New RTI duplicate record guidance: impossible to follow?

Recently HMRC published updated guidance on avoiding the infamous duplicate records that have dogged RTI since its inception. One of the reasons that HMRC create a duplicate record which leads to a BR code being issued to the employee and the employer’s liabilities being overstated, is more than one item of personal data changing in a single FPS. Where for example an employee gets married, moves house and changes their name (which tends to happen in one go when you get married!) HMRC infer from these reported changes that the individual has a second job with the same employer and duplicates their record.

Despite the RTI taskforce being told that an IT fix was in place to prevent most of these occurring, we now have new guidance that urges us to report each change of personal data in a separate FPS. So in that example it would take up to three months (or three years for an annual scheme) to report that someone has got married and moved house! That of course assumes your payroll software allows you or reminds you to separate all this data out.

For a project that made us all spend hours on data accuracy before we went live it’s pretty scary that two and half year after the pilot started we are still being presented with such official guidance.