It has been long-threatened, but the introduction of in-year interest being charged by HMRC on late payments of PAYE and National Insurance Contributions is now a reality. The change came into effect from the start of the 2014/15 tax year and means that from 20th May 2014 any payments that are late (i.e. after the 19th of the following month or 22nd if paid electronically) will be subject to an interest charge at a rate of 3{af331c3cb52abe27a47f1f5b71fb5068c938efb8d5a4e6cddc7f2780f48bb99c} per annum from the date payment is due to the date that it is paid in full. This interest will similarly be charged on late payments of Construction Industry Scheme charges. Previously, HMRC had not charged interest on late-payments provided that the payments were brought up to date by 19th April following the end of the tax year but unfortunately that grace period no-longer applies so it is more important than ever that you make your payments on time. Annual payments such as the payment of Class 1A and Class 1B National Insurance Contributions will continue to to be charged interest on any amounts which remain unpaid after the annual due date.

On a brighter note, HMRC has indicated that in-year interest will also be paid to employers in the event of over-payments being made where an employer makes a payment and the charge is subsequently reduced. This will happen regardless of whether the over-payment is repaid or simply reallocated against a later charge. Unlike other changes that have been made regarding PAYE and CIS recently where there has been one set of rules for the taxpayer and one for HMRC, it at least appears that there will be an even-handed approach in this respect.