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  • Make sure to meet tax deadline this month or face £100 penalty Oct 25, 2021 at 10:41 AM

    I know what you’re thinking - tax deadline? Not another one! How much do I owe now? But don’t worry, as it’s Spooky Season I wanted to scare you and hopefully it worked as now I have your attention! Let me give you the deets while you compose yourself.

    This tax deadline only applies to those who are self-employed and submit paper tax returns only. This tax return will be where you declare your income and Capital Gains for a tax year with the information provided used to calculate how much tax you owe. The deadline to file the 20/21 paper tax return and pay anything owed is 11:59 pm on Sunday, October 31, 2021.

    While it may seem like plenty of time, we all know how much the last year has been disrupted and HMRC understands that it may take people longer to gather the information needed. Especially if you were in receipt of SEISS payments to help you through the 2020/21 tax year. Documents needed could include your P60, P45, P11D or P9D. You might also need to provide a summary of any rental income and expenses or statement of earnings from savings and investments.

    If you wish to submit a paper form you can download it and print it out from the GOV.UK website here. Self-employed people should use form SA100 for the 2021 tax year.

    Once you have calculated what you owe the taxman, you can pay HMRC by bank transfer, cheque or an in-bank slip that HMRC can provide. If you need to spread your payments out overtime you can use a budget payment plan. If you search “time to pay” on GOV.UK you will find more information on how to spread your tax payments over a longer period of time to make it more affordable. However, a form and arrangement must be made between you and HMRC.

    What happens if you miss the deadline?

    Well it’s no trick-or-treat - if you miss the submission or payment deadline then you will be charged a penalty of £100. Happy Halloween. If it’s more than three months late you can be charged an extra £10 a day up to a maximum of £900.

    The good news is, if you plan to submit your tax return online then the deadline is the 31st of January 2022 which gives you substantially more time but may not be suitable for everyone. Either way, it’s always best to get things ready and in order in ample time as much as you can, but it’s been a rough year and we get it! The last thing you need, however, is a fine as the cherry on top.


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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne |BrightPay Payroll software

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  • Payroll processing: 10 key things payroll managers should know Oct 19, 2021

    How do I prepare for payroll?

    Payday is a day all employees look forward to, but for many business owners, it’s not exactly the highlight of the month. Running payroll can be a stressful and time-consuming task, one that can have serious repercussions if done incorrectly. When payroll mistakes are made, you risk your relationship with employees, you lose time correcting errors, and you may damage your reputation.

    Although payroll is complex and can have a variety of moving parts, the challenges of payroll processing can be managed. Here are the critical points all payroll processors should do to ensure payday is a success.

    1. Accurate data

    It’s no surprise to hear that collecting and inputting the correct payroll data is essential. The best way to achieve this is to ensure you have an organised workflow between human resources and payroll. Make sure all relevant data is gathered, including employees’ additions, deductions, and the tax codes to use. Ideally, the information you collect should be verified by the employee before the first payroll is run.

    2. Essential data

    Make sure the data you collect is the minimum amount of personal data you need to carry out your payroll duties. This will ensure that you comply with the regulations set out in the GDPR. This information should be kept up-to-date and be accessible to employees at anytime. BrightPay Connect, an online cloud tool can help you achieve this by enabling employees to update their personal information from anywhere, at any time.

    3. Track employee hours

    It’s vital that the employee hours are complete, accurate and current. The best way to achieve this is to have an efficient tracking system in place that fits within your workflow. An internal control check can be useful – supervisors must approve the hours worked.

    4. Enrol your employees in a pension scheme

    Under the Pensions Act 2008 you must enrol certain staff into a workplace pension scheme and contribute towards it. There are several steps involved including employee assessment, enrolment, personalised enrolment letters, ongoing employee monitoring and re-enrolment.

    5. Send payslips

    By law, you must provide employees with payslips which include data such as proof of earnings, tax paid and any pension contributions. If sending payslips by email, they must be password protected. Likewise, if employees access their payslip using a self-service portal, each employee should be set up with their own unique password. By supplying payslips digitally, you are not only protecting the employee’s personal data, but you are also improving your sustainability efforts.

    Read about BrightPay’s sustainability journey and goal of becoming net-zero by 2023.

    6. Payment deadlines

    Upon each pay period, you must submit a Full Payment Submission (FPS) to HMRC. An FPS is to be sent on or before each payday and informs HMRC about the payments and deductions for each employee. If no employees are paid in a particular period, you are still required to submit a nil FPS.

    7. Streamline your payment methods

    Crucially, once you’ve finalised your payroll, you must transfer the money into the employee’s accounts. If paying by credit transfers, using a Bank Payment File, make sure you have approval from your bank to submit Bacs files to them. Ensure you give yourself enough time - submitting Bacs files each month can be time-consuming and the payment can take up to three days to process. A more efficient alternative is using a Faster Payments method which can settle payments in under 90 seconds. With BrightPay’s integration with Modulr, the payments platform, you have access to Faster Payments and can pay employees 24/7, 365 days a year.

