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The deadline for P11Ds this year is 6 July, but could your payroll be doing more to help you complete them?

If you’re in charge of processing your company’s payroll, tax and NI, you’ll already be completely familiar with the P11D, the form on which you report benefits in kind received by your workers.

Not so long ago (pre-April 2016) payroll departments could omit certain expenses where they had been given dispensation to do so by HMRC. The dispensation (which would be offered where HMRC was satisfied that the employee would have been entitled to full tax relief on the benefit) reduced the admin burden on the HMRC – so they were happy with it – and tax reporting became that little bit easier for employers too.

But post-April 2016 dispensations stopped and were replaced by exemptions. Now, employers no longer needed a dispensation to omit expenses like business travel and subsistence, business credit cards, trivial benefits and professional fees and subscriptions from the P11D. They’re simply exempt.

P11D deadline 2019

The deadline for submitting your P11Ds this year is 6 July and it’s important to meet that deadline because penalties for delayed submission are significant – and penalties for incorrectly completed forms are higher still:

  • Late submissions: £100 per 50 employees per month
  • Incorrect forms: A percentage of the revenue lost to HMRC (up to 100%) depending on whether the error was deliberate, concealed or careless

Exempt or not?

Of course the challenge, as with all expenses and benefits, is at the grey edges of definitions. Generally, it’s pretty clear what constitutes an exempt expense, and therefore it’s a simple decision to omit it from the P11D.

But things like home to work travel, meal allowances, uniforms and entertaining costs can by muddy areas, exempt in some instances and not in others.

Given the penalties, it’s important to get it right, and seek professional tax advice to resolve any issues.

Tidying up the payroll

With the latest deadline fast approaching, we’d suggest it’s worth auditing your payroll systems to check what you’re currently paying and providing to employees. Flag up any queries and ensure that everything that should be reflected on the P11D will be.

At least that way, you’ll be able to sleep soundly come 6 July.

Need help in making interrogating your payroll simple? Talk to us.

The post Are your P11Ds ready? appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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The Government’s Good Work Plan has gone live, with implications for employers and payroll providers across the UK. So if you haven’t made changes yet, what do you need to do?

It’s hard not to see The Government’s Good Work Plan as an attempt to head off Jeremy Corbyn’s calls for protected worker rights as we exited the EU on 29 March. Of course, we didn’t leave the EU on 29 March (you may have noticed) but the Good Work Plan remains, and parts of it are now in place.

Somewhat confusingly, however, some parts of it won’t come into force until next year, and some bits have yet to be drafted. So, if you’re concerned that your payroll needs to make changes to be compliant, here’s the current state of play:

Already in force

From 6 April 2019, all workers are now entitled to a payslip, which must include hours worked for hourly-paid workers and employees, making it easier for workers to check that they are being paid for the right hours at the right rate.

If you outsource your payroll, those changes should have already been made. If you handle payroll in house, it’s worth checking to ensure your payroll team are following the law.

Of less immediate impact (although potentially significant) are April changes that saw penalties for aggravated breaches rise to £20,000. And as of December 2018 employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards can now be now named and shamed by the Government.

Coming soon

The real weight of the Good Work Plan will be felt in April 2020, when the following come into force:

  • The reference period for calculating a week’s pay for holiday purposes will change from 12 to 52 weeks (to protect seasonal workers).
  • Workers and agency workers will be entitled to a ‘statement of written particulars’ or key facts document from day one, giving them essential details about their employment and clarity over pay. The intention is to bring an end to any worker starting with an employer or agency and not knowing what to expect from their wage.
  • Around 120,000 agency workers will benefit from the end of the ‘Swedish derogation’, a loophole which effectively enabled agency staff to be paid less than permanent workers. From April 2020, all workers will be entitled to the same pay rates (whether agency or permanent) after 12 weeks.
  • Employees will no longer need 10% of workers to sign up to consultation requests; 2% will be the new threshold.

