Alex Rowson, Technical Director at QTAC and Chair of the BASDA HR & Payroll SIG provides an update on his and BASDA’s involvement with RTI

It is now nearly three years since the first meeting between payroll software providers and HMRC to discuss the proposals for RTI.

For those interested, they may refer back to the original consultation document that detailed the proposed data items to be submitted and compare those to the live submissions being made. They are radically different.

The changes made were proposed by the software developer community at monthly meetings, held over a six month period from January 2011. HMRC were persuaded that, in order to cope with errors and corrections, the only way forward was to submit the latest year-to-date figures for each employee.

Now, after six months of live running, there are over 1.6 million employers reporting PAYE information in real time. Although there remain some issues with employer liability reconciliation, it has to be conceded that the implementation has been largely successful, given the huge change that has been required to payroll software, employer practices and HMRC systems, not to mention the transferring of employee payment information to the DWP Universal Credit program.

Other than the changes to the data items, the original premise that all RTI information should be transmitted via the BACS payments channel was overturned. Through intense lobbying (at HMRC CEO and Director General level), BASDA managed to both de-risk and notably reduce development and support costs of the RTI implementation by proposing an alternative architectural approach that harnessed the existing Government Gateway connectivity which is used by most members’ software. This proposal – the ‘Interim Solution’ – was fully implemented by HMRC (and is known as such) and consisted of two phases – initially only payments already sent via BACS containing the Hash sum proposed by BASDA (as a key constituent part of the overall solution) which is also included in the Gateway submission. We now understand that phase two (where BASDA proposed Online Banking Services be amended to facilitate the simple Hash figure and so enable reconciliation across virtually all e-payments) is now also under active consideration.

During the pilot phase of the implementation during the 2012-2013 tax year, BASDA was represented at the monthly RTI Customer User Group meetings that monitored progress and issues such as the treatment of casual workers, where the requirement to report payment information on or before the date of payment was impractical, and handling of Appendix 5 Foreign Tax Agreements.

BASDA continues to be represented at monthly meetings with the RTI policy team.

To find out more about getting involved with the HR & Payroll SIG, contact