    8. Stay updated on payroll legislation and compliance

    Payroll legislation is continuously changing. Each year, the government’s plans for spending and taxation will affect you. Other societal influences may also have an impact, which has been more than evident this year with the furlough scheme. Remain tax compliant by using a payroll software that will update and notify you of any changes to the current payroll legislation. BrightPay includes in-year payroll upgrades to cater for legislative changes at no additional cost.

    9. Reporting

    At the end of each tax year, you must send HMRC your final payroll report of the year. To prepare for the new tax year, you should update employee payroll records, update your payroll software, and give your employees a P60. You should also report employee expenses and benefits by July 6th. Find out more about the payroll year end process.

    10. Pick the best software

    You can simplify all of these payroll tasks with the right payroll software. Your payroll software should automate tasks, improve productivity and save you money. BrightPay, used by over 320,000 businesses across the UK and Ireland, automates auto-enrolment, integrates with multiple accounting software, facilitates payments directly to your employees, and provides free support to all customers.

    Discover more:

    Interested in learning more? Book a demo today to discover how BrightPay can improve your payroll processes. BrightPay also offers a 60-day free trial of its payroll software, an ideal way to test out the software to see if it’s the right fit for your business. The free trial version has full functionality with no limitations on any of the features.

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  • Payroll and accounting software integration - the best of both worlds Oct 14, 2021

    If you use accounting software then you already know how great they are. You enter less data, track fewer receipts and spend less time dealing with cumbersome and human-error prone processes. With accounting software you can record the flow of your company's money and examine your financial condition whilst recording transactions, generating reports, creating purchase orders etc. etc. etc. Any accounting software is bound to make your life easier and save you a ton of time which leaves you more time to focus on your business.

    But what about the payroll part of your business? This is just as important and can be as prone to human error and time sinking! However, although some accounting packages have a built-in payroll module, the payroll aspect is not their focus, leaving the functionality lacking in more than the basic processing capabilities.

    On the other hand, payroll software does exist which will automate all of the confusing and time-consuming payroll tasks for you also. Gee, if only there was some way that you could take all of the great benefits of payroll software and merge it into your accounting software...

    Well, today is your lucky day because this absolute dream is already a reality and it’s called BrightPay. BrightPay is a dedicated payroll software that includes direct API integration with loads of the leading accounting packages such as Sage, QuickBooks and Xero to name but a few. Whereas all these companies are brilliant accounting packages, BrightPay’s core focus is payroll so they are more responsive, unlike accounting software where payroll is only a small part of it. BrightPay still talks to the accounting software, making it literally the best of both worlds.

    So how does it work? BrightPay’s payroll journal feature allows users to create wage journals from finalised pay periods so that they can be added into various accounting packages. With this direct integration, you can send the payroll journal to the accounting package from within BrightPay. This accounting software integration eliminates the need to export a CSV file from a separate payroll software and import it into the accounting system.

    By switching to an integrated system like BrightPay you only need to provide the information once and your payroll and accounting software will talk to each other and do the rest like a couple of pals who haven’t seen each other in months. It really is a win-win situation, getting, wait for it, the best of both worlds! Head on over to BrightPay now and have a look. Go on, you deserve it!

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • The best way to get your employees' attention? Through their phones! Oct 7, 2021

    In a 2021 survey by Statista on smartphone usage, it was found that 87% of adults in the UK owned a smartphone. 100% of those surveyed, who belong to Generation Z (anyone currently aged 9-24) used a smartphone. 46% of all respondents also said that they used smartphones more now than they did before the pandemic and unsurprisingly, smartphone usage is expected to continue to increase in the coming years.

    The survey also found that people in the UK check their phones, on average, every 12 minutes. This statistic substantiates why some employers have a ban on the use of mobile phones in the workplace. If employees are working in a customer facing role or work in a public place, it can look unprofessional if they are constantly on their phone. More importantly, phone usage at work can actually become a health and safety issue, for example for an employee working in a factory which uses dangerous machinery. In other roles, mobiles in the workplace are simply a distraction which may reduce productivity.

    While employee phone usage can become a nuisance for employers, it may be difficult for some to ban mobile phones altogether, especially in some office settings or with employees working remotely. People’s phones are their connection to the outside world and for many, the devices have become almost like an extension of themselves. For some businesses, instead of having an outright ban, it might be a better option to have a less strict mobile policy while also finding ways to use employees' reliance on their smartphones to your advantage.

    How can you use employees' smartphones to catch their attention?

    BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud add-on to BrightPay payroll software which has its own employee smartphone app. When employers use BrightPay Connect, they can invite employees to download the BrightPay app from The App Store or from the Google Play Store. From the app, employees have access to a number of useful HR functions which can help make employers, managers and HR professionals’ jobs a lot easier. Listed below are the functions which can be performed using the employee app.

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    Share a Mobile Phone Policy and other documents with employees
    One way of ensuring employees are aware of the rules surrounding the use of mobile phones in the workplace is to share a Mobile Phone Policy document with them. And although it may sound counterintuitive, one of the best ways to make sure they read this document is by sharing it with them through an app on their phone.

