Christmas – payroll guidance for employers

December 2nd 2019

Before Christmas 2018, HMRC wrote to employers about a temporary relaxation of the deadline for reporting payroll information. What’s the position for this year? Head of Payroll Joanne Gibson finds out.

Changing paydays
HMRC is planning to update its guidance to employers about paying employees earlier than usual over the Christmas period. As the new guidance won’t be available for a while it has published the key details in advance, including information about the new permanent relaxation of the PAYE RTI reporting rules aimed at avoiding the various problems experienced by employers in previous years.

HMRC says that where you pay early over the Christmas period on a date other than when required to under your employment contracts, your full payment submission (FPS) should nevertheless reflect the date on which you would normally pay your workers, i.e. the contractual payday, and you must ensure that the FPS is submitted on or before that date.

You intend to pay your employees their December salary on Friday 20 December 2019 but the normal/contractual payroll date is Tuesday 31 December 2019. You should report the payment date on the FPS as 31 December and ensure the submission is sent on or before 31 December. If you pay your employees weekly, or at intervals other than monthly, the same principle applies.

Why the new rules
According to HMRC, the normal/contractual pay date in your RTI reports will help to protect your employees’ eligibility for Universal Credit, as reporting the payday as the payment date may affect current and future entitlements.

Regulations unchanged
As an employer, the overriding PAYE reporting obligation for submitting payroll reports isn’t affected by the change. The general rule that you must report payments on or before the date you pay one or more employees still applies.

The reporting deadline will again be relaxed. This means that if you pay employees earlier than normal you don’t have to send your PAYE RTI report until the usual payroll date. Remember to show that date in your report.

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