When we talk to accountants about auto-enrolment (AE) obligations, one of the common things they say is: “The client is ultimately responsible for AE compliance, not us or payroll.”
Yes – it is the employer’s legal obligation to provide staff with a compliant workplace pension scheme. However, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is recognising the role advisers play in AE set-up and management. Recently we wrote about TPR plans to include advisers in spot checks – and the first accountant has now been charged.
TPR is prosecuting an accountant for the first time
The regulator has said this is the first example of charging a third party working on behalf of an employer. The charge relates to deliberately providing false or misleading information, but sets a key precedent in terms of TPR’s approach to dealing with AE non-compliance.
Many employers are unknowingly non-compliant
Husky identifies AE compliance mistakes in more than 50% of payrolls processed through specialist payroll providers and accountants. In fact, there are more than 20 issues that commonly occur at each payroll run. Generally, these are genuine human errors – but the scale shows why specialist support is crucial to ensuring ongoing compliance.
TPR is actively conducting random audits. It issued 43.338 fixed penalty notices and 9,537 escalating penalty notices through March 2018, and this new accountant charge is paving the way for further scrutiny of advisers.
It’s more important than ever for employers and their advisers to ensure AE compliance