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Integrate PAYE into payroll software

What issues do you have with current PAYE processes?

In a 2013 survey of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) carried out for  Inland Revenue, the median value for time spent on PAYE and KiwiSaver obligations was 21 hours a year.

Feedback suggests that many employers find their PAYE role onerous.  The system was designed for a paper-based world and it creates problems for employers and employees, and it does not deliver information to government in a timely or accurate way.

Feedback has identified the following concerns for employers with the current PAYE information process:

  • difficulties in setting up new staff;
  • problems changing deductions;
  • difficulty in making changes to information already filed;
  • problems with understanding and reconciling the information Inland Revenue makes available to employers; and
  • concern about the time it takes Inland Revenue to process  employer monthly schedules and action amendments.

Questions

1.  Are these the key areas of concern with the PAYE information process from an employer’s perspective?

2.  Are there other aspects of the process of providing PAYE information that are significant sources of frustration/wasted time that should be rectified?

Comments

Bruce Hales
We are a small business with about 3 employees on the paye system and honestly, we have no real problem with the current system - certainly dont want automatic or more frequent paye returns as this wont work with our manual pay system. If there is one area of concern it is with the employee deduction rate which is becoming more and more complex when it comes to secondary tax calculation. Also the issue of considering employer contribution to the kiwi saver as employee income for paye is in my opinion a totally unreasonable tax and a silly complication to payroll processes.

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  • agree20
  • disagree7
8 months ago
Jill Sheppard
We have 6 employees . I prefer the monthly upload to IRD of paye data - I have control & know that it has been received - it takes very little time. Given IRD's sometimes slow website connections - (& our internet connection) the automatic transfer of this data will create uncertainty. If change to this is made, then options need to be available to keep to the current system for those who do payroll offline or with poor connections. Will this mean a new payroll programme? No issues with the current system - it works well & the very odd time that something has had to be changed, it's been a very smooth process both internally & with IRD.

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8 months ago
Haydn J
I have 5 staff on my payroll. I am happy with the current monthly PAYE payment, and I am happy with the current filing options - manual forms or electronic filing. I like having the choice. My issues with the current situationare mostly about improved processes, not changes to the underlying system. - calculating ESCT is difficult and time consuming - paying the deductions as DED tax type, then having IRD split this into the various tax components in MY IR is confusing. - The Kiwisaver forms KS1 and KS2 are a ridiculous manual double-up of information. - the form to advise corrections to previous returns is cumbersome and limited. It should allow for more corrections per page, and also allow for corrections to multiple PAYE periods.

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  • agree12
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8 months ago
Fiona Cargill
We have 22 employees and have no issues with the current PAYE system. I personally prefer doing it on a monthly basis. We use Ir-file which also enables us to add contractor WT. I feel I have control over the system when it's done on a monthly basis. It works well and takes very little time - I'd like the system to stay as it is.

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  • agree11
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8 months ago
Chris
I file the PAYE schedule each month by hand, post it and credit IRD directly the amount owing. I am confused when I try to do this online. I would like to have the schedule as it looks on paper available online. I submit GST on a monthly basis online which is easy.

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  • agree6
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8 months ago
Julie Belding
I don't use payroll software, although I do the monthly PAYE online, which is not difficult. I hope there will always be an option to continue as at present, even if most people use a new system.

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8 months ago
Paul Timmings
I use a simple excel spreadsheet to manage payroll for 5 employees. It would be nice if I could auto populate from the sreadsheet to the monthly return, without retyping data - (which occasionally leads to transcription errors) or laboriously cutting and pasting one thing at a time.

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8 months ago
Andrea
IRD would need to have a system whereby a .csv file from Excel could be uploaded by IRD. Not difficult I would have thought.

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8 months ago
Aaron
We have 2-3 full time employees and do our PAYE online via ThankyouPayroll. This automates the process for us and we transfer pay and taxes each pay day. They then pass on to IRD at the due dates and make their income off the money holding. Any changes would probably affect their whole business model. The ThankyouPayroll system keeps track of everything such as holidays and sick days and their compensation.

