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Peterborough UK
17:55 on Wednesday
28 February 2001

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Will you be using FBI to do your PAYE?

From today employers will be able to register for the Inland Revenue's new File by Internet (FBI) service for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax returns for their employees. Whilst the internet service for personal tax returns was only used by % of relevant taxpayers for 1999/2000 it is likely that the new PAYE service will be more successful.

Keith Pike, technical Director at i.e. taxguard, explains "Smaller employers feel the pressure of tax paperwork so any way to speed it up is attractive. This new service will also allow employers to authorise their accountant to use the service on their behalf". Another factor is the 50 discount that the Inland Revenue is offering for those who use the service and pay the tax by electronic means: rather more of an incentive than the 10 offered to individuals.

Employers have to register at the new Government Gateway (www.gateway.gov.uk) to either use the service themselves or authorise their accountant (the accountant will need to have registered first). To register, each employer will need to enter their tax office number and reference, their Collector of Taxes reference, their own contact details and then choose a password. The Inland Revenue will then send a personal identification number to the employer's business address by post: this must be used within 14 days to "activate" the service.

From 9th April employers who have activated the service can use it to submit their PAYE returns (P35) and other end of year forms for the 2000/2001 tax year, making it easier to meet the 19th May deadline for the return. Later in the year the service will be extended to other PAYE forms including P46s (the employer's version of the dreaded P45) and P11Ds for benefits in kind.

Mr Pike says that i.e. taxguard will be registering as an agent and encouraging their clients to register to claim the 50 discount.

Using the Government Gateway as the place to register for this new service is the first step to creating an online "portal" for all communication between businesses and government departments. The government's new target is for employers and individuals to be able to carry out 100% of communication with government departments online by 2005.

Despite this target the Inland Revenue says it is committed to retaining a paper based communication route in the long term. However, Mr Pike commented "With the Chancellor adding ever more complexity to tax calculations (perhaps on the assumption that most are done by computer!) small businesses using the pen and paper method will struggle to keep up".

For further advice on payroll issues i.e. taxguard can be contacted on 0800 975 9010.

February 2001




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