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Q&A: Getting RTI ready

Posted in: Employing people, Real Time Information (RTI)
45 comment

Get your free RTI guideThanks to everyone for your RTI questions to our payroll panel.

Our Q&A is now closed. 

If you missed our Live Q&A you might like to download our free RTI guide.

What is RTI?

RTI, or Real Time Information, is new legislation being introduced by HMRC from April 2013. It’s a new and improved way of reporting and means most employers will need to submit PAYE in real time. Sound scary? It’s not if you know how! This is where we can help…..

Last week we launched the new RTI edition of Sage 50 Payroll so we thought that this week would be great to have our Payroll and RTI experts at hand for a live Q&A session. Our experienced panel will share their suggestions and tips on anything from features of the new Sage 50 payroll to the basics of submitting employee information to HMRC.

How do I ask a question?

Sorry, questions are now closed but don’t worry we’ve got plenty of RTI information for you at

Posted in: Employing people, Real Time Information (RTI)
45 comment


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  • Jean Prickett

    Has the Inland Revenue now closed the “soft launch” for RTI?

    • Jonathan Cowan

      @Jean Prickett – The ‘pilot’ phase (ran from April to October) has closed, but the “soft launch” period is currently open. HMRC has told us that businesses who wish to join the soft launch have until the 31st December to do so. The process will be to email the RTI migration team – to request a join date.You must also have RTI compliant software such as Sage 50 Payroll, in which this can be done easily. It’s a good move to get involved early and understand the implications for you and your business, rather than leave it to the last moment.


  • Cath Hadfield

    We already use Sage Payroll 50 payroll and pay a Sage Cover. Will we have to purchase the new software to RTI ready?

    • Daniel Docherty

      @Cath Hadfield A Sage cover contract means that you will be be RTI compliant, However the RTI Edition helps you get ready for RTI as well the other great features like Show Me How that helps you get the most out of your Sage 50 Payroll.

  • Sally

    Live dates – various communications state that companies will be told by HMRC that their payroll will go live between April and October 2013, however the SAGE website states that April 2013 is mandatory for all SAGE clients??
    Can we process our clients on RTI before HMRC tell us to???

    • Gary Ging

      @Sally – All employers with less than 5000 employees will start to process their payroll using the RTI system from their first payroll run on or after 6th April 2013, unless you have agreed with HMRC to start earlier during the RTI pilot phase.

      Any employer with 5000 or more employees should have already been contaced by HMRC to agree their RTI start date, which will be between June and October 2013, unless they agree to start earlier during the RTI pilot phase.

      Jonathan @sageuk

  • Shirley Smith & Co

    We have a question regarding the FPS for our clients.
    We have several weekly payrolls which we process 3-5 days after the hours have been worked, ie process date of 9/11/12 but we do not receive the information until 12/13th November. Once the information has been sent to our client, we are not given the exact date as to when employees are paid, but it will certainly be a date which is after the processing date used. Will this cause problems? and if so, how do we overcome this.

    • Gary Ging

      @Shirley Smith and Co. – One of the key requirements of the RTI system is that the employer must send their Full Payment Submission (FPS) to HMRC by the date of the payment to the employee.

      Your process date should be the date the payment is made to the employee, as per current HMRC guidlines, and so this is the date by which you should have sent the FPS.

      If the FPS is received by HMRC after the payment date then this will be deemed to be a late submission, which could then lead to the employer receiving a fine.

      Using your example dates, you need to know when the payment is being made to the employee so that you can use that as your processing date, and the FPS will need to have been sent by that date.


  • Shirley Smith & Co

    Regarding the hours worked by each employee.
    From your information, we have seen that each employee needs to have their hours inputted into their personal records, but if we use pay elements is this still the case? The information was not clear on your guidelines, but for all our clients, whether a regular amount/hours/or rate, we always use a pay element to display their pay amount/hours, therefore do we still have to enter hours of pay and/or use the ‘other’ from drop down menu?

    • Gary Ging

      @Shirley Smith and Co – The number of hours the employee is normally expected to work per week must be included in the Full Payment Submission, each time you pay your employee. This is not the actual hours worked but, effectively, their contracted hours.

      You can use the ‘Salary’ option within the Employee Record to define these hours, assuming they have an agreed number of contracted hours. If they do not have a regular number of hours that they work per week then you do not have to enter anything into the Salary option and ‘Other’ will be included in the submission.

      However, regardless of whether or not you enter a value for this, it does not change how you currently use your existing pay elements and you will continue to enter the relevant values for these each pay period.

      Gary @sageuk

  • Aimee

    We have some clients who pay their employees the same net wage each week therefore we currently only up date our system once a month when the PAYE is due to be paid to save on cost. Will we still be able to do this or will we have to process the wages each week instead of processing four/five weeks at one time?