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  • agree4
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8 months ago
Lyn
The biggest issue I have with PAYE is selecting the period for payment. It is too easy to click on the wrong period. This subsequently results in a terse and unpleasant sounding letter from the IRD indicating one has NOT paid the PAYE for the period. This has only happened once or twice but is not a pleasant experience. The current system works well otherwise and our payroll system can upload to IRD. It is simple and has the facility for everything being sent through to be double checked before hand. I would agree with comments on Kiwisaver and the employer contribution.

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8 months ago
Phil Murphy
PAYE Employer deductions. I am a small employer & for me the biggest pain (& risk of making a mistake) is breaking down my employer Kiwisaver deductions. Gross times 3% is easy but then getting the net kiwiSaver employer contributions & ESCT calculated off this figure is a monthly hassle especially as every month is often a different gross figure so it is hard to copy last months calculations. Could we not just do the first calculation (ie Gross times 3%) & the IRD computer do the rest? - but please make it quicker & easier. Otherwise the internet PAYE & GST system is good to use. Thanks for asking for our comments & for reading this email. Regards Phil

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8 months ago
Darren Shadbolt
We are a small business. Happy with the electronic system overall. Recently paid the PAYE on time in September but forgot to send the schedule. 5 weeks later a telling off and penalty of $250. Ouch. I know it was our mistake but seriously? Can't there be electronic reminder built into the software? Also it deducted the $250 off the next payment (October) which means that by the time I was notified in November re the September penalty, the payment for October would then be short as it was due on the 20th October. Will probably get another bill for the interest on the shortfall!

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8 months ago
Verna
If this is your only error in the last year ask IRD to remit the penalty - they usually will :-)

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7 months ago
Verna
If this is the only error in the last year then ask IRD to remit the penalty - they usually will :-)

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7 months ago
Loraine Vines
Can you please put the name of the Employers on the receipts in the electronic filing system.. It's hard for tax agents doing multiple filing.

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8 months ago
michele hunt
We are 2 shareholder employees and I have recently moved from paper based to electronic online returns. I find this easy to do and takes minimal time as our salary remains the same month to month. A payroll system wouldn't make sense for just the two of us. I don't agree with the kiwisaver employer contribution being taxed, the government is meant to be encouraging workers to save for their retirement and the ESCT calculation makes PAYE calculations very onerous when wages are variable. The forms for altering previous payments are cumbersome, one page per month seems odd. Again the ESCT has to be dealt with on a separate part of the form.

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8 months ago
Ktech
As a Employer, I hope IRD can help companies to reduce tax obligation. Here is one suggestion. 1. Employer no longer pays salary to Employee, Employer pays the full amount to IRD PAYG account 2. Employee receive salary directly from IRD. IRD implement a system automatically calculate the tax portion and send the in hand portion to Employee. By doing this, 1. for employer, payroll system is no longer required, will be come as simply as an expense. Employer will no longer need to worry about the paye calculation. 2. Employee do not have to worry about the any tax mistake from employer. 3. all payments are trackable, much easy for IRD to performance auditing It is definitely a Win, Win, Win solution. Also, IRD can work with bank to provide a standard company IRD account, where company can use it as their own primary account. This account can integrate with IRD system for trackable transactions. Then, filing Income Tax or GST return for small company will be as easy as one click.

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8 months ago
Peter Haar
We are a small business with 5 staff on the payroll and are using Payroll software to manage the monthly pay. This is a very straight forward and very simple process that does't necessarily has to change (for small business anyway). I do agree with some of the other comments that I read that the electronic filing forms could potentially be a bit more in the same format as the paper ones and that the penalties are very harsh and the way IRD resolves shortfalls is not right but the process itself, and that is what this discussion is about , is fine. Our payroll generated three electronic files in the IRD format and all we have to do is to upload these to the IRD website. The first time you find your way around the website but subsequent times it takes around 5 minutes each month. I don;t believe it woudl be a big leap for the accounting software and IRD to automate this part of the process and allow direct uploads from the Payroll software to the IRD portal (a bit like PoLi).

