Listed below are links to the most frequently asked questions from customers who have used the service.
A. There are two main formats used when online PAYE information is exchanged with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), EDIFACT and Generic Flat File (GFF). You will need the following for each format:
A. Very soon. Before this can happen there is a mandatory testing process for the employer. It involves completing four successful consecutive tests per PAYE message type. If certificated software is used, only one successful test is needed. There is also a consultation process where HMRC representatives can give advice and support. Contact Online Services for more information.
A. View a list of HMRC recognised products. These products can exchange online versions of PAYE forms and returns in the right way.
A. No. HMRC currently support:
The names and addresses of suppliers can be found at PAYE Online for Employers: EDI software and forms
A. High Speed Digital connection for passing data online between two organisations.
A. Yes, you are simply calling a different number. However if you want to send Odette File Transfer Protocol (OFTP) over your ISDN line, it is important to approach a supplier of OFTP software for advice on where it needs installing in your system.
A. Generally yes. Remember the need to install software such as Odette File Transfer Protocol to transmit the data.
A. Organisations are advised to discuss costs with their potential VAN supplier as there may be an opportunity to negotiate cost based on likely transaction volumes.
The commonly used VANs, with the relevant contact details, can be found at PAYE Online for Employers: EDI software and forms.
A. The cost of EDI software varies depending on the EDI software supplier chosen. There are basic PC-based packages to large-scale corporate communication gateways.
A. This can vary and organisations are advised to discuss costs with their potential supplier.
A. Anything from two days to four weeks, this will depend on the communications supplier.
A. The cost varies, but generally they are not much more than normal telephone calls.
A. There is no set period for the length of time taken between registering and the set up for testing. There are many important EDI issues to discuss before testing is considered and it is worthwhile contacting Online Services who will provide guidance and advice.
A. During testing, message rejections are caused by translation failures, which are due to syntax errors. This is where the format of the data does not match the format specified in EB5 (PAYE) - Message Implementation Guidelines. If any interchange transmitted by the employer to HMRC contains an error, this will be reported to the sender.
Typical problems are bad characters, that is characters that are not in the published character set for the message, missing mandatory data, incorrect sequence of data and for GFF messages, incorrect field lengths.
A. After correcting the reported error, the employer must then re-send the message or entire interchange if this was agreed by the employer. For example, if an employer intends to send interchanges containing many messages, the employer can select the rejection level to be either message or interchange.
Message rejection level is where, if an error occurs within a message, only that message is rejected and processing continues for all other messages within the interchange. Only rejected messages are then re-sent. Interchange rejection level is where, if an error occurs within any message in the interchange, the entire interchange is rejected and the employer must then re-send the entire interchange.
A. Once a message is live errors should not occur, since the message should have undergone thorough testing.
However, errors could occur if there is a change at the employer end,
such as the EDI or Payroll software or, if the test data was not automatically
generated during the testing phase.
If test data is taken from a 'test system', problems can occur when the move to live operation takes place. This is typically due to bad characters within the live system, a data cleanse or some pre-validation of the data being taken will help to reduce the problem. As data is constantly being added to the payroll this may be required on a regular basis.
A. All communication between the employer and HMRC is delivered through
trusted (authorised certified bodies) third party network providers,
ie, Value Added Networks, or uses other direct communication methods,
eg, X.400, Integrated Services Digital Networks.
Documentation regarding security of data is available from the individual communication software suppliers.
The names and addresses for these companies are at PAYE Online for Employers: EDI software and forms.
A. ASPIRE, on behalf of HMRC, has a tracking system that monitors all files sent and received. This also includes acknowledgement receipts between HMRC and the employer.
'Rejected' messages receive an acknowledgment with an error report attached.
Only mandatory online filing forms attract acknowledgments for 'accepted' messages.
A. This depends on where the technical difficulties are found. If the technical difficulties are not with the employer, penalties can be avoided by providing proof that the correct data was sent on time.
A. The employer needs to send a P46 to HMRC so that a tax code number can be issued for the employee.
A. If the employee has left, the employer should check that a P45(1) has been sent to the appropriate HMRC office. If it has, or if the employee is unknown, the employer should contact the appropriate HMRC office for advice.
A. With EDI tax codes must be no longer than seven characters. There must be no leading zeros or spaces (with the exception of the '0T' Tax Code, where the '0' precedes the 'T' as part of the code value) and no trailing spaces.
The Tax Code is held within the ALC segment of both the 'MOVDED' and 'CONTRB' messages.
A. The SVR Indicator is held within the ATT segment associated with the ALC segment of the 'MOVDED' message.
A. No. P7X and P9X bulk code changes guidance notes are not included in the scope of online filing for PAYE.
A. An EDI interchange (UNB-UNZ) is an online envelope, and contains the addressing information of the sender and receiver.
A single EDI interchange may contain one or more EDI messages.
For example, an interchange can contain one EDI message, such as:
Or alternatively, an interchange can contain many EDI messages, such as:
The way in which an interchange is applied is the choice of the Trading Partner to suit their own administration purposes.
A. For the purpose of EDI, a file is the mechanism in which data is enveloped together and transmitted from a sender to a receiver across a telecommunication link, such as a VAN, AS2 or ISDN. A file contains one or more EDI interchanges.
For further information refer to EB5 (PAYE) - Message Implementation Guidelines document.
A. A MIG provides both the Generic Flat File formats and the EDIFACT format of PAYE documents.
A. All monetary values must be provided in pence even when the usual business requirement is for the whole pound (£), eg, the value £123,456 must be presented as 12345600 within the MOA segment.
A. Each EDI message (EDIFACT UNH-UNT or four star headed GFF message) contains information for only one single employer, Tax District (and Bureau), but may contain the PAYE documents for one or more employees. For further information refer to EB5 (PAYE) - Message Implementation Guidelines document.
A. HMRC Online Services
Or contact the Online Services Helpdesk.