    Through BrightPay Connect, employers can log in to their employer dashboard and upload any documents they wish to share with employees. Once uploaded, the employer can then choose which employees they would like to share the document with or they can share the document with all employees. Once the document becomes available to the employee, they will receive a push notification on their mobile. Push notifications are a great way of capturing your employees’ attention and it gives them quick and easy access to the document. The document will then be available for the employee to access anytime, anywhere. This means that even if you have a policy where employees are supposed to have their mobiles turned off during work hours, the documents can still be easily accessed on their lunch break or outside of work hours.

    The employer also has the power to monitor which employees have opened the document and which have not. If you need to update a policy that can be easily done and once the new updated document is available, the employee will once again be notified by push notification. Examples of other documents you could share with employees this way are contracts of employment, a staff handbook or a working from home policy. Sharing documents with employees this way means you are also saving trees and helping to reduce pollution. Read our blog about the many ways the employee app can help your business go paperless.

    Share payslips with employees instantly
    Another great way to harness the power of the employee app is to use it to share employees’ payslips with them. Once the payroll is finalised, payslips are automatically generated and added to the employee’s app. A push notification will notify employees that their latest payslip has become available. From the app, employees will also have access to all past payslips meaning they won’t have to come to you to request copies, should they need them.

    Allow employees to request annual leave
    Through the payroll app, employees can request annual leave wherever or whenever suits them. Once a request for leave has been made, the employer or relevant manager will receive a notification on their own BrightPay Connect dashboard. From the dashboard, employers can either approve or deny the leave request. Once a decision has been made, the employee will receive a push notification to inform them that their leave request has either been approved or denied. Employees can also request to cancel leave if they wish to do so. The app’s calendar allows employees to track their leave and how much leave they have taken and how much they have remaining. Being able to access this function through their mobile allows employees to manage their annual leave at a time which suits them.

    Allow employees to update their information
    The employee app also offers employees the ability to update their personal information which the employer has on file for them. Updating details like a new address or a new mobile number is something employees could easily forget to do. Or maybe going to HR to request a form which they must then fill out and return seems like too much hassle. Being able to add their personal information using the mobile app is more convenient for employees and means they will be more likely to keep it updated.

    While mobiles can be a nuisance in the workplace, they’re not all bad. Employers can learn to embrace them and use their ubiquity to their advantage. To discover more about BrightPay Connect and the benefits of the employee app, why not book a few online demo today.

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  • The hidden ways HR can benefit from managing payroll in-house Oct 4, 2021

    Managing payroll in-house is fast replacing the tendency to outsource the role, as cloud automation continues to have an effect on streamlining and simplifying a once difficult task.

    Some benefits are easy to identify. Employers say that costs can be reduced since being in control of your own payroll means that you are less likely to be hit with additional hidden fees. Other obvious advantages can include greater control over highly-sensitive data and greater flexibility in reacting to changes to the payroll.

    But what about other benefits that are not as obvious? Fortunately for HR professionals, cloud innovation can have a big impact on workflows, especially when it comes to the crossover between HR and payroll tasks.

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    Online systems, such as BrightPay Connect, can reduce much of the manual, repetitive work involved in payroll and HR processes. It enables powerful features that further justify the decision to take payroll administration in-house.
    • Fewer calls and emails to HR: Employees can be invited to their own secure online self-service portal. Historical payslips and payroll documents are accessible 24/7 by the employee, instantly reducing a huge volume of time-consuming requests to HR. Gone are the days of employees requesting a history of past or lost payslips, for example, if they were applying for a loan or mortgage.
    • Easier employee management: BrightPay Connect offers employers a central online location to keep employee records safe and secure. Not only are payslips and payroll documents automatically available, but other HR and company documents can also be uploaded. Employment contracts, company handbooks, training documents and company newsletters can all be uploaded for easy distribution, again reducing the volume of related queries to HR. Documents with restricted access can be added, for example, appraisal and disciplinary documents to aid in ongoing performance evaluation.
    • Easier annual leave management: The cumbersome nature of managing annual leave is made much easier with BrightPay Connect. With the employee self-service portal, employees can view their annual leave entitlement and leave balance remaining. They can also request annual leave through their self-service portal. This can reduce the high volume of tedious paper-trails and email traffic to HR. Payroll and HR managers can easily approve leave requests through the online employer dashboard. Approved leave then automatically synchronises back to the payroll software on your PC and is instantly updated on the company-wide online calendar, and so HR can easily track leave and plan staff cover.
    • Happier employee culture: Research consistently shows that when employees feel empowered at work, it has the knock-on effect of stronger job performance, job satisfaction, and commitment to the business. BrightPay Connect’s employee smartphone and tablet app can empower employees by giving them access to view and manage their data online, providing a source of independence, power and control. That convenience adds up to creating a happy and productive workforce culture, the highest aspiration for any HR management team.
    Book a demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay can streamline and automate many of the day-to-day payroll and HR processes.