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8 months ago
PETER HULLIS
Doing GST on line is easy , as the form comes up as things to do , but PAYE is complicated by having to create and fill in 2 forms which both hold the same information. Simplify the system. I think there is no reason why PAYE cant be paid at the same time as the employee is paid as the cash flow has to be there to pay for the previous months earnings.

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8 months ago
Simon Mahony
I completely agree. GST is easy. There's just one form and it calculates everything for you, tells you what to pay and you're done. PAYE is difficult. The process is split into three parts and, as with most of the IRD website, it's very hard to figure out what to do (the first few times anyway). First you have to calculate your PAYE using the online calculator. This is fairly simple and straightforward. The only issue is that there's no total (ie: "Amount to pay IRD") on the calculator. You have to run that through the NEXT form before they tell you this, even though all the info is here. And of course you have to manually calculate that total in order to verify that you got everything right during data entry. I know the amount to pay might be different depending on whether the person using the form is an employer or employee, but that's the first question on the form so it can't be hard to calculate correctly. Then you log in to MyIR to file the results you just got from the calculator. (WHY double handle it and possibly introduce errors?) The first page inside MyIR doesn't mention the term "PAYE" anywhere. You have to click on a link labelled "ir-File (Employer monthly schedule)". Hardly obvious, especially since I imagine PAYE and GST are the two things most people who visit MyIR are interested in. Next you have to deduce that "EMS" means "PAYE return" and click the latest link (and if you have to create a new PAYE return manually, good luck - those options are hidden on another page unhelpfully called "Online forms"). Then you re-enter the data you previously entered into, and printed out from, the online calculator and hope you get it right. Note that the wording used to identify various amounts on the output from the calculator is different from that used on the EMS data entry screen so you have to be VERY careful that you're choosing the right figures. There's no "Total to pay" on this form either which makes it hard to be sure everything is correct. And while it has some useful totals at the bottom of the form, it has no "total now" button and these totals only update after you have moved to the next employee, which means they're never accurate. Then you re-enter much of the same information AGAIN into the web form for the EDF/IR345 (whatever that is) and finally you get a total to pay IRD. What a process. Surely this can be made simpler and easier.

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6 months ago
Donna Streeton
I have no problem with the existing system, it works well, is easy and takes very little time. We only have 3 employees and do not have a payroll system. Everything is done on excel spread sheets. It would not be cost effective to have a payroll system. I vote for no change.

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8 months ago
Gwen
We are a small - medium business with 5-7 staff. I believe that paying PAYE weekly with wages would not be helpful as this creates 4 times the amount of work for one payment monthly as it stands already. I have computer issues with electronic filing so I either have to enter it manually or send the information to IRD. It would be much easier if more formats were accepted to allow for those who may also manually do PAYE and not with computer systems to scan and upload the information. I think that if IRD truly want to make it better for those doing PAYE means that IRD will need to diversify more, and not to tell businesses how they have to file and pay PAYE.

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8 months ago
peter Warwick
We have no issue with current system. in fact it saves us money. Consider this. We run a very basis account software package and have not upgraded it since GST Changed to 15%, Saving us a significant annual cost. We had not updated it for many years prior to that, Saving. We use a paper payroll book for 3 staff and have no need to update our accounting program each year with new tax tables, Saving. We don't need high speed internet. Saving. All i see with a forced electronic lodgement system is COST, COST, COST

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8 months ago
David Seifert
Being able to upload the EMS & EDF has been a huge improvement although it took nearly a year for the software supplier to one of my entities to be able to produce EMS & EDF forms that were compliant & the software supplier for my other entity has only just managed to achieve this. Therefore you need a consultation process with the software suppliers that is exponentially better than when the EMS & EDF uploads became available. It is also frustrating that the complexity of IRD rules seems to prevent amalgamation of the EMS & EDF into just one form. Ultimately business pays for the cost of this software development or the time spent manually calculating the figures.

