Employers warned on RTI data errors

Employers that submit incorrect payroll data under real-time information (RTI) reporting, due to start in April 2013, will cause tax and benefit claims problems for staff.

The most common errors in the data that employers hold are wrong birth dates, use of nicknames or shortened names.

Maureen Gordon, managing director at Compupaye, said: “We are finding that middle names often get overlooked, which is extra information the employer has to seek.”

Incorrect records can lead to incorrect taxation for employees and difficulties in making benefits claims.

Simon Parsons, director of payments, benefits and compliance strategies at Ceridian, said: “For universal credits and tax credit claims to be handled quickly and efficiently, it is important the employer has the correct information so the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can match the claimant with the payroll RTI reporting.”

Employers should also note that, under the Data Protection Act, data must be checked with staff securely.

Karen Thomson, associate director of policy research and strategic visibility at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, said sending an email with the data the employer holds and asking the employee to check it would break data protection rules.

To prepare for RTI, employers must align the employee data they hold with that held by HMRC.