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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countdown-bulletin-37-october-2018/countdown-bulletin-37-october-2018
The following financial reconciliation approach has been approved by the HMRC Joint National Insurance and PAYE Board:
- financial automated solutions will run from January 2019 to March 2019 to allocate all outstanding funds to all outstanding debt within the financial account of each scheme that is eligible for the Scheme Reconciliation Service (SRS)
- at the end of March, we will decide if each scheme is in surplus or deficit
- in early April we will refund all surplus funds through an automated solution
- also in early April, we will bill the debt from deficit schemes, again through an automated solution
- we will not bill schemes whose overall deficit is less than £1,000 - the debt will be written off thorugh an automated solution
- if bills are not paid by the end of May, we will remove any outstanding Contribution Equivalent Premiums (CEPs) and re-instate liability in scheme through an automated solution.
The low level process is yet to be developed but we will be taking on board Pension Scheme Administrator (PSA) views. We are currently considering:
- informing schemes of their surplus or deficit position at the point of each of or financial scans
- extending the automated financial reconciliation to scheme cessation
- the process should the debt relate to unpaid Limited Revaluation Premiums (LRPs)
Important amendment to phase 7 rerun plan
On 13 August, we sent all the PSAs an email with a copy of the amended phase 7 rerun plan. In the email we apologised and explained that we had been made aware that our automated rerun plan showed an incorrect PSA file submission date for run 12.
If you did not receive this email and want a copy of the revised phase 7 rerun plane email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also like to clarify that the plan is for both SRS and scheme cessation queries that are suitable for our automated solutions.
If you need to understand any of our solutions, refer to or request the relevant summary document.
HMRC banking details
BACS Payment should be made through Barclays Bank GBS Re NICO Receipts HMRC
|Beneficiary Details||Use your SCON followed by the letters ‘SSP
For example S0000000A/SSP/
Ideally correspondence relating to the payment should be sent electronically (for example Excel sheets) to our dedicated mailbox: email@example.com.
In countdown bulletin 34, we said the quality of data we have been receiving on the query files were causing a problem. This is a reminder as we are still seeing the same type of errors.
We have been correcting these errors but may need to reject these files in future.
This links in with countdown bulletin 36 where we advised that automation queries can be submitted after 31 October for all available automation reruns.
However, PSAs must be responsible for the quality of the data submitted after 31 October because the files rejected by automation will be returned to schemes unchecked and the clerical remainder from automation will be returned unworked.
To prevent your files being rejected, avoid the reoccurring issues below.
Extra data columns
Files are being submitted with extra columns of data. For example, a surname may be included twice – once in the correct column but also in a additional column. Follow the Input File Template for the solution set out in the solution summary.
First and second initials
The first and second initials need to be in the correct format and in the correct column. The first initial and second initial columns should include the first letter of the individual’s first and middle name.
If an individual has more than one middle name then these additional initials should be excluded.
Hidden rows and columns
Files are being submitted with hidden rows and columns which include additional data. Ensure that no rows or columns are hidden and that only queries being submitted for automated responses are included in your spreadsheet.
More than one worksheet within the input file
The XLS files sometimes contain more than one worksheet. Ensure there is only one worksheet per input file sent.
Files are being submitted with locked cells. Do not lock cells in any spreadsheet.
Data in a date column (for example HMRC Start Date, HMRC end date, scheme start date, scheme end date) needs to be in the correct format: DD/MM/YYYY for example 1 August 2010 should be 01/08/2010.
Issues are occurring because cells are being formatted as general cells rather than date cells, which is causing dates to occur as a random series of numbers. Also, dates are being sent as ‘00/01/1901’ which will be automatically rejected. Make sure dates added are accurate and in a correct and readable format.
Files are being submitted with an extra-long text in this column, containing special characters and break lines. Use this space to add a short plain text comment.
Contribution adjustment action as a result of scheme reconciliation
We are introducing a process to obtain Trustee Approval before adjusting contributions.
We are considering automating the contribution adjustment process but that this will depend on volumes.
The approval process will consist of:
- headed signed letter from the trustees
- giving approval for contribution adjustment action to be taken from A rate contracted in to D rate contracted out or from D rate to A rate
- a list of members this applies to (numbers must match file and exact file name must be shown)
- the letter will include a declaration that trustees understand that by requesting this action that the individual’s occupational and state pension may be impacted and that in some circumstances an underpayment may be requested from the employer.
The trustee approval process will apply whether we automate or not.
Earlier editions of the National Insurance Services to Pension industry: countdown bulletins are also available.
For general queries about contracted-out pensions contact the helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3507.
Continue to deal with your usual contracted-out pensions contact for your day to day enquiries.
General queries about the Scheme Reconciliation Service should be made to the Customer Relationship Team at email: firstname.lastname@example.org