Finance firm accidentally tells Government its 800 staff have left
ONE of the biggest employers in South Gloucestershire mistakenly informed HM Revenue and Customs that its 800 employees no longer worked for the company.
Financial services Friends Life, based in Stoke Gifford, used third party company Ceridian to submit its tax calculations to the government. They accidentally forwarded P45s to HMRC, effectively informing them that the contracts of 800 employees had come to an end.
The firm has now sent an email to its staff explaining how the blunder occurred and warning employees they may be contacted by HMRC regarding an underpayment of tax.
Workers were reassured by bosses that their employment "had not been terminated".
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The email said: "We have just been made aware of an error that has occurred and wanted to let you know as soon as possible. It affects the record of your earnings held by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for your employment.
"The error was made by the previous payroll provider Ceridian, resulting in your HMRC earnings record being incorrect. Ceridian incorrectly submitted a P45 file to HMRC detailing your earnings for April to December 2011. There is no action for you to take and Friends Life are working with Ceridian and HMRC to rectify this error as quickly as possible.
"It is possible that you may be contacted by HMRC for an underpayment of tax relating to either tax year 2010/11 or 2011/12.
"In this event please inform HMRC that you believe the demand may have been caused by this issue.
"A further consequence of this submission is that HMRC records show your employment with Friends Life terminating on 31 December 2011 and starting again on 1 January 2012. Please be assured that your employment had not been terminated and your continuous service and benefits with Friends Life, prior to your transfer to Diligenta, have been unaffected by this.
"HRMC has indicated that the errors should be corrected by the end of August 2012. I appreciate that you will be disappointed that this error has occurred. However please be assured that we, in conjunction with Friends Life will ensure your HMRC record is corrected as quickly as possible."
A spokesman for Friends Life said: "An administrative error was made by our former payroll provider resulting in the HMRC earnings records of some employees being incorrect. "Friends Life have worked closely with HMRC who have confirmed that all earnings records have now been corrected on their systems."
Life assurance specialists Friends Life formed in 2011, comprising the merged UK operations of Friends Provident and the life assurance businesses acquired from Bupa and AXA UK.