Real time information (RTI) is all about one-way communications with HMRC. Your payroll software sends reports (called FPS or EPS) to HMRC about the deductions made from your employees' pay, and normally you hear nothing back.
That is starting to change. HMRC is now sending electronic messages to employers to inform them that not all is well with their RTI reports. The first messages concern late submitted FPS reports, but in future there will be messages about late paid PAYE and missing RTI reports.
It is important to get the FPS in on time as then HMRC know that the amount of PAYE paid for the month agrees with the deductions you have reported on the FPS. HMRC will not impose penalties for any late FPS submitted within 2013/14, although the final FPS for 2013/14 (which closes the tax year), can carry a penalty if that is significantly late. The messages about late FPS reports are thus just a warning from HMRC in this tax year, but may indicate there is something wrong with your systems.
From 6 April 2014 there will be automatic penalties for filing a FPS late within the tax year. 'Late' means it arrives with HMRC after the date on which the employees were paid. There will also be penalties for paying PAYE late.
In order to pick up these electronic messages from HMRC you need to use your payroll software, or log on to HMRC's PAYE online services, then look for notifications. The messages are also available using the HMRC's PAYE desktop viewer (PDV) software package. However, the PDV has just been updated so you may need to download the latest version first.
These electronic messages about FPS will be the first of many important messages concerning RTI, so you need to get used to looking for them.