Pension Auto Enrolment and the Micro Business

If you are a company that operates a PAYE scheme you will by now probably have received your 12-month 'notice' letter from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) confirming your staging date and providing key information and advice on preparing to enrol your staff.

These letters go out to every company that runs a PAYE scheme, regardless of its size or set up. This goes for micro businesses as well as companies that have no actual 'workers' or 'employees', say for example where the only people on the payroll are the business owners themselves. The payroll entries are in place to make sure they can draw funds regularly and protect their state retirement pension, but this is where the extent of the payroll ends.

Are you a 'Close Company'?

Where there are up to five owners of this type the business is referred to as a 'close company'. Representative bodies have been asking TPR for clarification on the position of close companies. There was a recent announcement that any business with no workers or employees in the normal sense is except from auto enrolment, but what these businesses have to do in advance of their given staging date is still not clear enough.

Letters are sent to all businesses with no differentiation for those who are exempt, so there could be a great deal of confusion for anyone who does not realise they don't fall under the regulations.

What to do when you receive your advice notice

TPR says that when a business receives its 12 month advice notice it should write back stating it has no 'workers' and is therefore is fully exempt from the auto enrolment process. Apparently there is an opportunity to do this online, but we've had a look and unfortunately it does not appear to be a straightforward system.

If you are in the dark about what you should be doing concerning auto enrolment, and are worried about your position as a 'close company' - a business with only you or up to five other directors or owners on the payroll - then seek the advice of your bookkeepers who will be able to tell you what you need to do and were you stand with the regulations.

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