’ forms with information direct from payroll systems. Within two years of agreeing the concept with Government ministers, HMRC successfully introduced Real Time Information (RTI), working with Capgemini to design and implement the new system.
Employers submit PAYE information to HMRC’s core RTI system using payroll software from a choice of over 400 suppliers or free tools provided by HMRC. RTI processes payroll data from every UK employer – tens of millions of transactions a month – and cross-references information from the UK banking system. Analytics and business rules automate messages to employers and update debt management and compliance systems.
RTI is the biggest modernization of PAYE in nearly 70 years, affecting 1.8 million employers ranging from micro businesses and individuals employing a carer to multinationals and pension providers. It was designed around employer processes and reduces administration for employers by integrating tax reporting with their payroll processes. Capgemini program delivery met HMRC expectations for functionality and time scales and over 70% of employers said that RTI was very or fairly easy to deal with.
RTI is a pioneering change. It is easier for HMRC to collect the right tax at the right time, and it reduces time and effort for employers and HMRC. Previously, employers waiting until the end of the year to pay taxes in full could owe millions of pounds at any one time.
For employees, particularly the one million people in the UK with multiple jobs, over time RTI will make HMRC’s records more accurate and up-to-date and reduce cases where individuals have under or overpaid tax during the year.
Tax Credit renewals now take account of up-to-date earnings information, helping to ensure that the more vulnerable in society receive what is due when they need it, preventing overpayments accruing and helping to reduce the potential for error and fraud. Looking forward, HMRC is working with other Government departments to make best use of PAYE data now being received in real time.
How HMRC and Capgemini Worked Together
Capgemini had been working with HMRC on ideas to improve the operation of PAYE for some time before the RTI program started and we helped develop preliminary designs for a solution to enable employers to report PAYE direct from payroll. HMRC subsequently presented the designs to HM Treasury officials who approved the business case.