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  • How can you better support your payroll processor? Sep 28, 2021

    Payroll tends to be one of the more complex administrative and time-consuming tasks for a business. The work is essential, can be tricky, and can have serious repercussions if done incorrectly. Your business’ payroll processor makes the difference between a difficult payroll run and one you don’t even have to think about.

    Your payroll processor needs to manage many different challenges, have great attention to detail, along with having exceptional interpersonal skills. Any employer who has hired one knows that having an excellent payroll processor can be a huge benefit to your business. What can you do to attract and develop such employees?

    How can you support your payroll processor so they can achieve not only a zero-error run rate on their payroll submissions, but can also play a part in seeking opportunities to make improvements across the payroll structure and to the business as a whole?

    How can you set payroll professionals up for success?

    1. Initial training:

    Your new employee may have experience on a number of payroll and accounting systems, but you should take the time as part of their basic onboarding experience to train them up on the software you use and the systems and workflows you have in place. Yourpayroll software, such as BrightPay Payroll, will likely offer various supports to help train up your employees on the software. Although this training may seem like an obvious thing to do, it can make the difference between a processor using only half the software’s functionality and one who can leverage the more advanced features of the system to improve overall workflows. Product demos, video tutorials and online webinars are all freely available to BrightPay customers.

    2. Connecting and team building:

    The earlier you start supporting your employees, the better. With the right support, they can begin to contribute to the business and achieve the desired goals. Although it is important that you support your employee to develop the technical know-how, it is also necessary to help the employee understand the company’s culture, the structure of the company, and who the key decision-makers are. Once they start building relationships with their colleagues, they’ll begin to work more effectively. It’s therefore important you take the time to connect them with their colleagues and to provide them with the best information and support available.

    3. Training and development:

    Ongoing training can help improve and gain new skills which has been shown to increase workplace engagement and employee retention. It’s also particularly relevant to payroll processors who must stay up to date in a continuously changing sector. They are ultimately responsible for making sure the business remains compliant with legislative changes to taxes, pensions, and other payroll duties. Ensure you give your payroll processor time to attend webinars and courses to stay current on the latest payroll best practices, technology and compliance requirements.

    4. Soft skills:

    Employees looking to develop their career will be interested in opportunities to improve their management and leadership skills. One way to support this is to provide the chance for the employee to propose new ideas, lead on projects and pursue a topic they are particularly interested in.

    5. Technology solutions

    While your payroll processor works under pressure to tight deadlines, they can also be supported by the payroll technology solutions they use. With BrightPay payroll software, they can avoid much of the manual entry traditionally associated with payroll and reduce mistakes made due to human error. The software automates tasks such as sendingpayroll journals to your accounting software, sending submissions to HMRC, sending outstanding enrolment and contributions submissions to their pension providerand more. This can significantly help your employee to complete their duties, save them time, and allow them to focus on higher-level accounting functions for the business.

    Book a demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay can help your payroll processor save time, improve efficiency and increase profits.

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  • BrightPay integration with FreeAgent adds up to more productive payroll Sep 21, 2021

    Once upon a time, payroll software and accounting systems stood side by side but they never spoke or communicated directly with each other. Today API integrations have transformed the world of payroll into something much more powerful. API stands for ‘Application Programming Interface’, or put into layman's terms, means that two systems can communicate with each other.

    Growing understanding of the value of payroll software integration
    Payroll administration is synonymous with repetitive data entry. One of the biggest problems faced by payroll teams is the need to manually import payroll data into their bookkeeping package. This requirement presented a burdensome and time-consuming scenario. In the absence of direct payroll journal API integration, users had to manually enter the payroll data into their accounts system.

    Accountants now have a growing understanding and expectation that their payroll system should directly communicate with other systems. Integrating your payroll solution with your accounting or bookkeeping software makes sense for many reasons, including efficiency, time-saving and improved workflows.

    BrightPay and FreeAgent: A match made in heaven
    BrightPay has teamed up with one of the UK’s most innovative accounting software companies, FreeAgent. BrightPay and FreeAgent now offer an API facility to directly communicate payroll information between the payroll and accounting application. Users can produce the payroll journal file that is specifically formatted for FreeAgent, allowing users to easily upload their payroll figures into their general ledger.

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    Payroll integration to mark the end of error-prone double entry?
    Double entry of payroll figures is notorious for producing errors, which then have to be identified and rectified. BrightPay’s API offering has made it possible for the instant flow of payroll information from the payroll software to FreeAgent, eliminating much of the associated drudgery and potential for errors.

    Payroll data can now be transferred without fuss into FreeAgent’s accounts package at the click of a button. The need to manually export and import CSV files is instantly eliminated, and in its place, the payroll manager has time for more productive activities.

    Complimentary award-winning software solutions
    It’s an appropriate link-up for two companies who have both been recognised with awards by the accounting profession in recent years. FreeAgent is a cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting solution while BrightPay is a dedicated payroll software with its own cloud-based add-on. Both are highly regarded for their easy-to-use software, intuitive and attractive interface, affordable pricing, excellent customer support and suitability for small businesses.

