HMRC Transforming Payroll in a Pandemic with Joanna Rowland #58

Joanna is an experienced Director General at HMRC. Joanna was also Programme Director for the Making Tax Digital project.  We discuss how HMRC managed to navigate the rapid changes required in response to the COVID pandemic. We discover how, against a backdrop of highly pressurised circumstances, HMRC successfully managed and responded to the many challenges they faced. From CJRS and changing furlough guidance to rapid testing and national legislation rollouts!

Podcast Maria Mason 600

28 Years of Changing Payroll Landscapes with Maria Mason #45

28 Years of Changing Payroll Landscapes with Maria Mason #45

Podcast Maria MasonNick Day is joined on The Payroll Podcast sofa by Maria Mason, UK Director of Payroll Services at BDO, the UK’s fifth-largest accountancy and advisory firm to talk about how the payroll landscape has changed over the last 28 years.

We discuss technology, the impact of COVID-19, Processes, Qualifications and more!

Maria currently leads the UK payroll team within BDO, which consists of over 50 staff members based across four locations in the UK, which include Glasgow, Manchester, Reading and London.  Her team provides payroll and HR services to over 1,400 clients, covering all sectors and includes businesses of differing sizes and complexities.

She is passionate about leveraging technology to manage the areas surrounding payroll processing, supporting her clients to implement systems and processes that can improve security and accuracy.  Over the past two years, she has implemented many new systems platforms and robotics and she is also a CIPP intermediate.

In this “28 Years of Changing Payroll Landscapes with Maria Mason of The Payroll Podcast, we also explore:

    1. What are the main changes you have seen within payroll over the past 28 years?
    2. How has pandemic affected business?
    3. How will COVID-19 change payroll?
    4. Do you think people now expect more from their payroll provision?
    5. Do you think technology should play a big part in the processing of payroll?
    6. Will new technology enhancements replace people in payroll?
    7. How do you see the future of payroll within BDO?
    8. The profile of profile has been elevated with COVID-19 and introduction of the CJRS etc, placing more focus and importance in the role payroll carries out within businesses, how do we maintain this profile moving forward?
    9. How can clients stay up to date in all areas of compliance in this ever-changing landscape?
    10. Why do you think payroll is always at the forefront of change?
    11. How would you sell payroll as a career?
    12. One piece of advice Maria would give to someone working in payroll right now!

We hope you enjoy this “28 Years of Changing Payroll Landscapes episode of The Payroll Podcast!  If you know anyone else who works in payroll, then please, share this episode with your friends and get them to subscribe today!

Links highlighted in this “28 Years of Changing Payroll Landscapes” episode are below:

  1. BDO’s Payroll Business Services & Outsourcing Services:
  2. BDO COVID-19 resource centre:
  3. Maria Mason LinkedIn Profile:
  4. To find out more about JGA Payroll Recruitment Services, please visit:
  5. To contact the host, Nick Day, please email: / 01727 800 377

Available on: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Soundcloud | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | More

Of course, if you are Payroll Leader listening to this podcast and you have a payroll-related vacancy that you would love some specialist payroll recruitment support with – please also get in touch with me!  I would love to help show you what a great Payroll recruitment experience feels like!  You can reach out to me directly at or give me a call – 01727800377

Thanks for listening folks – I look forward to bringing you the next episode of the Payroll Podcast real soon!



Copy of CJRS example layout v1.0

Payroll professionals have been requesting this Copy of CJRS example layout v1.0.

Please note that this is offered with the caveat that this is only a suggested format and does not need to mirror the document attached exactly as long as all the mandatory data is supplied’?

Copy-of-CJRS-example-layout-v1.0.xlsx (305 downloads)





CJRS Portal

NEW CJRS guidance and Other Payroll Updates – With Kate Upcraft

Hi, so that was Easter…!

In case it’s useful, one of my colleagues at ICAEW has consolidated the three versions of the CJRS guidance so you can see the  changes as this has progressed (see here: consolidated-CJRS-guidance-with-tracked-changes.pdf (286 downloads) )

I heard from an agent on Friday (thanks Tracey Simpson) that activation codes for PAYE online are now going out by email so that’s a relief

– HMRC update their salary sacrifice guidance re CIOVID-19 as a lifestyle event: See Link
The statutory residence test (SRT) has been relaxed:  See Link

– Introductory guidance for employers on the point-based immigration scheme has been issued: See Link

– Answer from HMRC to whether employee number or payroll ID is needed for reclaim: ‘
I think it’s deliberately ambiguous to allow for any, the field is included as an extra measure for identifying the employee so whatever reference serves that purpose best.’ 

– We have made some progress today on getting some clarity for the payroll software developers on the data they might be able to provide you with to assist in the reclaim, and more guidance will be in the public domain in the next 48 hours on .gov. We have given feedback on the concerns about working days v calendar days, the fact that for small (part period) furlough payments the NICs threshold and pension threshold will mean no oncost funding and that asking for a NINO as a mandatory field is inappropriate. There will also be a calculator for employers to use to calculate reclaims (but may not be available by Monday).

