Don’t Fall For HMRC Phone Scam

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamHMRC has issued an alert about a new phone scam. People are being called and threatened with court action.  The scammers are also saying a summons for arrest has been issued for tax avoidance and non-payment of tax.  As you can imagine this is causing a great deal of alarm for the people receiving these calls.

You can help HMRC by reporting any such incident to Action Fraud via their website, or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.

If you think a communication from HMRC is suspicious they ask that you report this to their phishing team (

  • Forward text messages to 60599 (you will be charged at your normal network rate)
  • Emails, send to the email address above
  • Phone call, send caller’s phone number, date of the call and brief description of the call, to the email address above

HMRC want to remind everyone that they will never send a text, email or phone you telling you about a tax rebate or penalty or ask for your personal payment information.

Let’s all stay vigilant and if we all report such incidents, we can help HMRC to combat the scammers.

For any other aspect of bona fide tax communication from HMRC if it’s to do with payroll and making sure you are being correct and diligent in your handling of your employees’ tax then we can help. Our experts are based in Birmingham but we work with clients all over the UK. We are used to dealing with wages and salaries and benefits in relation to payroll processing, which is our core competency, but our service extends well beyond this. Get in touch with our expert team if we can be of assistance.

On The 20th Anniversary Of The National Minimum Wage What Good Has It Really Done?

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamFor the lowest paid the introduction of the National Minimum Wage in April 1999 has had a major impact for good. Taking into account the NMW and the National Living Wage, (introduced in 2016), since 1999 the lowest paid people working in the UK have seen their hourly pay grow faster than all other workers.

This has also had an upwards ripple effect in businesses as managers and supervisors, who earn just above the NMW, have seen their wages increase in order to keep the differential pay gap between them and other workers.

The Low Pay Commission recognise that the NMW has had a transformative effect on the UK’s labour market. In the 1980s and 1990s and before this, the earnings of the lowest paid grew much more slowly than the average worker. In 2018 in real terms the lowest paid 1% of workers earned an additional £2.70 per hour more than they would have done without the NMW, an additional £5,000 a year for the lowest paid full-time workers.

Our professional body, the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals runs a one-day course on the National Minimum Wage and other worker entitlements. But if you would rather concentrate on what your business does, and outsource your payroll management to us, we would be delighted to help and assure you of our knowledge and competence in this area. We would love to talk to you.

Our head office team is based in Birmingham, but we work with a wide range of individuals, schools and public sector bodies on all aspects of their outsourced payroll processing and management, saving them time and money.



Are You Complying With The Law? Changes To Auto Enrolment Came In On 6th April 2019

Payroll Services BirminghamThe minimum contributions your organisation must pay into your staff workplace pension plans increased on 6th April.  You need to include the new pension rates when you process your first payroll after 6th April.

Have you informed your employees of the increase, as the employee as well as the employer needs to increase their contribution? The total payments must now be no les than 8% of qualifying earnings.  The employer has to pay a minimum of 3% and the employee pays the rest.

A recent survey by our professional body, CIPP found that 11% of the respondents have not informed their employees of this increase. Surely, this is going to cause these organisations a lot of extra work when their employees see the increase on their payslip and query this with their payroll department, and possibly even opt out of their pension.

Most of the respondents (46%) said they had communicated the increase via personal letter. There are letter templates <link to pdf> available from The Pension Regulator, if you have not already informed your employees.  You should by now have also made sure your payroll team and software providers have got your systems ready for when you run your first payroll after 6th April.

If you are a Payroll Masters client, then you don’t need to worry. We will have already planned for this increase with you.  If you are not already a Payroll Masters client, and you would like to learn more about our outsourced payroll management solutions, please get in touch.  We are based in Birmingham, with clients all over the UK.

Court Of Appeal Finds In Favour Of Asda Women Workers

Payroll birminghamQuestion: When it comes to claims regarding equal pay, can women working in a supermarket compare themselves with men working in warehouses and distribution centres?

The Court of Appeal said yes, they can, when it upheld an appeal in the case of Asda Stores Ltd vs Brierley. The crux of the matter was whether or not the women and the men were employed under “common terms”.

The Court held that the claimants (women working at Asda supermarkets) would be entitled to draw the comparison under European law because there was a “single source” for their and their comparators’ (men working in warehouses) terms.