    • Daniel Docherty

      @Aimee Under RTI you will need to update your records every time you process your employees as you will need to submitted as part of an FPS on or before the date there wages land in their bank account.
      Dan Docherty Sage uk

      • Aimee Meredith

        thank you

  • Cath

    Hi everyone

    Let’s meet the panel for our Live Q&A:

    Jon Cowan

    Jonathan leads Sage’s Payroll business, and has been with Sage for 18 months. He has over 15 years marketing experience in Mobile Telco, Web and IT, having lead product management, brand marketing and proposition development teams at One 2 One, T-Mobile and Skype. At Sage he leads the product management team in the Small Business Division, before taking up his current role as Payroll Category Manager.

    Gary Ging

    Gary Ging is a Senior Business Analyst in Research & Development. Having worked at Sage for over 20 years he has extensive experience in the design and development of business software for small to medium size businesses. A key responsibility is liaising with HMRC to ensure that our products and services adhere to current and future legislation, while understanding the needs of the customer. He has been involved with the RTI project since the publication of the original HMRC discussion document in July 2010, working closely with HMRC to help deliver an RTI solution that is fit for purpose.

    Dan Docherty

    Daniel Docherty is an Associate Product Manager For Sage Small Business Divison People Products. Daniel has worked at Sage since 2004 and has worked his way from frontline support of both Payroll and Accounts software to Associate Product Manager for Sage 50 Payroll and Sage Instant payroll.

    Jonathan Dowden

    Jonathon Dowden is the Product Manager for People products In Sage Small Business Division. Jonathan first used Sage 50 payroll in 1990 when being forced to work in the family business during the school holidays. Since that time Jonathan has grown to love Sage products, through working with enterprise agencies to support and advise a diverse range of start-ups, and small businesses and now as product manager for people products.

  • thomas fischer

    I am working with an I Mac. Is Sage supporting macs ??

  • thomas fischer

    does Sage support I Macs ?

    • Daniel Docherty

      @ Thomas Fischer At the moment our software will not run natvily on apple osx. But will run under windows under boot camp or other virtual machine software. We also have a online payroll solution Sage One Payroll which will run in any web browser.

  • Julie O’Callaghan

    Is the date for FPS for expat modified payroll up to 14 days after calculation of the payroll or 14 days after the tax month in which you have calculated the payroll?

    • Jonathan Cowan

      @Julie – An FPS will need to be submitted each month, on or before the payment to the employee, no later than the 19th of the month following the end of the tax month in which the earnings are paid. check out Hope that helps.


  • Christine

    What happens with directors annual pay? Will they need to be entered each month or can one entry still be made at the start of end of the year by indicating that they are annual only?

    • Jonathan Cowan

      If they are part of a larger PAYE scheme, then marking them as irregular (i.e. On Hold) would be fine, but if this is the only employee on the scheme, an FPS will have to be posted every quarter.

  • Aimee Meredith

    We have some clients who pay their employees the same net wage each week therefore we currently only up date our system once a month when the PAYE is due to be paid to save on cost. Will we still be able to do this or will we have to process the wages each week instead of processing four/five weeks at one time?

    Also will directors of limited companies have to be processed weekly/monthly like an employee?

    • Daniel Docherty

      @ Aimee If they are part of a larger PAYE scheme, then marking them as irregular (i.e. On Hold) would be fine, but if this is the only employee on the scheme, an FPS will have to be posted every quarter.
      Dan Docherty @Sageuk

  • Claire Stickings

    Hi – I understand under the new RTI rules that P46 will no longer be required. Please can you let me know what tax code we should use for an employee who joins us without a P45. Will it always be the standard code?

    • Gary Ging


      The P46 will still exist under RTI. If a new employee does not give you a P45 then you should operate the P46 process in exactly the same way in which you do today. This information will then be included in the FPS when you pay them for the first time.

      Additionally, if a new employee does give you a P45 you must now ask the P46 question as well, although this should not change the tax code that is shown on the P45.

      Gary @sageuk

  • Sally

    Following on from the above answer, what circumstances would we be able to submit quarterly as opposed to monthly?
    If we have PAYE schemes that are open but no employees at the present time, does an EPS have to be sent every month, or can that be actioned quarterly?

    • Daniel Docherty

      @Sally – At the moment in the pilot a nil payment has to filed each month. However from April you will be able to submit a single EPS that will span the following 6 months.

      Dan Docherty @Sageuk

  • Julie

    If I have an employee who has left to go to University, but might come back in the holidays to work do I put them hold and still include on the FPS? What happens if I keep including them for more than 3 months?

    • Gary Ging

      Hi Julie

      If the employee was issued a P45 when they left to go to university then a new employee record should be created if/when they return to work during the holidays. The normal P46 procedure should be followed for this new employment.

      If they were not issued with a P45 and they are still under this employment then you just need to put them on hold for the periods in which they are not receiving any pay and they will be included in the FPS.

      Gary Ging
      Sage UK


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  • Gary Ging

    @SueAltys – If you have a current SageCover contract then the version of the software you will receive as part of your Year End Pack will be fully RTI compliant. The version that was released for the current tax year already includes the funtionality required to operate within the RTI system, so if you are due to take part in the pilot then you will already have everything you need.

    Gary @sageuk