It is very unusual for any employer not to have the "pleasure" of a PAYE audit by HMRC every few years during which the PAYE records will be scrutinised very closely to ensure that the employer is compliant with tax and NI legislation on employee payments and benefits. Some employers are now even being visited by HMRC every year or two on PAYE, under HMRC's risk based approach to compliance, where the business has had a pretty poor compliance record in the past.

It is even more unusual for HMRC not to uncover PAYE errors during such an audit, many of which can become quite serious and significant for the employer in terms of settling the additional liabilities with additional interest and penalties being charged on top.

This is an area where Optimum PAYE is always kept busy, whether it is a proactive and generally compliant client just wanting a few words of comfort before the HMRC officers come along, or a new client having a last minute panic because they have been lax on PAYE matters for years, or a business faced with a huge tax demand once HMRC have "done their worst", there is always valuable advice and input we can provide along the way which can often make an absolutely huge difference to the client's situation.


What support can Optimum PAYE provide ?

The main areas where we can provide support include:

  • Pre HMRC audit
    • General advice, e.g. around the "do's" and "don'ts" of managing HMRC, general tactics, preparing records, etc
    • Identifying and advising on compliance failures including on how these should be disclosed to HMRC in order to minimise penalty charges
    • Full pre audit review (where there is a clear need for this, often it is not recommended nor required)
  • During the HMRC audit
    • Leading pre and post audit discussions with HMRC
    • Raising and negotiating any upfront disclosures
    • Advising on any specific points that arise during the audit either onsite or remotely
    • Client "hand-holding"
  • Post audit
    • Reviewing and advising on HMRC's post audit letter
    • Discussions, negotiations and correspondence with HMRC regarding tax technical matters arising from the review including any settlement and penalty calculations
    • Formal representations on behalf of the client if matters progress through the tax tribunal
    • Rectifying compliance failures and areas of concern going forward


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