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Mon, 25 Feb 2013

FSB calls for RTI returns to be submitted just once a month

Mike Cherry: Regrettable timing

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the government to ease Real Time Information (RTI) legislation so that firms only need to submit data to the Revenue once a month.

Speaking to the Financial Times Mike Cherry, the FSB’s policy chairman, said the changes were needed because RTI created a “regrettable” additional cost burden for small businesses.

The FSB’s proposal is to replace RTI with ‘Regular Time Information’ under which employers could submit returns once a month and which would help businesses with weekly payrolls, for example.

“The administration time takes people away from their business at a time when they should be keeping it going or growing it,” he said.

Deaf ears

However, Lee Perkins, managing director of payroll provider Sage’s small business division, says that the FSB’s calls are likely to fall on deaf ears because RTI is a linchpin in the government’s Universal Credit benefit reform plans.

“I can fully understand the concerns raised by the FSB and its members with regards to making the switch now, but the reality is that there never is a good time to implement such significant changes,” he said.

“Without the benefit of a crystal ball I can’t say it would be better to delay by 12 months or to carry on. What I can say from our experience is that if approached in the right way, there is no need for RTI to add to the administrative burden for business. “

Regardless of a company’s size Perkins says preparation is the key.

“For businesses that don’t make the time to set themselves up right from the outset, RTI could become quite painful, but the impact will be more keenly felt by employees who may not receive the benefits they are entitled to,” he concluded.

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