A recent audit by Cheshire accountancy firm Paul Austen Associates found that an alarming number of small businesses within Cheshire and North Staffordshire have still not taken any action regarding the new pension legislation and ensuing auto enrolment date.
As the deadline looms for Pension Auto Enrolment, Managing Director Paul Austen warns businesses about the repercussions of waiting until the last minute to source and brief your chosen pensions facilitator.
The law, enforced by the Government’s Pension Regulator and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), will significantly affect small to medium businesses who have been given staging dates which they will legally need to comply with.
The Pensions Regulator recommended firms initiate preparations for setting up the obligatory schemes at least 12-18 months ahead of their given deadline. This gives an indication of the amount of in-depth work needed to apply the regulations on time.
Paul commented: “However, many deadlines are approaching and owners have waited until the last minute to execute the new law with few putting any provisions in place. Auto enrolling uses a considerable amount of knowledge of payroll, tax and pensions to effectively set up, meaning accountancy firms are best placed for the role. With there being so many firms locally unprepared for what is about to hit them we have established a dedicated resource to step in and support local businesses with this potential time bomb which is awaiting them.”
He added: “The legislative environment is becoming more and more unwielding and complex. With the new PSC Register (People with Significant Control) and the new International Accounting Standards coming in to place businesses and their advisors, particularly accountants are becoming deluged with extra work.
“Waiting until the last minute to prepare for the pension scheme means accountants are spending more time working on meeting basic compliance standards rather than keeping the businesses ahead of the game with other important legislation.”
Many employers are likely to face a fine due to the strain placed on the Pensions Regulator and pension providers processing the requests and being unable to register businesses in time. Owners could face a fixed penalty of £400, escalating to £50 - £10,000 per day depending on number of staff if they miss the deadline.
Civil penalties can be issued from £5,000 to £50,000 if contributions are not paid and there can be other penalties such as prohibited recruitment conduct penalty notices which can be between £1,000 and £5,000.
For more information on Paul Austen Associates visit www.paulausten.co.uk or call
01260 281 106
"Many deadlines are approaching and owners have waited until the last minute to execute the new law with few putting any provisions in place"
Paul of Paul Austen Associates
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