Starting this October, the UK's HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will phase in automated in-year penalties for late real-time pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) returns.
Companies who employ 50 or more people will face penalties from October 6, 2014. Those with fewer than 50 employees will be subject to the new regime from March 6, 2015.
The in-year penalties will be issued quarterly. They will replace the end-of-year penalties, which apply up to the 2013-14 tax year. Where employers believe they have a reasonable excuse for sending a return late, they will be able to appeal against their penalties using HMRC's new online appeals process.
Under the Real Time Information (RTI) system, employers and pension providers report deductions and payments when they are made. 99.5 percent of individual PAYE records are now reported in real time.
Ruth Owen, HMRC's Director-General for Personal Tax, said: "We know from our experience of rolling out RTI that to ensure a smooth transition for our customers it's best to introduce changes in stages. This will allow us to update our systems and enhance our guidance and customer support as needed.
"We know that those who have had most difficulty adjusting to real time reporting have been small businesses, so this staged approach means they have a little more time to comply with the new arrangements before facing a penalty. We believe this is the best approach for HMRC and our customers, as we all get used to the new in-year penalties."
Up to May 19, 2014, HMRC had received 35.4m full payment submissions and 742m payments for 2013-14.