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8 months ago
Charlotte Gavin
I am a self employed property manager (sole charge) with a regular monthly salary payment. It would be beneficial to have a "resubmit" or "memorised transaction" so I merely resubmit last months assessment online as they don't change throughout the year. In addition, it would be ideal to just have a monthly direct credit system as once again the amount is the same each month. This would save paperwork and administration significantly for a very simple business setup.

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8 months ago
Katie The Bookkeeper
I agree that the issues listed are the common complaints of most employers we are in contact with, whether they use manual or software payroll systems. I've only read one page of comments, but I think I might be in with the minority who welcome the move to electronic and automated filing, hoping it will improve efficiency at both ends of the filing transaction. I do not believe it will increase compliance time or cost long term, or that the initial cost of implementing the changes will be unreasonable on small businesses. I do hope that the consultation and roll-out process includes some software developers and the big Payroll Intermediaries, and doesn't create a situation for compulsory expensive payroll solutions. For those who want to keep costs low I'm sure ThankyouPayroll can keep you happy ;)

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8 months ago
Rosemary Cathcart
The difficulty I have found relates to determining an employee's tax code. There seems to be no clear explanation either for employer or employee. However I would like to compliment the IRD on the website information now available for employers on how to work out what deductions should be made from an employee's salary once you do know the tax code. This made my life so much simpler this year.

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8 months ago
Stephen Buckland
I have 3 employees and find the current system works OK. I use basic payroll calculation software and feed the results manually into an accounting package. ESCT calculation is the greatest time waster in doing the weekly payroll and fulfilling PAYE requirements.

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8 months ago
Chris Peace
The change to electronic filing has been a disaster for me. It is not well designed so I have given up on it and reverted to paper-based returns using pre-completed forms saved on my computer. That has reduced my time by about 2/3. If Xerox made available a simple payroll system for two employees that interfaced with IRD I would trust that.

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  • agree5
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8 months ago
Peter R
The My IR system works well. Our organisation has only one employee so it does not take long to lodge the PAYE return. Many of the details are prefilled. Our organisation would not pay for payroll software. Once a year I need to pay WT for many performers in a production we perform. It takes a while to load their details into the system so the one off WT payment can be done, but with a start and end date for the period of employment their details are automatically deleted by IRD when it comes time to lodge the next DED return.

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8 months ago
Greg
The payroll system we use already prepares reports that can be used to send this data to IRD. Seems as simple as adding another button to send the data during the pay process. This would remove the need for the current additional monthly process, and potentially remove the chance to forget about doing the IR-File monthly process. Providing the PAYE payment remains monthly and is not changed to weekly then the reporting to IRD each pay cycle seems a good idea. IRD should also send out a monthly statement of the weekly returns which summarises the activity for the month and the required payment, the same as a normal monthly statement of activity.

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8 months ago
Carmel
We process pays for approximately 5000 employees and the payroll software that we use produces the information that is required by the IRD in the format that it is required. I think it would be great if the schedule and the payment details could be sent to the IRD directly from the software. The addition of the ESCT column to the schedule would enable a full reconciliation of payment and schedule.

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8 months ago
Marlene Trigg
PAYE is not a bad system but secondary tax should be scrapped as some low income earners hold down 3 or 4 jobs. As an employer that only gets paid around the 20th I think the payment date should be more like the 25th of the month so we have the finances to pay it or we should be able to pay it each week when we pay the wages

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8 months ago
Gavin Baxter
You need to be a bit careful - remember the PAYE deductions are actually employee money, and while it may be nice to hold this as an aid to your cash-flow there is a real sense in which it is a liability due at the same time as when you pay staff. Just a caution. Fully agree that secondary tax can be a real hassle and unfair to low income earners with multiple jobs.

