Sunday, 1 March 2009

Does it have to be that complicated?

Last week I was filling out my company's PAYE booklet for February's payroll run.

It didn't take very long.

But I was astonished by just how many columns of figures there potentially were to fill in and add up.

By the time you've got through maternity/paternity/adoption pay, sick pay, student loan deductions, etc. there were 14 columns!

Admittedly some of those were subtotals.

But wouldn't the complications of running a payroll be a factor that scares people away from starting a small business and employing people?

And surely that's what the UK economy needs at the moment. There are hundreds of credit crunch redundancy casualties who are starting their own businesses. And hundreds more who are looking for other jobs.

Wouldn't it be possible to make the payroll simpler, say by streamlining statutory pay for parents? Any ideas anyone?

BTW, an interesting trivia fact (with a hat tip to my first mentor, Michael). Did you know it's possible for a woman to receive statutory paternity pay, but it's not possible for a man to receive statutory maternity pay?


  1. Just to add to your problems, Emily, there will be another column on the deductions working sheet!

  2. That's an interesting fact.

    Mind you as it's possible for mento carry a baby now maybe they will have to change the law.

  3. It's not just payroll. It's pretty much the entire tax system that needs an overhaul.

    Difficult to get into without starting a huge debate, though - and any change will always be unpopular, but the view taken here in Jersey is along the lines of:

    A simpler, flat system, although it tends to favour some tax users, costs SO MUCH LESS to run, that the value gained from every £ of tax is much greater.

    No banding, and allowances are being phased out over a 4-5 year period. The result is that the tax rate itself can be lower - because the system is cheaper to administrate.

    On the PAYE front, it was too complicated for us - so we use an accountant, but not everyone is in a position where that is appropriate (and we're very lucky to have an affordable, helpful accountant).

  4. Thanks all for your comments.

    Grumpy - don't let Richard Murphy catch you saying that about flat taxes and Jersey :-) The scary thing is that I am an accountant and still found the payroll complicated!



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