Real Time Information (RTI)

From 6 April 2013 the majority of employers in the UK started reporting Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Tax and National Insurance information to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in real time. You may see this referred to as Real Time Information or RTI. Previously employers only sent this data in full at Tax Year End, 5th April, each year which meant HMRC would always be assessing out of date information. As employers will now be submitting it monthly in real time for the first time ever, HMRC will be able to sort out individuals’ Tax more promptly.

This means that employers will now have to:

  • send details to HMRC every time they pay an employee , casual worker, pensioner or anyone else on their payrolls at the time they pay them
  • use payroll software to send this information electronically as part of their routine payroll process

The University of Sheffield will start reporting to HMRC in Real Time with effect from August 2013.
Before this date, colleagues in HR and Payroll need to check that the data we hold on our HR & Payroll records is complete and accurate. We will check and, if necessary, update relevant data for all our employees, casual workers, pensioners, and anyone else we pay via our payrolls. This essential data includes; full name, date of birth and National Insurance number. We will also check that we hold a permanent address for everyone. Checking data we hold will aid the HMRC payroll alignment process to help ensure that information can be matched efficiently to the correct individual record held by HMRC. Improving data quality is important preparation for a successful transition to RTI.

Most of this information can be checked internally with data we already hold, but occasionally we may have to contact an individual to confirm their details with us. Over 80 per cent of data quality problems are caused by holding the incorrect information about an individual's name, date of birth or National Insurance number. Getting this information right is good for everyone. The individual will pay the correct Tax and National Insurance contributions across all employments whilst employers and HMRC will receive fewer queries.

Here are some practical tips to help you get your data right:

Name: Please, always provide your full and official forenames and not just your initials. Sometimes we may have to check an official document such as your passport to ensure that we have spelt your name correctly, and to get the forenames in the correct order especially if you are a new starter.

Date of Birth (DoB): Please, always provide your correct date of birth and in the correct format. Enter the day, month and full year of birth. E.g. 01.08.1985

Address: Please update your permanent address information on our HR system either via myJob if you have access, or by contacting the HR Department when you move house or other accommodation. We use your permanent address details when sending RTI data to HMRC but they will not update their address records with the information we send them as they will only update their address records when individuals contact them directly. Therefore, you must always let HMRC know yourself when you have an address change. HMRC will only use your address for matching purposes when your Name, Date of Birth and NINO do not correspond exactly to data they hold. If you do not keep your address changes up to date with us and HMRC, this could result in your records not being matched.

See the “Useful Links” for contacting HMRC.

National Insurance Number (NINO): Your NINO is your own personal account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and the Tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC.

Therefore, please always provide your correct National Insurance Number (NINO). Do not make up a number, use a default number or use a number belonging to someone else. The number must begin with two letters, followed by six digits and end with a letter which will be either A, B, C or D. e.g. AB123456A. We may sometimes ask you to provide official documentation which shows your personal NINO. This may be an old Form P45, Form 60, a payslip from a previous employer, or a letter or card sent to you from HMRC or related agency.
If you do not know your NINO and have no record of it, or you need to register for an NINO, please see the “Useful Links” box:

Your NINO is an essential piece of information and absolutely key to the matching process. HRMC also use your NINO to keep all your entitlements to benefits such as Tax Credits and the State Pension up to date. Therefore, if you give us an incorrect NINO, or no NINO at all, your entitlement to benefits may be adversely affected.

When we start to transmit data to HMRC via RTI, where a NINO is missing, and HMRC can match the data by Name, DoB and Address, HMRC will send the correct NINO to us if they have it. At the same time, HMRC will send that individual a Form P217 in the post telling them what their National Insurance number is. Form P217 needs to be kept safe for future reference.

More information about National Insurance can be found from the “Useful Links”.

Universal Credit

From October 2013 the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) propose to use RTI data to support the operation of Universal Credit, as such, there will also be indirect impacts on individuals in receipt of in and out of work benefits.

For more information regarding Universal Credit, please see the “Useful Links”.


Need Help or More Information?

Who to Contact
If you have any queries about the payments and deductions shown on your payslip please contact the Payroll Team in the first instance.