TBA

The Good Work Plan will bring forward several more items of legislation, although the details and dates are yet to be confirmed. Amongst these, and of particular relevance to payroll operators, are:

  • The banning of employers from making any deductions from staff tips or gratuities
  • An increase in breaks in employment to 4 weeks before counting as breaching ‘continual service’
  • Zero hour workers to have the right to request a more predictable and stable contract (although the plan doesn’t remove zero hour contracts altogether)
  • Greater redundancy protection before, during and after maternity leave

If you need help implementing the upcoming changes in your payroll, talk to us.

The post What Does the Good Work Plan Mean for Your Payroll? appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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HMRC scam phone calls, texts and emails seems to have become something of an industry in their own right. So here’s how to spot the real deal from the dangerous fake communications.

Outsourcing payroll can bring many benefits in your dealings with HMRC. All changes of tax codes will be sent directly to us. So will tax credit notifications. We also calculate things like the threshold recovery for Statutory Sick Pay, ensuring you pay the correct amount of PAYE and NICs.

But even with these communications directed to your outsourced payroll provider, there will still be times when the HMRC needs to contact you direct. And with a growing trend towards scam communications which pretend to be from the HMRC – that can present a real risk.

Making things even trickier is the fact that HMRC do send emails and texts, and they do make phone calls. So how can you spot the genuine from the fake?

Bogus HMRC communications – the common features

For the most part, the bogus communications are impressively convincing, with design, language, logos and branding mirroring the real HMRC. But there are some common tell-tale signs to look out for:

Subject matter: HMRC won’t send notifications about tax rebates or refunds by email. If you receive one, don’t click on any links. Don’t disclose any personal information. Forward it to HMRC if you’re in any doubt that it’s genuine and/or delete it.

Getting personal: HMRC does send texts, but it won’t ask you to provide personal or financial information by text. If you receive such a text (often telling you you’re due a refund) text it to 60599 (network charges apply) or email phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. Then delete it.

Threatening legal action: A particularly popular scam of recent weeks has been an automated call, purportedly from HMRC, threatening legal action and requiring you to speak to an agent and pass over your financial details. We can’t promise HMRC won’t ever threaten legal action to recover monies owed, but they’re unlikely to do it out of the blue by phone. End the call, check the number against genuine HMRC numbers, and if it is bogus, report it to the Action Fraud website.

Curious language: HMRC communications are usually well written and scrupulously free of typos and grammatical errors. If your email or text is misspelt or badly punctuated, it’s almost certainly bogus.

Not at this address: Check the email address of the sender. It may look like it’s from the HMRC, but if it doesn’t end with the .gov.uk suffix, it probably isn’t. Scammers will often use addresses that look convincingly similar (eg .org.uk) but they’re bogus. Frustratingly, the best scammers can mimic genuine addresses, so just because it’s from a .gov.uk address, doesn’t mean it is.

Outsourcing your payroll may help reduce the volume of scam communications you receive, but we can’t guarantee you’ll avoid them entirely.

For the latest information on current scams, check the HMRC’s website. And use this page to confirm the genuine forms of communications used by HMRC.

The post Spotting the HMRC scams appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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They are the creative spark behind every new business. They are frequently dynamic forces of nature. But there are some things entrepreneurs should leave to others.

Unrecognizable blonde businesswoman and bearded businessman discussing work document standing over cityscape background with binary interface. Toned image double exposure

Confidence. Determination. An appetite for risk. Passion. Adaptability. The list of traits traditionally associated with entrepreneurs is long. But there’s one thing every successful entrepreneur needs to understand pretty quickly if they are to make a success of their venture: you can’t do it all. The trick, of course, is knowing what needs your personal attention, and what you can leave to an expert set of helping hands.

Google any list of ‘5 things an entrepreneur needs to outsource now’ and payroll comes at or near the top of the list. And it does so for several reasons:

Because they know there are better ways to spend their time

For some, mundane, repetitive and detailed tasks hold little appeal. Others may love the prospect of wrangling a monthly payroll and negotiating the intricacies of auto-enrolment, NICs and more. But either way, as the driving force of a business, a leader really needs to be focussing on other issues. Especially when there’s expertise at hand to take the job on.

Because payroll needs to be done right

Every entrepreneur is pulled in a million different directions, with almost endless demands on their time and attention. But if there’s one thing you can’t afford to get wrong, it’s paying your people. Outsourcing ensures payroll is done right, which can help keep your people onside.