    Through integrating systems, FreeAgent allows BrightPay software to take care of the technical and complex, leaving you to complete other tasks important to your business.

    Book a free online demo and find out more about BrightPay’s API integration with accounting packages.
  • Deadline reminder! Have you registered for Self-Assessment? Sep 17, 2021

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    If you need to register for Self Assessment, you must do so by 5th October 2021. You’ll need to do this to get your account set up in time to submit your tax return. This registration date for self-assessment is at the end of the tax year in which your income or gains first arose. Therefore, if you’re self-employed, this date will take place in your business’s second tax year.

    What is self-assessment?

    Self Assessment is a system HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses to collect Income Tax and National Insurance. It applies if you’re self-employed as a sole trader earning more than £1000 or a partner in a business partnership. If you freelance on the side, you may have to submit a self-assessment.

    Typically, employees automatically pay their Income Tax and NI each pay period through PAYE. However, an employee may need to report untaxed income such as earnings from renting a property, income from other savings, investment or dividends, as well as foreign income. You can use gov.uk’s online tool to check if you need to send a tax return.

    How do I register for self-assessment?

    How you register for Self Assessment depends on your circumstance. Depending on whether you’re employed, self-employed, or a partner, you can register by post or online. To check which way you should register, click here.

    What now?

    Once you’re registered with HMRC, you'll need to activate your account before filing your tax return. You can file your tax return(usually online) any time before midnight, 31stJanuary. This information will be used by HMRC to calculate how much Income Tax and National Insurance you must pay. The deadline for paying is also 31st January. Once you’ve registered, you will not need to register again the following year. However, if you do not need to submit a Self Assessment the following year, you must inform HMRC.

    Never miss a deadline:

    To keep up to date on deadlines, industry insights, and news, subscribe to BrightPay's newsletter. BrightPay is an industry-leading payroll software with over 320,000 customers in the UK and Ireland. BrightPay publishes blogs, guides and hosts frequent webinars, free-of-charge, to support the accounting and bookkeeping community. Check out the full list of our upcoming webinarshere.

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  • What is automated payroll backup (in 140 words)? Sep 13, 2021

    We know you’re busy, so we’ll get right to it. Automated payroll backup is the latest trend in payroll administration, and for very good reason. Here’s what it means, and why.

    Automated backups mean that, without you needing to click the “save” button, your payroll will automatically be stored securely in the cloud and saved periodically (for example every fifteen minutes). But why is it rapidly becoming the most popular feature to look for in a payroll system?

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    Well, it’s simple. Automated payroll backups mean that if your system crashes or laptop suddenly catches fire, you’ll have a recent version of your payroll saved in the cloud. This version can be instantly restored, once the fire has been dealt with of course, and you can pick up where you left off with little or no data loss.

    As well as improving GDPR compliance, this added level of security and peace of mind means that payroll administrators and bureaus especially can rest easy in the knowledge that they’re prepared for any eventuality.

    Book a demo today to discover how BrightPay Connect’s automated backups can help your business.

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  • What the government’s new ‘Health and Social Care Levy’ means for the average worker a.k.a YOU Sep 10, 2021

    If you would’ve told me back in 2019 that the Tories would break a manifesto pledge I would’ve told you to get out of town! Honestly! If you told me when Boris Johnson took office that he would renege on a promise, I would’ve spat out my Pinot Grigio in disbelief! If you would have told me.… anyway, you get the gist. In another chapter of “Here We Go Again: The UK Edition” the Conservative government has today outlined a new health and social care tax that will be introduced onto our payslips from April 2022.

    The health and social care tax is set to raise £12 billion a year and is designed to tackle not only the rising cost of social care but also the backlog of healthcare caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

    It will begin (keyword there being “begin”) as a 1.25% point rise in National Insurance contributions, and then from April 2023, it will appear as a separate tax on earned income, calculated in the same way as National Insurance contributions, on employees’ payslips.

    The increase is also technically a 2.5% rise because employers also pay National Insurance for their employees, and businesses are being subjected to the same 1.25% rise.

    So who has to pay? Surely the top earners? Corporations? Billionaires? HA! No no, this tax will be covered by you and me i.e. all working adults, including old workers (can’t forget them after all their years of hard work now can we) and will be “legally ring-fenced” to only go towards health and social care costs. Income from shared dividends – earned by those who own shares in companies – will also see a 1.25% tax rate increase.

    So how does this look for the average Joe? If you earn £20,000 a year then you will be looking at an extra £130 tax a year. If you earn £30,000 this goes up to £255. £50,000 will see you paying an extra £505, and if you earn £100,000 a year then good for you, you only lose out on £1,130.

    Obviously this move, which is just another in a long list of broken promises, has raised quite a few eyebrows nationwide and got chins a waggin’ (Twitter was made for moments like these). You may also want to get a bowl of popcorn for the next few sessions of Parliament.