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8 months ago
Harald Breiding-Buss
I think the discussion document understates the extent of people overpaying tax: there are at least three major 'tax refund' companies making good money on that fact, and individuals are penalised if they have to pay to get their tax refund. Whatever system you have at point of deduction it will never be perfect. Since IRD already gets all the information about an individual's earnings, it can calculate every person's tax refund and pay it out without waiting for that person to go to a tax refund agency or request a PTS. Why trying to fine-tune the point-of-deduction system even more, if the problem of overtaxation could be solved comprehensively and accurately by an automatic end-of-year 'wash up'. In terms of compliance for small organisations: having a person look over a PAYE return before it is being filed is not just an unnecessary compliance step but also an internal control step, which is quite important for both smaller and larger organisations. Payroll has a comparatively high fraud risk (through ghost employees, for example), and PAYE returns/payments are one of the tools for financial controllers and auditors to discover those.

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8 months ago
Karina Fox
I don't think any of the suggestions help at simplifying PAYE and making it easier. How about just having to file PAYE at the same time you file GST? That would simplify things.

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8 months ago
Danielle
It took me a whole year of dealing with PAYE to finally get my head around each step. I had to write my own basic step-by-step instructions just so I didn't spend hours each month jumping between multiple sites trying to make sure I had it right. For a new employer the whole PAYE system is confusing and convoluted. I think integrating it into payroll systems is a great idea. There are way too many names for everything as well EMS/EDF IR348 IR... surely it can be simplified. Today's issue was that my payments had been incorrectly allocated by IRD even though I had used the right code. Each month I feel like I'm checking on IRD to make sure everything is as it should be. The out-dated notifications I receive don't help either. I definitely think the process can be improved.

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8 months ago
Catherine Solari
I really found the PAYE obligations difficult to manage and so time consuming. I felt this was a really poor use of resources and actively sought a payroll system which would do this for me. We have signed up to Smart Payroll which I find so easy to use and have real confidence in. It has been one of the best investments that we have made as a business. I am confident that we meet our compliance obligations. While this proposal does not change anything for me I would like to actively encourage any other small business to make this change. It really does make life so much easier.

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8 months ago
Martin Gleeson
I think this whole transformation process is overly ambitious. Previous observations of these large government projects seem to provide a high level of failure when trying to do too much too soon. There are a lot of good things with the current system but it is clear that these need to be transformed to a modern day system. There are many incremental changes that could be made along the way with the re-platforming from the old to new and it is a good idea to make these improvements where they make sense. However the current proposal seems to be trying to change to much all at once. I think a safer way would be to take what we currently have and safely migrate it to the new platform (software and infrastructure), and add improvements along the way where they make sense. There are a lot of improvements that could be made with a transformation to the new system without making wholesale changes to the fundamental way the industry operates. When the market and the industry have transformed so that we are no worse off, but better off, then I believe that would be the time to consult on the big changes that are being mooted. I note Australia has gone cold on their “One Touch” payroll initiative which could not get industry support. This is very like the NZ initiative now. NZ is even less well placed than AU to do this . In NZ we have to reconcile payroll on a monthly basis from one source while in AU it only needs to be reconciled on an annual basis and can come from many different sources. AU also have a compulsory annual tax return system for taxpayers and NZ may need to revert to that system if they want to go down the ambitious path they are promoting. I can also see a move away from service providers to end users (SMEs) doing all the work themselves and having to use the IRD call centre to resolve the myriad of variations that happen with payroll in every cycle. As a service provider for many thousands of SME customers we and our customers have the comfort of knowing when we submit our twice monthly filings and payments (for large employers) and monthly filings and payments (for small employers) the two parts reconcile properly, with all the variations having already been dealt with. This would change with the proposed model and will move the relationship away from a service provider to the SMEs and IRD directly on a daily payroll by payroll basis. The IRD will need to significantly increase and improve its helpdesk for that to happen.

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8 months ago
Fiona Palmer
I find the current system very easy to use. If you have a good Payroll system, calculation of the various deductions etc. is easy. It is then very easy to upload into the IR File system via File Transfer. There are some timing issues from IRD with changes to Tax Codes for staff and new Kiwisaver accounts seem to take a very long time to go through. These can cause error messages which aren't necessarily valid.