The implications for all employers are that the Court of Appeal explains that the test for “common terms” is purely hypothetical and considers it unnecessary for claimants to present evidence about the actual terms on which they are their comparators are employed. This means that employers will find it very difficult to not pay workers equally even when working on different sites under different employment regimes.

The question employers will now need to answer is not how different the terms are at different sites, but how different would the terms be, if workers from one site were transplanted to do their own jobs at another site?

We cannot stress enough how this ruling could affect employers, especially large employers. We provide our services to a very wide range of employers from micro employers to large public sector bodies.  For help and advice on any matter related to employment and outsourced payroll services talk to our Birmingham based team.

Don’t Ignore New Code Of Practice On Preventing Illegal Working

Payroll Wages BirminghamThis new code does not impose any legal duties on employers, but the new Code may be used as evidence in legal proceedings. Also, Courts and Employment Tribunals must take account of any part of the Code which may be relevant, and the Home Office will also use this Code when administering illegal working.

So as an employer you really need to know what’s in the Code and importantly there is some good news. In that it may provide a way for you to establish a statutory excuse against liability for an illegal working civil penalty.  The way you do this is by conducting an online right to work check using the Home Office Online Right To Work Checking Service

As an employer you have a responsibility to prevent illegal working in the UK by ensuring your employees have the right to work here. If you don’t the Secretary of State can serve an employer with a notice requiring the payment of a penalty where they employ a person who in a nutshell is; subject to immigration control, and aged over 16, and not allowed to carry out the work because they have not been granted leave to enter or remain, or because their leave to enter or remain is invalid, has ceased to have effect or is subject to a condition preventing them from accepting the employment.

We are an expert outsourced payroll provider based in Birmingham. However, our service extends beyond simple payroll processing.  If you are in any doubt about any aspect of employing people give us a call, we will be happy to help or point you in the right direction. Let’s start here with a link to the penalties for employing an illegal worker.

Are You Ready For New Auto Enrolment Contributions From 6th April?

Payroll Services BirminghamThe employer’s contribution for Auto Enrolment will rise to 3% of qualifying earnings from 6th April 2019.  The total contribution will rise to 8%, there is no minimum contribution for the employee but their contribution should be sufficient to ensure that the 8% minimum contribution is made.

This is one of the many milestones in the roll out of Auto Enrolment that began in 2012. However, it may cause the most noise owing to the increase that employees will need to make to achieve the 8% minimum contribution.  Are you ready and able to handle this?

At Payroll Masters our outsourced payroll management services include HR, which you may need to communicate this change to your staff, and help with the deciphering of the rules around Auto Enrolment. You can tackle this on your own by following this link to guidance on The Pensions Regulator’s website or you could ask for our help. If you are unsure how to apply the tax relief method that is best for your staff, or have concerns over any of the other more technical aspects of getting your payroll right, we are here to help. We are based in Birmingham but work with clients and organisations of all sizes the length and breadth of the UK.  Please talk to us for outsourced payroll services.

National Living Wage – No Clear Evidence Of Negative Effects On Employment

Payroll Services BirminghamWhen the National Living Wage was announced employer’s groups were widely reported as saying that this would effect jobs. However, in a report from the Low Pay Commission (LPC) this does not appear to have happened.

The LPC provides recommendations to Government on what the rates of pay for the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage should be. The LPC produces an annual report and one of the key findings in their 2018 report, was that there was no clear evidence of any negative effects on employment arising from the increase in National Living Wage which came into force in April 2018.

The LPC say that 5 million workers have received higher pay rises owing to the uplift in NLW. This equates to a fifth of workers aged 25 and over.  This takes into account a knock-on effect for the bottom 20% of earners, people earning less than £9 per hour.  The LPC says that these workers benefitted because employers maintained a gap between pay for different pay-grades or have made the decision to keep their pay levels above the NLW.  In total 1.6 million people were paid at or below the NLW. Two thirds of people paid the NLW were women.

The LPC went on to say that employers have adapted in order to meet the increase in the NLW. Measures employers have taken includes making less profit, passing on price increases to customers, restructuring their workforce and narrowing the gaps between pay bands. Other stakeholders were reported as saying that improving productivity will be important in order to manage future cost increases.