    But luckily, when later asked in a press conference after today’s announcement if there will be further tax rises, Boris Johnson firmly stated that this is it and there will be absolutely no more. ONLY JOKING - sorry, I just can’t help myself. He did not promise anything of the sort, despite being asked repeatedly to rule it out.

    Anyway, stay tuned for the next instalment of “Great Britain: The Wonder Years” which I’m sure is just around the corner.

    Learn more:
    To keep up to date on deadlines, industry insights, and news, subscribe to BrightPay’s newsletter. BrightPay is an industry-leading payroll software with over 320,000 customers in the UK and Ireland. BrightPay publishes blogs, guides and hosts frequent webinars, free-of-charge, to support the accounting and bookkeeping community. Check out the full list of our upcoming webinars here.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software[​IMG]
  • Updated guidance on Covid-19 grants and tax returns for the self-employed Sep 7, 2021

    The SEISS (Self-Employment Income Support Scheme) remains in place till the end of September 2021, with applications for the fifth and final grant now open. As of 6 June 2021, the government had paid out £25.2 billion in grants to some 2.9 million self-employed workers whose businesses were affected by coronavirus.

    To add to the stress of the past 18 months, HMRC have also kindly reminded everyone about the dreaded tax returns and issued new guidance to anyone who has benefited from government support during these trying times. I quote: “Grants and payments from schemes to support businesses and self-employed individuals during the coronavirus are taxable”. Lovely!

    So what are the ins and outs? If you are self-employed, in a partnership or are a business and have received a payment to support you during the pandemic then you may need to report this on your tax return. So any payments from COVID-19 support schemes and any grants need to be reported. These include:
    • SEISS grants
    • Self-isolation payments
    • CJRS grants
    • Eat Out To Help Out
    • Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
    • Coronavirus Business Support grants
    If you have received any grants or payments from local authorities or devolved administrations then these are included also. In Scotland these include:
    • Business Support Fund
    • Newly Self-employed Hardship Fund
    • Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund
    • Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund
    • Aquaculture Hardship Fund
    • Sea fisheries Hardship Fund.
    In Wales these include:
    • Welsh government business grants (Grants 1 & 2)
    • Economic Resilience Fund
    In England these include:
    • Small Business Grant Fund
    • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
    • Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund
    • Fisheries Response Funds
    And how should these be reported? When you fill out your tax returns there will be an SEISS grant box on the self-assessment form so any SEISS payments should be placed there. Any other taxable COVID-19 payments should be listed under the “any other business income” box.

    There are some payments that do not fall under these categories even though they are COVID-19 related assistance. These include payments from local authorities that helped with council tax payments or housing benefits. Also, it is important to know that loans such as the Bounce Back loans or Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme are not considered COVID-19 support payments and do not need to be declared.

    So there you have it. HMRC giveth and they taketh away - as the old saying goes. If you aren’t sure if the help you received is taxable or want further help and they have a dedicated helpline or you can speak to your payroll provider who should be able to assist you.

    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll software

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  • Employee Experience: Beyond the Paycheck Aug 26, 2021

    When it comes to job satisfaction there are many factors that play a part. Pay and compensation is of course of high importance to employees. However, there are other elements that are just as, if not more, significant when it comes to employee satisfaction. Being paid a high salary is of little benefit if you are unhappy in your role. Feeling appreciated, having a good relationship with management and colleagues, having a good work-life balance and effective communication are all factors that contribute to employee satisfaction, which cost the employer very little.

    How can you improve employee satisfaction?

    1. Give employees more control
    Giving employees more control is a great way to boost morale. Happier employees are more productive and are more likely to stay in a position.

    One way of giving your employees more control is by allowing them to have access to certain functions that empower them to manage their work lives without having to go to their manager or HR. BrightPay Connect is an add on to BrightPay’s payroll software that can help improve the employee experience. BrightPay Connect includes a smartphone and tablet app that gives employees secure self-service access anytime, anywhere, using their smartphone or tablet.

    Through the employee app, employees can:
    • Request leave – anytime, anywhere
    • View current and past payslips
    • View employee documents
    • View how much leave they have used and how much is remaining
    • Update the details the employer has on file for them (e.g. phone number, address etc.)

    2. Allow employees to work flexibly
    Another way to give employees more control is to allow them to work flexibly. Flexible working is a way of working that suits employee’s needs and can include working from home, hybrid working, working reduced hours or job sharing. Flexible working allows employees to have a better work-life balance. However, one difficulty with flexible working is that with everyone on different schedules and working from various locations it can become difficult for employers to manage their employees.

    BrightPay Connect’s employer dashboard helps you manage your employees as they work flexibly. When an employee submits a leave request you will receive a notification to the dashboard, and from there, the request can be either approved or denied. A company-wide calendar can also be viewed allowing you to see who is on leave, the type of leave and the duration of the leave; making it easier for you to control staffing levels. You also have the option of delegating the handling of certain employee's annual leave to other managers, all in all making it easier for everyone to adjust to flexible working.