Because a new business needs to be compliant

It’s all too easy for new businesses to lose that start-up energy and dynamism by becoming bogged down in compliance issues – yet few entrepreneurs are likely to know all the legal requirements placed on the business, or know how to fulfil them.

From the Apprenticeship Levy to the National Living Wage, pensions auto-enrolment to the gender pay gap, outsourcing payroll can give you the reassurance that your business is acting legally and responsibly, whilst removing the headache of setting up the systems and gathering that data.

Because it cuts costs and frees time

In any new business it’s usual for people to wear many hats and have a range of roles and duties. Time pressures are constant, and it can be a real challenge to stay in control of a workload that frequently has more to do than time to do it.

It makes sense, then, to outsource payroll – a relatively self-contained process that can be neatly offloaded – to free up time. But in doing so, it can help you cut costs, first, because all those hours which will otherwise be poured into data entry can be put to something more productive (and lucrative).  And second, because the total cost of in-house payroll processing is often greater than outsourcing – where technology and expertise get the job done more efficiently.

If you’ve launched your own business and want help freeing up time and resource, outsource your payroll to us. Tell us about your business now.

The post Why Entrepreneurs Need to Outsource Payroll appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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New data for the gender pay gap paints a disheartening picture.

Well this wasn’t supposed to happen. In 2017, when the government introduced a requirement for companies with 250 staff or more to publish their gender pay gap, the expectation was that we would see rapid year on year falls in that gap. Latest figures suggest it is narrowing, but painfully slowly. In fact, new research by the BBC suggests that, on average, company payroll departments are paying men 8.35% more than women, just a 1.5% improvement on last year.

Pay gap vs unequal pay

Just to clarify, the pay gap does not expose companies who pay men and women different rates for performing the same job (because that’s illegal). Instead, the pay gap measure looks at the median average difference in earnings between a middle-ranking man and woman.

Not every pay gap favours men but, as you might expect, most (74%) do. Only 12% of companies report no pay gap.

Mixed picture

Not many companies’ payroll departments have so far reported their latest figures (a growing problem in itself) but of those that have, the improved average belies the fact that some sectors continue to perform particularly poorly and some companies have seen their pay gap widen.

Amongst companies with more than 5,000 employees, the top six largest pay gaps are all held by financial companies (banks and accountancy). Overall, construction has the largest pay gap, with finance, utilities, communication, education and science all reporting 15%+ pay gaps. Virgin Atlantic, Npower and Kwik Fit have all seen their pay gaps widen, although each has provided an explanation for this.

As the FT comments, it’s hard not to see this as something of a slap in the face for the project. Because when just 10% of companies report (as is the case at present), and when the gap is barely narrowing and picture is so patchy, it’s clear that far more needs to be done.

If you’d like to explore how a managed payroll could help you narrow your gender pay gap, whatever your business’ size, talk to us now on 01276 587675.

The post Gender pay gap narrows (slightly) appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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How a technology most people have never heard of could be about to change everything.

Last month, in our future of payroll piece, we explored some of the findings of the CIPP Future of Payroll Survey. One of those findings was that just 15.75% of survey respondents had heard of blockchain and its potential impact on payroll.

And if that survey is in anyway representative of reality, around 85% of you reading that sentence have just said “Blockwhat?”

What is blockchain?

The short version is that it’s a secure, decentralised infrastructure that can enable faster financial transactions without a middle man (i.e. the bank). That may not make things a great deal clearer, so let’s look at how payroll typically operates.

Once you’ve signed off the timesheets for the month, your payroll processor (outsourced or in-house) arranges payment. They do that by creating a database of payment instructions that the bank then actions by taking the money out of the employer account and placing in each employee’s account.

On the face of it, this seems an entirely seamless and secure process. But dig a little deeper and you find that there are inherent costs and risks involved in the process.

The data: First, there’s the file of payment instructions – which we assume is entirely secure as it sits on the bank’s servers. And yet, as we see with alarming regularity, banks are certainly not immune to malicious attacks or technical outages that have the potential to – at the very least – delay things.

The money: For most in the UK, payroll payments are virtually instantaneous. The money leaves the employer account and appears in the employee account and you’d never really know that a bank had played any part in the transaction.

