Those employers that employ 50 or more people will still face penalties from 6 October 2014. However employers with fewer than 50 employees as at 6 October will face automated in-year penalties for late real-time PAYE returns from 6 March next year.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will assess current numbers of employees and send electronic messages (GNS) to all employers, from this week, to let them know when the penalties will apply to them.
Any member assessed as a large employer for the purposes of the penalties that will not have 50 or more employees engaged on 6 October should telephone the HMRC employer helpline on 0300 200 3200. They will need to inform HMRC that they are a seasonal employer and will not have 50 or more employees as at 6 October and say that they wish to appeal against the category they have been places in for the purposes of late filing penalties.
We would have preferred to have seen HMRC being more consistent in measuring the size of an employer. Earlier this year a reporting relaxation was introduced for micro employers using the 6 April to measure number of employees and we believe HMRC should have used this date for this deferral of penalties too.
Whilst this deferral of penalties will be welcomed by smaller employers they must use this additional time before the introduction of late filing penalties to ensure that they are submitting their RTI returns on time.