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8 months ago
Jim Weston
I can do automatic payment for employee but cannot for IRD. Would like to be able to do post date tax and wage at the same time, electronic. Paying a month in advance to save relearning each time does not seem to work. Three days notice is not much good if the office is visited occasionally. I try very hard to avoid employing to avoid the hassle.

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8 months ago
excellentantiques
I don't employ anyone as the whole PAYE system seems too complicated. If there was not so much form filling I might look at employing people.

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8 months ago
MichelleNC
From a larger employer, we would appreciate more automation of the system as we have to do PAYE and other deductions twice monthly, plus send through payments at the same frequency and it would make it a lot easier, reduce risk of error and save time removing the several manual processes involved in uploading returns and payments to IRD provided there is allowance for checking and verifying this prior to sending through. Would also consider a facility to simply debit PAYE and other deductions automatically within pay batches so the pay can be processed and all payments submitted at one time with employee pays. This should have allowance though for small companies that may not have the same systems and may calculate pays manually for these to continue to do returns manually if this suits.

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8 months ago
Jan
A reminder notice for payments due for PAYE would be helpful in the same way that we receive one for GST

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8 months ago
Verna
I agree, this is the worst issue with online PAYE filing. If you lodge the return but forget to 'send' it - it would be great to have a pop up before exiting "you have not sent your returns". Also, a red reminder on login, the same as for GST - "you have a PAYE return to file or not filed". It would be great if this could be added now - not waiting until the full re-vamp.

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7 months ago
Will
Hi, Our issue in the past was having to use the PAYE calculator for the fortnightly wages, then having to write all the various totals down in the PAYE book, only to do more calculations for the monthly schedule. So much room for error - which happened often. I don't know why the IRD website doesn't save all historical data from using the PAYE calculator so you can then just press a button and do the monthly schedules based off what you already entered on the pay days. Keep the PAYE data for the current financial year in a statement like form. Now we have set up an excel workbook that works everything out from the employees hours entered, then I have a link on the spreadsheet that takes you to an EASY free paye calculator through www.crystalpayroll.com. I type in the basic info and it gives me the the PAYE and Student Loan figure to enter back into my spreadsheet - which then calculates kiwisaver and ESCT figures. I then keep a running sum of what I will need to enter into/pay each monthly schedule. We save so much time now for pay days etc.

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8 months ago
Common Sense
We have no issues or concerns with the current system for PAYE deductions etc. It works perfectly well. It seems that the Government and IRD are trying to say there are issues when in fact they do not exist. Compliance costs are going to go up for employers if the current system is tinkered with and that is not acceptable.

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8 months ago
Ross Craig
Our problems are mainly with the confusing way the website is laid out. e.g. I log in up comes Things to Do shows GST return due. Why does PAYE not come up as also due??? So then I click on My Business and see same thing plus showing My Returns - Why doesn't it show the PAYE returns that I have completed. What we are saying is that the site is not intuitive and before any changes are introduced they should be trialled with non-geeks . IRD staff are ok when one finally gets through and try to be helpful but they are seeing our problems through their eyes i.e. that of being an experienced user on a daily basis not someone who goes on once a month to file and doen't understand the jargon We use a simple excel spreadsheet. Ability to copy & paste into IRD forms would be great. The last PAYE tables we received were dated Apr 2013. How or where can I order a new one???

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8 months ago
jane
Submitting PAYE forms on line in cumbersome and time consuming. It is not straightforward and is not logical. Terms could be simplified.

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8 months ago
Bernadette
I don't really have any difficulty with how to use the system - I use the online PAYE / Kiwisaver calculator and this make it relatively easy (although there are some silly 'rules' with that calculator that could be addressed). But all the information is available in my wages software (cash manager) so its a pain to have to then go and enter it into the IRD calculator for each pay, and then enter the totals at the end of each month. Automating this process through the wages software would be great. A monthly return is easily overlooked... would be great for it to be automated with each pay that is processed.

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8 months ago
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