But even today, not all banks operate instant payment systems. Some still leave the money floating in a curious nowhere between leaving the employer account and arriving in the employee ones. That issue can be compounded if you make overseas payments, which can be subject to delays as the money switches from one banking system to the next.

We all assume the money will arrive within an hour/day or two – and of course it invariably does – but if you were to ask ‘where precisely is my money right now?’ there isn’t presently a good answer other than it’s in the ether somewhere.

The middle man: Sitting at the heart of our current systems are the banks, currency exchanges and other third parties who all take a cut for their contribution. Payroll companies (and everyone else) are forced to use them because that’s how money moves. They’re forced to use the bank’s servers and databases and take on trust that they are secure. And they are forced to accept that, whether the transaction takes a second or a day, there will be a period during which you can’t precisely say where the money is.

Blockchain removes the middle man, and removes all those issues.

The blockchain effect

Blockchain uses a new technology to create a single transaction block visible to all those who need to validate or approve it. Once approved it joins a chain of transaction records, creating a transparent ledger which, due to the way the data is encrypted, cannot be changed, hacked or tampered with. And because it is entirely secure, it can be used for direct payroll to employee payments, cutting out the banks.

That makes money move faster. It means that the status of a payment and the location of money will be clear at all times. It means no security issues. And it means lower fees, because fewer people are involved and the fees to use the technology are far less than bank fees.

Coming soon

We’re still in the early days of the technology, but there’s an expectation that blockchain will have a transformative effect on payroll and many other areas of business where money and data change hands. Those changes should start to happen this year, and within the next few years blockchain is likely to underpin all our financial transactions.

Until then, if you’d like to explore how we can make your payroll processing simpler and quicker using current generation technology, talk to us now on 01276 587675.

The post Blockchain: coming soon to a payroll near you appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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Most payroll is still processed in house. And yet, as the CIPP Future of Payroll Survey Reveals, the biggest challenges facing in-house processing can be resolved by outsourcing.

There’s an old Tommy Cooper gag which goes something like “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” To which the doctor replies, “Well don’t do it then.”

Reading the latest CIPP report on the current and future state of payroll feels a little like that. It’s a report that paints a picture of in-house payroll departments firefighting a wide range of issues, a number of which they may not yet fully appreciate (we’ll get to Blockchain shortly) when they could be making life easier for themselves. Instead, the overwhelming majority of businesses (72%) still keep payroll entirely in house.

The conclusion drawn by the CIPP is that cost-conscious businesses feel better able to keep payroll in house because there’s greater technological support available for running in-house systems. And yet, when asked whether technology has made things more efficient, half of respondents revealed it had actually made them less effective.

Key issues

It’s no surprise to find GDPR top of the list of concerns for businesses over the past year. Automatic enrolment is second and, as the report identifies, it’s not clear whether the challenge for businesses is the sheer volume of people joining the scheme, or the complexity of it.

In third place sits holiday pay calculations, a result no doubt of the risk companies face of finding themselves in employment tribunals should they get changes to holiday entitlement wrong. Ironically, all of these risks can be removed, resolved or at least damage-limited at a stroke through outsourcing payroll.

Common queries

Tax queries. Pension queries. New starters. You might expect these classic payroll-related posers to be the most commonly made enquiries to busy payroll departments, but it’s the one in 4th place that is most eye-catching. Over and underpayments were problems for almost 50% of respondents, suggesting a disappointingly high level of payroll errors.

The report doesn’t explore the causes of such errors, but we know that keying errors and accuracy are often major issues for in-house payroll teams (invariably because there’s a lot more than just payroll on their plate). That is reflected by the position payroll typically occupies within organisations. In only 16% of cases is payroll a distinct and standalone function. The rest of the time, it’s a duty absorbed by finance or HR departments.

Blockchain

Only 15.75% of survey respondents had heard of blockchain and its potential impact on payroll. If you’re one of the as yet uninitiated, the short version is that it’s a secure, decentralised infrastructure that can enable faster financial transactions without a middle man (i.e. the bank). We’ll look at this in detail next month.

