Too many firms employing Mr and Ms 'Unknown', warns HMRC

31st Oct 2011

The taxman has expressed concern over how much incorrect payroll paperwork he receives, after more than 800 returns in fiscal year 2009/10 claimed to employ Mr or Ms 'Unknown'.

Errors in the details of employees’ tax and national insurance contributions, sent by employers each year to HM Revenue & Customs as part of their PAYE submission, can cause problems for staff who can end up having  the wrong amount of tax deducted from their pay, the government agency attested. Jim Harra, HMRC’s director of customer operations, said: "Most employers get their PAYE returns right. The few who don’t can cause problems for their employees, for example, incorrect deductions of tax. Around 80% of errors in employee data are due to an incorrect name, date of birth or national insurance number – straightforward information that can be collected and checked quite easily." As well as 824 employees with the surname 'Unknown', employer returns also revealed a number of other howlers, including: 

  • 128 staff entered as Mr, Ms or Mrs 'Dummy'
  • 572 people whose surnames only included the letter X, ranging from Mr X to Mrs XXXXXX
  • 75 staff with the surname 'Casual', 11 'Cleaners', nine 'Workers' and six 'Students'
  • 507 people named 'AN Other'
  • 40 people were apparently 200 years old or more after incorrect dates of birth were submitted.


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By kupcraft
03rd Nov 2011 09:57

What a missed opportunity for HMRC to explain why data is going to be key as we hurtle towards the implementation of Real Time Information beginning in April 2012. We will then be sending data about our employees to HMRC every time we pay them, not once a year and this will be used to flex universal credit up or down from October 2013. 1.9m employers have to be live on this revolutionary way of submitting payroll data by April 2013 and there is very little awareness out there at present, equally employees have no idea that for the first time there will be a direct link between their pay for that period and their state benefits

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