It’s been a busy period for HMRC and there have been a number of recent developments in the Scheme Reconciliation Service (SRS) world, let’s take a look at some of the recent changes…
Closure Scans Requests
Over the festive period HMRC ran their closure scans across all schemes with active members, this process ended the contracted-out service for all active members of contracted-out schemes.
In HMRC’s most recent Countdown Bulletin they have confirmed that they will be able to provide the data for active members between January and March 2017.
"HMRC should be applauded for taking the feedback from the pensions industry on board and then identifying efficiency savings to allow them to respond to our queries much more quickly. "
As with all data that has been provided through the SRS, HMRC will only be providing data to administrators who actively request the data. HMRC are therefore asking any schemes that wish to reconcile GMPs for active members to complete the closure scan request form as soon as possible.
The request for the Closure Scans can be found here.
We will be requesting this data for the schemes that we work on so our clients need to take no action on this point.
Closure scan data
As a company, Barnett Waddingham have spent a considerable amount of effort making our process for dealing with SRS queries as efficient as possible. Part of this has involved programming our administration system so that we can easily load SRS data to members’ records, this allows us to easily identify discrepancies and patterns in errors.
We were therefore very happy to hear that HMRC are planning on providing closure scan data in the same format as the SRS data and that no additional systems development will be required to allow us to continue to perform reconciliations in the most efficient way possible.
SRS response timescale update
Last month I wrote a blog covering HMRC’s resources and the timescales for responding to queries submitted to the SRS. Since then, HMRC have reviewed their resourcing and have been able to make some significant time savings in the process. So it’s only fair to follow up to share the positive news…
HMRC have recently told us that they were bringing the target dates for our outstanding queries forward by about three months. We are obviously very pleased with this outcome; not only does it help us to meet our client’s expectations it also means that any uncertainty over members’ benefits are resolved much quicker. On receiving a query template, HMRC contact the administrator to let them know the date from which the 3-month turnaround time will start. It is important for administrators to be aware of these dates and to diarise chasers should HMRC fail to meet these timescales.
HMRC should be applauded for taking the feedback from the pensions industry on board and then identifying efficiency savings to allow them to respond to our queries much more quickly.