Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tax tools

So, Real Time Information is up and running – er, or rather it isn’t.

RTI is one of the latest forms of getting private business to do the work that Government can’t. Basically it necessitates keeping the Inland Revenue (HMRC) informed on a monthly basis about your employees’ pay, benefits, deductions etc.

It has involved a heap of work and learning for us (broad use of the collective noun) and I recall all sorts of dire threats if we’re not up to speed and ready to comply, on time, all the time.

Well, my team are and were. Payroll day today. Can we run it?

No, of course not. The software doesn’t work.

A broadsheet article three weeks ago observed that Whitehall’s record on IT projects “does not fill us with confidence”. Top marks to the Telegraph, though I expect I’ll be forgiven for saying that it wasn’t the toughest of predictions.

I don’t begin to suggest that anything would be achieved by being able to speak to a real person at the Revenue but if it could, you can’t anyway. Today’s recorded message told us:
“We are aware of an issue with some employers trying to submit their RTI returns using the HMRC’s Basic Paye Tools.  We are investigating this issue and will report on this early next week.   Employers should continue to pay their employees as normal even if they have problems with their payroll and can’t submit their PAYE until after they have paid their employee. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Oh – so we don’t hang on to the money and tell the staff “hard luck”? Fantastic – thanks for clarifying that one.

We’ve worked out for ourselves that all salaried workers will have to be paid the same as they did last month and wait until…..whenever – for the lavish bonus that Osbo heaped in their direction in the course of his last inspirational budget.

This is the best that UK Government departments can manage?

We just know it’s coming every time. Repeated failure and helplessness.


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