The point is, it could have a transformative effect on payroll and we’ll start to see real expansion in blockchain technologies this year. Naturally, you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you don’t actually know what blockchain is. And it’s in the interests of an outsourced payroll provider to be on top of developments like this.

It’s a fascinating report and we’d urge you to take a few minutes to digest it. But as with the Tommy Cooper joke with which we started this piece, many businesses seem intent on accepting the pain of in-house payroll needlessly. There is an easier way.

If you’re ready to explore how outsourcing payroll can help your business, please contact us now on 01276 587675.

The post The State of Payroll 2019 appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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You run a business operating in the care sector and payroll takes too much of your time. But before you choose your outsourced payroll partner, consider this…

In summer 2018 the British Chambers of Commerce published the results of a survey of more than 1,100 businesses of all shapes and sizes across the UK. 75% reported that the burden of tax administration and compliance had increased compared with the position five years ago.

You may be completely in support of the national living wage and pension auto-enrolment, but there’s little doubt the administration of them, combined with juggling existing NI, VAT and tax requirements has made running a business more complex. And for care sector businesses, whose staffing is often more complex and more ad-hoc than many, those tax and payroll burdens have proved particularly onerous.

There should be a simple answer, of course. Outsource the payroll and you can offload the bulk of the complexity in one go. Except that, for many care businesses, it’s not quite that easy, because outsourcing the payroll for your care or nursing home requires more than an inside-out knowledge of payroll legislation and the ability to pay people on time; you need a team who know the care sector inside out too.

The particular requirements of the care industry

We’ve yet to come across a sector that doesn’t have its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. There’s always some industry tradition ready to trip up the unwary payroll company – but the very specific demands of the care sector mean you can’t, as a payroll provider, simply turn up with your standard software and expect everything to run smoothly. Here’s why:

Scale and range of patterns: Nurses, carers, managers, cleaners; part-time, full time, sleep-in tariffs and more shift patterns than you can shake a stick at. Keep your payroll processing in house and you’ll be using a huge amount of resource that could be doing something else, but outsource to a payroll company without experience of the sector and you’ll spend just as long addressing queries.

Pay periods: Do you work to a weekly payroll? Fortnightly? 4 weekly? You’ll need a payroll company that’s ready to offer more than a fixed 12 month system.

Bank staff: Few sectors of the economy have quite so many workers joining and leaving the payroll with quite such regularity. So your payroll company needs experience in a high staff turnover environment, and one which includes lots of temporary but recurring bank staff workers and casual staff. Without that experience, you could run into all sorts of PAYE and P45 issues.

Leave management: When you have virtually as many different shift patterns and working arrangements as you have workers, sick and holiday leave can become a fearsomely complex issue. Outsourcing can remove an enormous burden from the business, but you need to outsource to the right payroll provider.

Pensions: Assessing eligibility. Bespoke contributions. Opt-ins. Opt-outs. Pension provider data. The right payroll provider can manage your entire auto-enrolment proves too.

Queries and changes: Here’s what Forest Care, a multiple care home operator, has to say about the way we work with them:

“We have large amounts of data from a variety of sources. [Just Payroll Services] enables the complete payroll cycle to run smoothly. Queries and changes are dealt with promptly and the process is efficient from start to finish!”

Join us at the Dementia, Care & Nursing Home Expo 2019

On 27 & 27 March 2019, the Dementia, Care and Nursing Home Expo will take place at the NEC Birmingham, and JPS will be there. So join us at Stand D60 and discover how our payroll services can do far more than ensure your people are paid on time every time. We’ll help you stay compliant, and find new ways to make more of tight margins too.

Register for your free tickets for the expo, and contact us now on 01276 587675 to see how we can help you.

The post Payroll and your care business appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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The CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook report for the final quarter of 2018 gives us a decidedly ‘bah, humbug’ feeling about the New Year.

It’s that time of year. A time to look back at the year that’s passed (as we do in this review of 2018), and a time to look ahead at what’s on the horizon the moment we’ve all taken the tinsel down.

And in a distinctly Groundhog Day sort of way, what’s ahead looks a lot like what’s behind: because it all revolves around Brexit.

The CIPD’s latest Labour Market Outlook survey of more than a 1,000 businesses isn’t specifically about Brexit, but the impact of the ongoing and painfully protracted negotiations are felt right the way through it, like letters through a stick of rock.