    3. Communicate better with employees
    Effective communication with employees is very important. Bad communication or a lack of communication can leave employees feeling frustrated and confused. It is important to check in with your staff regularly to make sure their needs are being met and there is nothing that is being overlooked.

    Contracts of employment, a staff handbook and other documents on company policies allow businesses to be clear on where they stand on certain issues and on what is expected of the employee. BrightPay Connect’s document sharing feature allows you to share important documents with multiple employees at once. The employee will receive a push notification on their smartphone every time a new document has become available, or one has been updated, meaning they won’t miss any important information. From the employer dashboard you can see who has opened which documents and who has not.

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    4. Don’t break their trust
    When employees trust their employer, they are more likely to share the same goals and work better together. One way trust can be easily broken is when an employee is not paid on time or not paid the correct amount. BrightPay is a payroll software that automates many payroll tasks, meaning you can have peace of mind that employees’ pay is being calculated correctly. Through BrightPay, you can also pay employees directly from the payroll software within 90 seconds. Payments are processed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This means there is less of a chance of you paying employees late which can lead to a loss of trust that can be difficult to build back up.

    5. Build a strong company culture
    When an employee feels their needs and values are similar to the needs and values of the company they work for, they are more likely to feel happy and fulfilled. One thing that is becoming increasingly important to employees is to be part of a company that cares about the environment and makes a conscious effort to reduce the impact they have on the environment.

    At BrightPay we are on a mission to make more sustainable choices and have a goal of achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2023. In a recent BrightPay UK survey we asked our customers how important it was for them to choose suppliers that are more sustainable; with 84% responding that it was of some importance to them.

    As we become increasingly aware of the importance of protecting the environment, many employees feel happier when they know they are working for a company that holds these values.

    To learn more about how BrightPay Payroll and BrightPay Connect can help you improve the employer experience, why not book a free demo today.

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  • Employee Apps - The Next Big Thing In Employee Self-Service Aug 23, 2021

    Employee self-service is a growing trend in human resource management. However, a lot of people still don’t fully understand what this term means and what specific benefits it can have for their business.

    In simple terms, employee self-service is a tool that allows employees to access their personal data and make any changes needed, such as updating a new phone number or postal address. But employee self-service has evolved beyond this fundamental function to facilitate many other features that can have a big impact on how employees interact with their employers online.

    For example, BrightPay Connect is an industry-leading cloud portal which has been designed to provide sophisticated employee self-service and allow employees to carry out a number of tasks online from anywhere, at any time.

    What Is BrightPay Connect?
    BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud add-on to our payroll software which can be accessed from anywhere with a good internet connection. Connect brings payroll and human resources functionality together to create a portal that acts as a central hub for employees and managers alike.

    Included in BrightPay Connect are the following features:
    • An employee self-service app which is free to download for all iOS and Android users.
    • An employee portal which acts as a central online hub for employees.
    • A historical payslip archive where they can download payslips directly to their smartphone or tablet.
    • An annual leave management system which allows employees to request leave from their devices.
    • Information regarding the employee’s annual leave entitlement, their leave balance remaining, and when it needs to be used by.
    • Access to the employee’s own personal data and the ability to request edits such as new phone numbers or updated postal addresses.
    • A document upload feature which allows employees to view and download important documents which they have been given access to.

    Self-Service In The BrightPay Connect Employee App - The Benefits
    BrightPay Connect was designed to streamline the payroll and human resource processes that take up a huge amount of time for any business. As such, its employee self-service has a number of benefits that have a real, tangible impact on your business.
    • Payroll administrators spend less time and money printing off payslips and posting them out. With BrightPay Connect, payslips are automatically distributed to employees via the employee app at a time designated by the payroll processor. Payslips are then stored safely and securely on the cloud. Employees can view their historical payslip archive anytime and download their payslips directly to their device via the app.
    • Managing annual leave has never been as easy or as efficient as it is with BrightPay Connect. From their app, employees can request annual leave easily without having to fill out endless forms. The request immediately appears in the dashboard of their line manager/HR manager, who can then approve or reject it based on the company calendar which is also on their dashboard.
    • Line managers or HR managers can upload documents to BrightPay Connect. They can choose to give access to an individual, a particular department or everyone in the company. Furthermore, they can upload and store documents that are only accessible to them which is great for employee files etc. and they can view a time-stamped log of everyone who has viewed a document, and when. This feature is especially useful with remote working becoming increasingly commonplace.

    Book A BrightPay Connect Demo Today
    If you’re an employer or human resources manager who’s trying to incorporate employee self-service into your business, then book a free BrightPay Connect demo now. On your demo a member of our team will show you all of the many features that BrightPay Connect offers, and they can explain to you the benefits of each in more detail.

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  • Still printing and distributing paper payslips? Aug 18, 2021

    Almost every business, no matter what size they are or what industry it’s in, has to process payroll every pay period. And how you process your payroll might have more of an effect on your business than you think. In order to have happy employees, they have to be paid accurately and on time, every time. And happier employees means more productivity and, ultimately, greater profit margins. So, it’s fair to say that payroll administration really is central to the growth of any business.

