Getting real with Real Time Information

More more information on Real Time Information (RTI) visit

If you run your payroll then you need to know that there is a big change heading your way and that change is called RTI. Real time Information or RTI is a new system that’s being introduced by HMRC to improve the operation of Pay as You Earn (PAYE). PAYE information will be collected more regularly and more efficiently when employers submit their regular payroll submissions.

But don’t worry; we’ve got it all in hand to see our customers through this change. Here, Neilson Watts, one of our payroll experts talks us through his first ever Sage RTI submission as a taster of what’s to come:

Arriving around 45 minutes early to meet Andrew at Lindapter International, I prepared for the meeting with a hearty meal of chips, battered sausage with curry sauce…..what better preparation?

After a lot of hard work, sweat and deodorant over the last 6 to 12 months (particularly from our R&D and Customer Services teams) I had the somewhat easier task and pleasure of visiting Andrew Anstice, Financial Controller at Lindapter International who was about to make our first RTI submission in HMRC’s pilot.

Lindapter International

To be totally honest, when Andrew came to submit his one-off Employers’ Alignment Submission (put simply, this enables HMRC to match the record you hold about your company and employees) I was sitting there outwardly projecting confidence, while inside I had everything crossed, and I mean everything!

But after a couple of clicks of Andrew’s mouse and what felt like an age, but was in fact only a couple of seconds, we achieved success.

So, how straightforward is it?

I sat there thinking to myself, is that it?

Somewhat of an anti-climax, but what else could I expect?  I turned to Andrew and asked him what he thought, and I think if you’ve got concerns about RTI you’ll find his feedback reassuring:

  • “I’m really pleased.  Not only was it straightforward, it was no different really to how I submit my payroll year end returns.  It was only literally just a few extra clicks of my mouse to the normal weekly and monthly payroll process.  Great experience”

Whilst giving HMRC some breathing space before we submitted his first Full Payment Submission I asked Andrew whether he believed RTI is a good thing.

  • “Yes I think so, although it might take a little bit getting used to initially I can see that it’s going to help HMRC and employers like Lindapter International ensure our employees are paid accurately with less problems for the business to resolve”.
  • “I really see that the way Sage has implemented RTI as making little difference to the way that I do my payroll today it really is that straight forward.”

Is RTI a good thing?

Quite naturally we then went on to talk about why Lindapter choose to adopt RTI early and what is the best bit of advice that he could suggest to employers who are thinking about moving to RTI early.

  • “Fundamentally we wanted to get our business ready for RTI early, with the right help and support from Sage to do this, whilst also the opportunity to provide feedback to HMRC that helps minimise the impact on small and medium sized businesses like Lindapter.
  • “Following Sage’s advice we worked very closely with our employees to ensure the data we held on them such as Full Name, Address, National Insurance Number and Date of Birth were accurate and up-to-date which has helped ensure our first submission was a success”.

After around 30 minutes we went on to submit the Full Payment Submission that employers will be required to make every time you pay your employees.  Andrew clicked Submit……again like an Instant Replay success, followed by a HMRC email receipt confirming the submission…..and that was it….history for Sage….our first successful submissions under RTI.


I quickly phoned our contact at the HMRC to give them the good news and they confirmed successful receipt of both the Employer Alignment Submission and Full Payment Submission, they were extremely pleased……and so were we.

Over the coming months we will be continuing to work closely with and support our customers participating in HMRC RTI pilot stages, but our customers will help shape the success of RTI at HMRC but also the experience within Sage’s Payroll solutions.

Neilson Watts, Sage Payroll Expert

Huge thanks to Lindapter International. For more than 75 years Lindapter International based in Bradford has been providing innovative steelwork clamping systems to its customers around the UK, Europe and the World.  Andrew has worked for Lindapter for nearly 40 years and as Financial Controller is responsible for ensuring its mixture of weekly and monthly staff is paid on time and accurately.

  • How will RTI cope with payroll re-runs ? We operate a payroll bureau service – requests for re-runs , sometimes long after the clients payroll has been “completed ” are not unusual and we would normally accommodate this . Will RTI allow for info to be resubmitted for a period , or will re-runs become a “no-no ” ?!


  • Hi Janet,

    Fundamentally nothing changes from the way you correct an error today using Rollback or Restore.

    Under RTI the main submission type is the Full Payment Submission (FPS for short), this is the submission you will make each time you pay your clients employees. HMRC will only allow one submission of an FPS for each pay period and it contains the employees current payment figures and also their year to date figures.

    If you have just processed and updated tax week 4 but not yet submitted the FPS but need to correct an error. You can simple either use Rollback or Restore to go back to before you have updated week 4, make the correction then update the records and then submit your FPS.

    If you have just processed and updated tax week 4 and have submitted the FPS you have a couple of different choices.

    1) The most simple option is to make the correction to the employee(s) payroll in tax week 5.

    2) If you want to however correct the error in tax week 4 and reprint the reports etc, you can rollback or restore back to before week 4 has been updated, correct the error and then update the records. You will not be able to submit week 4’s FPS again, but on processing tax week 5 the FPS will include the correct year to date values that enables HMRC to identify a correction has been made.