– There will also be some additional guidance on pension calculations and salary sacrifice from TPR hopefully to a similar timeframe

Kate Upcraft  |  Kate Upcraft Consultancy Ltd
Mobile: 07748 797478  |

Updated Payroll Guidance v3 9.4.20

Some of you will be aware that HMRC updated the job retention scheme guidance for a third time last night (Friday 1oth April).

There are a number of changes to the second version.  See attachments and notes below:

To summarise the key points:

  • They are maintaining the line that you can claim for employees who were on the payroll on the 28th February, which is in direct contradiction to what we have been told by HMRC via the EPG this week and was confirmed by Jim Harra in his webcast to MPs. This is extremely unhelpful when we are trying to make strategic decisions in our organisations
  • Still refers to those who have been made redundant after the 28th February as being able to be re-employed, remember this is the employer’s choice, not an employee’s right
  • Whilst unpaid leave as at the 28th February is still excluded, there is now clarity that those on statutory leave (maternity etc) are not included in this group. As we have been advising they can return and be furloughed. It says on the salary that they were on the same month last year or the average over 2019/20, I’ve no idea why it just doesn’t say their contractual salary on return as many people might be going part-time. I think we will use our common sense in this respect
  • Clarification that SSP can be ended in order for an employee to be furloughed in preference, obviously both can’t be claimed for the same period of time, this will be particularly helpful to employers not covered by the SSP rebate scheme. There is almost a tacit encouragement not to put somebody onto SSP who is furloughed and falls sick, which is welcome but rather surprising as from an HR perspective we would absolutely want to record the sickness even if we are claiming
  • Employees who are shielding or caring for somebody who is shielding can be furloughed
  • No issue with an employee being furloughed whilst working for another employer (a new or existing employer) – we knew this but it’s good to see it spelt-out again
  • It has now been confirmed that deemed employees (off-payroll workers in the public sector) can be both furloughed and money can be claimed for them if there is no public funding coming through to support their project work. In such cases, the contractor’s personal service company (PSC) must exclude any monies received from public sector engager when deciding to make a claim against any taxable income from private sector work received by the PSC
  • TUPE transfers from the 28th February onwards do not affect the ability to furlough and make a claim, neither do transfers between PAYE schemes in the same business
  • There’s clarity that you must not, of course, claim the 3% pension contribution if the employee is not in a pension scheme or alternatively pay a lot more than 3%
  • We are told that you will now need national insurance numbers and employee numbers to make a claim: we need to pursue this because not everybody has a national insurance number and many small employers don’t allocate employee numbers as they’ve no need to


At the same time, HMRC contacted the software developers with information about supporting customers to prepare to make claims from the 20th April.

  • The guidance has various calculation formulas for furlough pay, details attached to this email. I’ve spotted one mistake already as it says that the qualifying earnings band for pensions last year was £511, it wasn’t it was £512!
  • It confirms that any NI reclaim must exclude amounts being claimed under the employment allowance which is what we had expected but had not yet seen in writing


Best Wishes



Kate Upcraft AMBCS > Director > Kate Upcraft Consultancy Ltd

 Mobile > 07748 797478                         Telephone > 0116 241 5732

Website >                    Blog >


CJRS Portal

CJRS Portal Payroll Update

Another mega day of announcements

CJRS Portal Update Download: CJRS-portal.pdf (254 downloads)

HMRC made a policy announcement to the EPG last night, who are their main consultation group for payroll matters in case you weren’t aware. I am told that this is not confidential as no mention has been made of that in their communication. The question it was addressing was those people who had a start date in February but were not reported until the March FPS, even though the CJRS guidance on both occasions simply said ‘being on payroll on the 28th February’. Apparently HMRC’s view of that means being reported in February. This is a major difference in understanding for businesses of all sizes who have made decisions on the basis of the inclusion of everybody who had a start date on, or before, the 28th February but who now appear to find that some of their February starters may not be included in the reclaim scheme. I know that the members of the EPG who are members of ICAEW and CIOT have expressed their concern about this policy change, we will have to see where this goes and we know no more at this time.

Some of you will also have seen the announcement that the reclaim portal has gone into test today and will be open on the 20th April. It will require a PAYE online account and can, we think, only be used by agents who have 64-8 authority to access a client’s account if they have one. I have attached the email announcement which also indicates that we will need a national insurance number for every person on the claim which is also not with what was in the guidance as it talked about a bulk claim. Of course, we expected to have detailed evidence to justify the claim but a) not everybody has a national insurance number perfectly validly as you don’t need one to be on payroll and b) are we going to be able to upload CSV files or the like where you have got thousands and thousands of employees who are part of the claim?

As well…..





Kate Upcraft AMBCS > Director > Kate Upcraft Consultancy Ltd

 Mobile > 07748 797478                         Telephone > 0116 241 5732

Website >                    Blog >