£150 offered for filing online returns

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has offered small businesses in Northern Ireland an incentive of a £150 tax-free lump sum to file their 2006-07 Employer Annual Returns online.

Small businesses which use the services of payroll bureaus or solicitors to submit a return on their behalf will still qualify for the £150 payment.

Each year approximately 1.8 million employers are obliged to file an Employer Annual Return, which details the tax and national insurance payments made by their staff during the last financial year.

While firms with over 50 employees are required to file online or pay a minimum of £100, employers with fewer than 50 employees are not forced to.

However, Don MacArthur, director of HMRC's employer programme, pointed out the benefits: "Filing online is the fastest and simplest way to submit your return, and smaller employers who do so can receive a £150 tax-free payment.

"We are accepting online returns now, so don't wait for the 19 May deadline, send it as soon as it's ready."

Employers who use the web-based PAYE service will also be able to access tools on the site, which highlight errors to reduce the risk of incurring a penalty for inaccurate information.

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