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“Ditch Mr A N Other, Mrs Unknown and Ms XXX,” says taxman

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Employers are urged to double-check their paperwork, after a government audit found some peculiar irregularities in the PAYE scheme, including more than 500 returns claiming to employ “A N Other”.

Every year, employers must send PAYE data to HMRC, detailing employees’ tax and national insurance contributions. But this data isn’t always accurate.

As well as 507 A N Others, employer returns for 2009/10 revealed the following incorrect information:

  • 128 staff entered as Mr, Ms or Mrs “Dummy”
  • 572 people whose surnames only included the letter X (ranging from Mr X to Mrs XXXXXX)
  • 75 staff with the surname “Casual”, 11 “Cleaners”, nine “Workers” and six “Students”
  • 824 employees with the surname “Unknown”
  • 40 people were apparently 200 years old or more, after incorrect dates of birth were submitted

Submitting incorrect PAYE information to HMRC can be problematic for both employee and employer, explains Jim Harra, HMRC’s director of customer operations:

“Most employers get their PAYE returns right. The few who don’t can cause problems for their employees, for example, incorrect deductions of tax. 

“So, whether you are employing ‘Mr or Mrs J Smith’ – or even ‘Mr or Mrs A N Other’, please use the full and official name on your PAYE paperwork. First names are very important, especially for common surnames.”

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