The first thing you need to do in order to get the AE ball rolling is find out your PAYE reference, Government Gateway ID and letter reference code from The Pensions Regulator (TPR). Once you have this, you need to provide a point of contact to TPR.
This is all pretty basic stuff – to find out how to do this follow these simple instructions…
Once you have this information, you are ready to find out your Staging Date.
You can find out how to do this here.
Ok, so now you have these simple, basic first steps out of the way, you are better placed to decide if auto enrolment is something you want to manage yourself, or if you would rather get help from an AE professional.
There is no doubt that you can implement AE yourself but using the services of an AE professional, be it your accountant, financial advisor, payroll provider or AE consultant, could save you a lot of time and hassle. There is obviously a cost involved and the amount of this may be the main factor in your decision.
Letâ€™s be honest, auto enrolment is overly complicated, confusing and full of specialist terminology. Get it wrong and you can get into a right pickle, even ending up with a hefty fine. While the Pensions Regulator has the ability to fine companies that fail to comply with AE legislation, their general principle is to do whatever they can to help companies comply before it gets to that stage.
However, as the large numbers of smaller companies start to stage, the Pensions Regulator will obviously get busier and there is the possibility that they will no longer have the time to help you comply; they will simply fine you, citing the fact that it is your responsibility to ensure compliance.
The aim of this guide, and indeed this site as a whole, is to equip you to deal with auto enrolment yourself OR make an informed decision about whether to outsource. The choice, ultimately, is yours.
So let’s assume that you want to complete the AE process yourself. The next thing you will need to do is decide if you are going to postpone auto enrolment.
Why would you use postponement? From your staging date, you are allowed to postpone the implementation of auto enrolment by up to three months. Your staging date remains the same but you now have a deferred starting date. There are several reasons why you would want to use postponement, not least of all, to save you money. To better understand the postponement process, and decide whether it would benefit you, read more information here.
The next thing to do is initially assess your workforce using a contributions calculator.
As part of your preparations for AE, it is essential you have some idea of how your employees will be assessed and what the contributions are going to be, particularly what AE will cost you as an employer.
There are a few AE contributions calculators available and those from the Pensions Regulator and Money Advisory Service only allow you to enter one employee at a time and only at the â€˜fullâ€™ rates that come into effect on 1st October 2018.
Benchmark Software has developed a free contributions calculator that lets you enter all your employees, defines what type of worker they are based on age and earnings and shows employee, employer and tax relief contribution for all three phases. You can find this calculator here It’s really simple to use but if you need any help, the guys at Benchmark are happy to help you at no cost.
Finally in this section, you can start your Declaration Of Compliance
The Declaration of Compliance is an online form you have to complete with the Pensions Regulator. It is a statement that you have carried out the process and also provides them with some key information, such as the scheme you are using. The whole declaration has to be completed within five months of your staging date but the first four sections can be done before that so again, if you get chance, get them done before your staging date to get them out of the way.
At this stage, you can complete the first four pages and we have walked you through the process here
Ok, so hopefully that wasn’t too painful! You’re now ready for STEP 3. AUTO ENROLMENT AND YOUR PAYROLL