    One of the most important elements of any effective payroll system is payslip distribution. Payslips do more than just inform your employees of what they can expect to be paid for the current pay period. They also provide essential proof of earnings for banks and other financial institutions, and they act as a receipt for income tax deductions made to the employee’s pay.

    This is why embracing new ways of processing and distributing payslips is good for business. It might be tempting to keep using the same old methods you’ve used for years. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - right? Wrong.

    The Future of Payslip Distribution

    Payroll is one area of business which is constantly evolving as new technologies create improved methods for payroll management. These technologies can streamline your entire payroll process, saving you significant amounts of time and money, and reducing the risk of errors in the finalised payroll and payslips.

    The future of payslip distribution is, of course, cloud automation. Payroll software providers such as BrightPayallow for payslip generation at just the click of a button, and email distribution that makes sense.

    Processing Payroll And Distributing Payslips With BrightPay Connect

    BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud portal add-on to our award-winning payroll software. Connect takes employee self-service to the next level, and combines clever functionality in both payroll and human resources for streamlined systems that work seamlessly.

    When it comes to payslip distribution, BrightPay Connect is leading the way. Through Connect, employees can have their payslips automatically delivered directly to their smartphone or tablet via an employee self-service app. With the app, payslips are stored securely in the cloud in a historical archive for each employee where they can be instantly downloaded if needed.

    The Benefits of Using BrightPay Connect

    There are a number of direct benefits of using BrightPay Connect for your payslip distribution. They include:
    1. Less time spent printing off payslips and sorting them into envelopes
    2. Increased data protection thanks to cloud storage
    3. Ease of distribution to employees who work remotely
    4. No need to send and resend payslips if employees lose them
    5. Faster access for employees who may need to print off past payslips for personal finance reasons
    6. Cost savings associated with postage of payslips every pay period

    Book Your Free Demo

    If you’re an employer or a payroll administrator who is still printing and distributing paper payslips, then now’s the time to book your free BrightPay demo and speak to one of our team about how BrightPay can bring your business into the future.

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  • How do I choose a re-enrolment date? Aug 13, 2021

    One of your legal and mandatory duties as an employer is to fully comply with automatic enrolment. Automatic enrolment was introduced in the UK to help more people save for later life through a workplace pension scheme. The Pensions Regulator recommends that employers use payroll software that will cater for and handle the auto enrolment duties.

    Every three years you must put certain staff who have left your pension scheme back into it. This is called re-enrolment. Whether you have staff to put back into your scheme or not, you must complete a re-declaration of compliance to inform The Pensions Regulator that you have met your duties.

    How do I choose a re-enrolment date?

    Re-enrolment occurs every 3 years from your staging date. Your re-enrolment date is chosen by you, and you have a 6-month window to choose from. The 6-month window rule means that you can choose a date three months before your staging date and up until three months after it.

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    Once you reach your re-enrolment date, you must assess employees to determine whether they meet the criteria to be automatically re-enrolled into your pension scheme. Employees must be informed in writing if they are being re-enrolled into a workplace pension scheme.

    Remember, re-enrolment and re-declaration are legal duties that you must complete and if you don't act you could be fined. The re-declaration must be completed within five months of the third anniversary of your automatic enrolment staging date. The Pensions Regulator website has full details on the requirements and process here.

    Automatic re-enrolment in BrightPay

    All BrightPay licences include full auto enrolment functionality at no extra cost. When you reach your re-enrolment date in the payroll, BrightPay will automatically assess your employees for you. If employees meet the criteria for re-enrolment, the software will notify you to let you know that you have re-enrolment duties to carry out. BrightPay will automatically prepare the employee’s enrolment letter, which must be provided to the employee within the six-week period after your re-enrolment date. These letters can be printed, exported to PDF, emailed to the employee, or if you are using BrightPay Connect, the letter can also be added to the employee’s self-service portal.

    What happens if I don’t comply?

    As re-enrolment is a legal duty for an employer and if you don’t comply you could face hefty fines. The Pensions Regulator may take enforcement action which includes compliance notices and penalty notices (fines).

    If you haven’t met your legal duties, you may first get a warning letter with a deadline for you to meet your duties. If you don’t meet your duties within the deadline provided, you may be sent a statutory notice. The Pensions Regulator can issue penalty notices if you fail to comply with statutory notices. They can also issue a fixed penalty notice which is £400. If you still don’t comply, you could face a daily rate fine of £50 up to £10,000 (depending on the number of employees). However, if you believe that you should not have been issued a notice, you can appeal. Lastly, if you knowingly fail to enrol eligible staff into a workplace pension scheme you could face prosecution as it is a breach of compliance and is seen as a criminal offence.

    Book a free 15-minute online demo today to discover how BrightPay can help you with your automatic enrolment duties. You can also find useful online help documentation and step-by-step video tutorials on our website.

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