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With RTI being used to calculate renewal notices, how should employee queries be handled?

During May and June HMRC is sending out renewal notices to those people claiming tax credits, but this year there will be a change in the procedure. For the first time HMRC will use the information it has received via RTI to calculate awards. Renewal notices will state the gross amounts of employment and pension information for each claimant, and may include income from more than one employment.

It is anticipated that some employees will have queries about the amounts shown on their renewal notices, and if that is the case, HMRC advises that the claimant should check the details carefully. The claimant should contact HMRC as soon as possible if he/she still thinks that some details are wrong.

It is expected that despite the advice to contact HMRC about any discrepancies, some employees will instead query the amounts with their employers. ACCA members who do payroll work for clients may also have to deal with these queries. HMRC advises that, as far as possible, the employer (or agent) should check the amounts, and if they prove to be correct, the employer should explain them to the employee. If the amounts cannot be agreed by the employer, the employee should be advised to contact HMRC by phoning the number on the renewal notice.

HMRC has produced guidance about what employers (and pension providers) should do.

HMRC staff handling phone enquiries know that there will sometimes be discrepancies. It is possible that  the information on the renewals notice may be out-of-date, perhaps because the employer sent (or needs to send) updated information (for example on an Earlier Year Update). This is part of the normal process and does not mean that the employer is at fault.

Where HMRC is aware that there are some duplicate PAYE records, the duplicate information will be ignored for tax credits renewal notice purposes. HMRC will work to remove all duplicate records, and is putting processes in place to quickly correct any duplicate information as soon as they are made aware of it.

Article contributed by ACCA