Monday, 29 July 2013

REAL TIME INFORMATION: REMINDER FOR SHOOTS

The introduction of Real Time Information (RTI) by HMRC will change the way estates are required to inform the tax authority about money paid to casual labourers such as beaters, pickers-up, ad hoc loaders, heather burners and students. With the shooting season now almost upon us, it is important estates and shoots have taken appropriate steps to keep themselves in line with the new policy. As of 6th April 2013, employers operating PAYE have been required to send electronic details to HMRC, online, in real time ie: on or before they pay an employee, rather than at the end of the year which has been common practice for shoots for some time. Employers have no choice in this and those failing to comply will be penalized.As well as the technical aspects of when and how PAYE returns are submitted to HMRC, other changes brought about by RTI have involved the payment of casual workers or students as these are categorized the same as any other employees and have to provide a minimum amount of information PRIOR to any payment being made. In order to assist the collection of this required information, we have a template available in the SGA office for this purpose. Estates/shoots should contact the office on 01738 587 515 if they require a copy which can be presented to casual workers to fill in. This template should be used every time a new employee is taken on, even if he/she is a casual worker or a student. HMRC are clear on this point. The relevant information on the sheet must be provided PRIOR to payment being made. Information required includes names, addresses, date of birth, sex, NI number, bank details and employment information. If fake information is provided, it could result in penalties for the estate/shoot and employers should only pay when they have this information and know it is correct. Disclaimer: While the SGA is seeking to provide helpful information on how the changes will affect estates and shoots, each estate may have different ways of working/number of employees, etc, and the SGA strongly recommends that each shoot/estate contacts its own accountant to make sure it complies. The SGA cannot accept liability for the content contained above, which was correct at the time of printing. Please Note: RTI is a system of reporting how payments are made. Income from beating has always been taxable, unless the individual's total income is below the minimum tax threshold. That remains the case. Similarly, beaters and other shoot helpers can still be paid in cash. The new electronic RTI system may make it easier to catch up with some people not paying enough tax (that is one reason it has been introduced - to reduce fraud and tax evasion) but the requirement to pay tax or not on beaters earnings, depending on total income, is completely unchanged.Beaters still need to declare their beating income on their annual tax return, even if they know the shoot has already paid their tax at source.