Employers have found themselves on the sharp end of a rebuke from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for failing to provide accurate information around employee tax and national insurance contributions.
HMRC says that data provided is often inaccurate and can cause money to be incorrectly debited from pay.
To back up its case, HMRC revealed a list of errors found within submissions for the 2009/10 tax year, including 824 employees with the surname “Unknown”, 128 staff entered as Mr or Mrs “Dummy” and 40 people who would have been more than 200 years old based on the date of birth given.
Jim Harra, HMRC’s director of customer operations, said: “Most employers get their PAYE returns right but the few who don’t can cause problems for their employees, for example, incorrect deductions of tax.
“Around 80% of errors in employee data are due to an incorrect name, date of birth or national insurance number, which is straightforward information that can be collected and checked quite easily.”
HMRC itself has come under fire for errors made by its computer system following an annual comparison between its own records and those held by employers for the tax year 2007/08.
Almost six million people are expected to receive a rebate averaging £400 while a further million have underpaid by around £600.
Last year, 4.3 million people receive refunds after overpaying the amount they owed, while 1.4 million received demands for additional payments.
A spokesperson for HMRC said: “The fact is, there will always be some cases at the end of every tax year that require an under- or overpayment to balance but these cases will reduce as the new system beds in.”