Recruiters getting to grips with intermediaries reporting
A survey of more than 100 recruitment agency professionals, conducted by ADVANCE, found that most have adjusted well to the regulations.
Just 11% of respondents said the additional layer of admin has had a major impact on their agency, with 25% experiencing either very little or no impact.
A majority (54%) agreed that HMRC had been helpful and managed the introduction of the reporting and record-keeping requirements well.
There was, however, some strong criticism from those who felt the launch could have been handled better.
One recruiter stated, “HMRC's advice has been unclear and ambiguous, and in some instances unhelpful and threatening.”
Another said, “Hardly any information has been provided prior to, during or since the introduction. We would not have been aware the legislation had been introduced if it wasn't for the umbrella companies we work with.”
Introduced earlier this year as part of government efforts to combat false self-employment, the reporting requirements mean a staffing firm must keep a record of all contract and temporary workers who are not paid through its own PAYE scheme.
This data must be sent to HMRC via a quarterly online return. The current reporting period ends on 5th January 2016.
Founded in 2010, ADVANCE is the only provider to have passed Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) audits for limited company, umbrella company and self-employment solutions.
The company supports contractors, freelancers and recruitment businesses operating in a range of sectors, from IT, technology and engineering to construction and manufacturing.
Other key findings from ADVANCE’s survey include:
• 64% of respondents have found the process of uploading and submitting data to HMRC to be reasonably straightforward, with 16% describing it as very straightforward. The remaining 20% found it either somewhat or extremely challenging.
• Umbrella companies and contractor accountancy firms are the most popular source of advice and guidance on the requirements, with 42% of recruiters turning to them.
• Almost half of respondents (45%) rate their knowledge of the reporting requirements as good.
Owain Davies, operations manager at ADVANCE and member of an HMRC user group working to improve the report upload process, said the survey results would provide useful and encouraging feedback for the tax authority.
He added, “It seems that, on the whole, recruiters are getting to grips with the reporting requirements.
“While HMRC can take heart from this, it’s clear from our research that there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“We have received several practical suggestions for making the upload process more user-friendly, and will be passing these onto HMRC in due course.”