February 19, 2010
Small businesses with fewer than 50 staff can no longer file their employer annual returns on paper, instead having to file them online by 19 May or risk penalties, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned.
To apply online, employers need to register with HMRC's PAYE Online service. They can then use the tools on the site to file their employee data, or ask an intermediary to file on their behalf.
HMRC has also introduced new penalties for the late payment of PAYE, which includes income tax, National Insurance contributions, student loan deductions and construction industry scheme deductions. Employers could face penalties, calculated as a percentage of the amount paid late, if they don't make the correct PAYE payments on time.
"Major changes to PAYE filing and payment are only a matter of weeks away, so employers need to make sure they are well-prepared for them," said HMRC spokesman, Stephen Banyard. "We will be writing to affected employers over the coming weeks, so please look out for this information and take the time to read it.
"One key thing to flag up at this stage is that employers do not need to keep a hard copy of their Employer Annual Return if they file it online themselves," he added.
Employers who contact HMRC's Business Payment Support Service before the payment is due and have been given an agreed extension for payments will not be charged late payment penalties.