By Max Clarke

Ahead of the May 19th deadline, HM Revenue & Customs have issued an urgent reminder for employers to submit their completed Employer Annual Returns forms.

Failure to do so will, cautions HMRC, almost certainly result in a late-filing penalty. In previous years, an extra-statutory concession gave employers extra time before HMRC charged a penalty, but this has now been withdrawn.

And from this year, employers will be liable to a penalty if they file their annual return on paper (with some very limited exceptions, such as certain individuals who employ their own carer). Last year, no penalty was charged for employers with five or fewer employees, but these transitional arrangements have now ended.
Smaller employers, or their agents or bureaux, can file their employee data securely online using HMRC’s ‘Online Return and Forms — PAYE’ product. And employers with fewer than 10 employees can use HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools (formerly Employer CD-ROM) to file their Employer Annual Return online.

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