Yesterday I got an email from our accountants telling us this…

From April this year, HMRC are changing the way in which employers have to report payroll information. Previously, employers had to file a return at the end of each tax year with details of all employees, their pay and the associated PAYE and National Insurance. Now, all this information – and more – has to be submitted electronically to HMRC every month. HMRC call this system ‘Real Time Information’, or RTI. This will make sure that HMRC know exactly how much in PAYE, NI and student loan deductions are due to be paid to them for every pay period. The software we use for your payroll has been updated to be compliant with HMRC requirements. However, it is essential that all information submitted is correct. This means that we need you to confirm now that all the details we hold for your employees are correct and up to date. We enclose copies of the records currently held on the payroll system for each of your employees. Please check these carefully, and make any amendments necessary. There is also some additional information that HMRC now require. This includes the number of hours each employee normally works. We have summarised on the attached spreadsheet the information we have [if any]. Please could you fill in the blanks here. The new HMRC requirements will add additional processes to the payroll that we run for you, with a consequential increase in the time needed each month, though we will of course work to minimise any impact on costs.

So great. More time to spend on needless bureaucracy. And more cost. Something we had to once a year now has to be done every month, no doubt on pain of death. And naturally no Treasury Minister has bothered to question HMRC on why they are doing this and what extra costs it is imposing on businesses which are already struggling under the burden of red tape. It’s this sort of thing that puts people off starting new businesses, let alone expanding existing ones.

Perhaps that nice Mr Cable might like to intervene!