Real Time Information – what the impending legislation means by Director Simon Speak

With the new legislation effective from April 2013, RTI is a hot topic in finance departments and so made for great discussion in our recent NWFD event workshops.

At the moment it all depends of the size of your business and number of employees as to when you have to get involved – but the general message seems to be to embrace the changes before you have to, allowing you to get used to it before penalties become enforceable.

The process is all about allowing the government to have an accurate up to date picture of individuals and businesses rather than as currently happens basing it on annual returns.

It is part of the wider shift to tackle the benefit culture and keep on top of tax credits and means that the right tax is paid at the right time rather than as has happened to date- it having to be adjusted or clawed back later.

The key element is that a business becomes responsible for having all the necessary information for all employees, and that they make sure it is up to date and accurate and the information is filed weekly, or monthly coinciding with payroll.

The challenges of introducing RTI will depend vastly on the size of business. It will require an extra administration level and an effective HR Function so as it doesn’t all fall on the finance department.

It is understood that there will be 153 pieces of information required on just one employee and this can range from national insurance to passport numbers and everything in between.

The question is –are businesses or even the revenue ready for processing all this extra data from 6th April 2013?