New increased levels for National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage will take effect on 1st April 2019. You will need to adjust your payroll management system accordingly.  Alternatively, please talk to our team at Payroll Masters based in Birmingham to outsource all your payroll management obligations including the increase in NLW.

Tribunal Upholds Ruling On Agency Workers And Zero Hours Contracts

Outsourced Payroll Management BirminghamAn employee on a zero-hours contract can be an agency worker. This is the ruling of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The case is Matei v Brooknight Guarding Limited. Matei was employed on a zero-hours contract by Brooknight.  He mostly worked for one client, Mitie.  The Claimant claimed he was an agency worker and entitled to the same basic working conditions as the Mitie staff after 12 weeks of service.

The Tribunal agreed, but Brooknight appealed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld the original tribunal’s decision which was on the basis that he had been supplied to work temporarily for Mitie, and worked under their supervision and direction. The EAT said the position was temporary as it was not permanent or indefinite and the original tribunal had adopted the correct approach.

Employment rules and legislation is constantly changing. Keeping on-top of this is onerous for businesses who are focussed on doing what they do, not being payroll experts!  What we at Payroll Masters do is payroll.  Its as simple as that.  Payroll, the rules surrounding pay, salaries, personal taxation, calculating benefits and so on, this is what we do.  We can usually show a saving in management time, cost and employee satisfaction when we take over as an outsourced payroll provider.  You can contact us and talk to one of our experts about any aspect of payroll or matters related to payroll.

Embarrassing. HMRC Backs Down

Payroll Birmingham“If HMRC don’t understand their obligations under a system they’ve created, how can they expect businesses to get it right?” Says The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

A contractor spent over a year working on marketing projects for HMRC as a freelancer. HMRC changed the terms of her contract, requiring her to go onto an agency payroll, a decision that she could not challenge. She then launched a claim to an Employment Tribunal against HMRC, Kinect Recruitment Ltd and three other parties in the contractual chain for unpaid holiday pay in the sum of £4,200 under the Agency Workers Regulations.

The parties settled the case in full for the full amount being claimed by the freelancer on the morning the tribunal was due to start.

The IPSE went on to say that “You can’t just decide someone is inside IR35, shunt them onto an agency payroll and expect someone further down the line to pick up the tab for your obligations like holiday pay.”

HMRC had run her engagement through the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool and had come to the conclusion that IR35 was applicable in her case.

The government are currently carrying out a consultation on putting these off-payroll changes into the private sector. Our professional body the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals has called on government to delay any changes until the CEST tool is fully tested.

Payroll Masters provides outsourced payroll management to a wide range of clients, including large public sector organisations. Please contact our Birmingham head office for more information.

Payroll Company Boss Banned For 7 Years

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamThe Insolvency Service undertook an investigation into Crownsbury Limited finding that company director John Thomas Hanbury failed to ensure the business had adequate accounting records. This included a sum of £520,000 for which they could not determine the reason for this receipt going into Crownsbury’s bank account.

John Hanbury was appointed a director of Crownsbury Limited in January 2016 and the company went on to operate a payroll processing bureau, which it had not done before his appointment. The business went into Administration on 18th July 2016.  The Insolvency Service found that he not only failed to keep proper books and records but he also failed to provide adequate accounting records to the Joint Administrators when required to do so.  Therefore, the Insolvency Service has been unable to verify what the company’s income and expenditure was after 3rd May 2016 which was when the company bank account was closed.

John Hanbury put forward a ‘Disqualification Undertaking’, which was accepted by the Secretary of State On 7th August 2018.  The ban is effective from 28th August 2018 and lasts for 7 years.  A person with a disqualification cannot act as a director of a company, nor take part, directly or indirectly in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership or be a receiver of a company’s property.

Outsourcing your payroll function to an expert third party can save significant time and money. However, always take references before you appoint your outsourced payroll provider, take time to find out how long they have been providing payroll services to their clients and get all the information you require to feel sure you have done due diligence before appointing them.  At Payroll Masters we will be happy to provide any and all information that you need and would welcome the opportunity to talk to you. Please get in touch with our team at our head office in Birmingham for outsourced payroll services.