The good news

According to the survey, demand for labour will remain relatively buoyant, a finding that has been reflected in the majority of government figures (not least the jobless totals) of the last few months.

The challenge

The issue, of course, is bringing enough people onto the payroll to meet your labour demands, and that appears to be the area seeing a slowdown. Vacancies are at their highest point of the year. 44% of respondents are struggling to fill their vacancies, and as the market increasingly swings to favour employees, retention is becoming a notable issue too, as competitors begin to offer higher wages to attract the skills they need.

It is notable that, after a lengthy page of wage stagnation, the autumn appeared to add rocket fuel to wage inflation, which has seen payroll departments administering the highest rate of wage rises in over a decade.

Brexit

The specific impact of Brexit on all of the above is nebulous, but the B word is having a very clear and demonstrable effect in other areas. The report notes that almost 50% of EU workers feel unsettled in the current environment – and it’s a feeling that appears to be spreading to UK workers too.

As the government publishes its plans for immigration tied to a hotly debated wage threshold, it remains to be seen what effect a post-Brexit world will have on labour, but it certainly appears as though relatively low skilled jobs – or junior positions – may fall foul of the proposals, feeding a growing squeeze at the lower end of the labour market.

So as we enter 2019 with some trepidation, it may well be wise to make reviewing your recruitment and retention policies a New Year resolution. And if you’d like to explore the HR and payroll policies that can help you protect your workforce, talk to our experts now.

The post Labour: your biggest challenge in 2019 appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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It was the year of GDPR, gig-economy wranglings, Making Tax Digital and auto-enrolment crackdowns. And that’s before we get to Brexit. If you work in payroll, 2018 has been a busy year…

January

We started the year by looking at the good, the bad and the ugly of what was described as a “creaking” pensions system, exploring auto-enrolment problems and poor quality pension products.

Read more

February

Making Tax Digital was a government initiative to “bring the tax system into the 21st century by providing businesses with a modern, streamlined system to keep their tax records and provide information to HMRC.”

Payroll departments in businesses above the VAT threshold will (probably) be up to speed with this by now as from April 2019 they will need to keep records digitally and submit quarterly VAT updates to HMRC.

The problem back in February, as identified by the Association of Taxation Technicians was that most small businesses and landlords were unprepared for its introduction. Of those surveyed, 60% hadn’t even heard of it.

Read more

May

May saw the implementation of the much heralded General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which placed strict obligations on payroll departments (and everyone else) collecting, handling or storing data. The penalties for non-compliance remain significant, so if it’s a while since you looked at your data processes, it’s worth refamiliarising yourself with these practical solutions for meeting the requirements of GDPR.

June

As of 2017, more than half of all businesses had at least one computer running Windows XP. So in June, we looked at the threat outdated payroll software could present to your business.

Find out more

August

In a year of GDPR, Facebook data scandals and other corporate data breaches such as the malicious hack experienced by BA and its customers, we explored how one major common denominator in payroll data security breaches is likely to remain human error, making you the greatest threat to your payroll data’s security.

October

‘When is a worker not a worker’ has been something of an unofficial theme for the year. In March, we looked at the case of pipefitter Russ Blakely and a tribunal case described by Unite as “the battle against bogus self-employment.”

Then, in October, we looked at the somewhat ironic case of Susan Winchester a freelancer marketer for the HMRC, who was disadvantaged by the IR35 rule until HMRC settled on the morning of her tribunal.

You can read more about that here.

November

This month brought news of a crackdown on auto-enrolment errors, so we looked at the primary ways in which busy payroll departments were falling foul of the law (hint: outsourcing payroll is a simple way of eradicating virtually all of these).

Explore the most common AE errors

A thank you

It’s been a busy year. Next year, inevitably, will present new issues, new challenges and, come March, a new existence for the UK outside the EU (or possibly not). Throughout it all, we’ll be here to help you with your HR and payroll processing.

So to all of you who have trusted us with your payroll this year, thank you – we really do appreciate it. Have a very Merry Christmas, and we’ll see you in 2019.

The post 2018: A year in payroll appeared first on Just Global Payroll.

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