As reported in December’s Pensions Update, from 6 April 2011 scheme administrators filing online returns and reports to HMRC will have to provide individuals’ NI numbers or an alternative identifier for those individuals who do not qualify to be issued with a NI number. HMRC’s Pension Schemes Newsletter No 45 announces that this alternative identifier will be written confirmation to the scheme administrator, plus date of birth and address, from the individual himself or, for example, his guardian or Job Centre Plus. Because of changes needed to deal with this, Pensions Schemes Online will be unavailable from 2–6 April 2011.  

As noted before, scheme administrators are advised to start obtaining NI numbers now from all individuals who will need to be included in a return or report to be submitted on or after 6 April 2011. Note that it is the date of submission of the report which is relevant, not the period to which the return or report relates.