For those schemes contracted-out on a DB basis, HMRC has published issue 3 of its regular Countdown bulletin. With 18 months to go until the end of contracting-out in April 2016, the bulletin aims to help administrators of schemes contracted-out on a DB basis to deal with technical queries in the run-up to abolition.

Among other things, the latest edition:

  • notes that HMRC has received 1,889 requests to use its scheme reconciliation service and has so far issued records for 1,175 schemes;
  • advises administrators that HMRC is developing a system for providing contracted-out contributions and earnings information alongside scheme reconciliation data; and
  • warns administrators that they may in future receive requests from sponsoring employers for scheme contracted-out numbers (SCONs). This follows the April 2014 legislative change which requires employers to provide a SCON in addition to the employer contracting-out number when submitting contracted-out National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for employees who have been in a contracted-out scheme during the tax year. Experience so far suggests some employers are providing out-of-date or temporary SCONs.

While the scheme reconciliation service is proving popular, HMRC urges schemes to start engaging with it now, as the reconciliation service is due to operate only until December 2018.

View the Bulletin.