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Internet cafe: PAYE

If you have any employees you must operate Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and deduct tax from their weekly/monthly wages. Every month (or in some cases every quarter) you will pay this amount to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), together with the Employee and Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs). Be sure to make your payment before the monthly deadline - the amount of time you'll need to allow will depend on how you choose to pay. You will need to submit your payroll information to HMRC online 'in real time' on or before the day when you pay your employees.

Information about all aspects of PAYE, including guidance for new employers and useful tools, is available on the website.

Most employers who pay Class 1 National Insurance Contributions on their employees' (or directors') wages can claim the Employment Allowance, which reduces the amount they pay each year by up to £3,000. Note, however, that a company where the director is the only employee can't claim the allowance. You can find out more about the Employment Allowance on the website.

Special care should be taken to ensure that the correct procedures are followed if casual or part-time staff are employed. It is your responsibility to make sure that the correct tax and NICs are deducted, taking into account all the employees' earnings from all their employments.

Your PAYE records will be inspected by HMRC, who will collect any arrears of tax and NI contributions in a lump sum together with interest and, possibly, a penalty.

Businesses that are having trouble making their tax and NI payments, or are worried that future payments will cause them problems, can ask for help from the HMRC Business Payment Support Service. If your business needs this financial assistance to tide it over, HMRC will look at your situation and discuss temporary options that could help out. These could include letting you make payments over a longer period and waiving late payment surcharges. To discuss payment problems with HMRC you can call the Business Payment Support Service Helpline on 0300 200 3835.

A number of software packages are available to handle the operation of PAYE. Make sure that the software you choose is well designed, simple to use and can submit your PAYE information reports to HMRC in real time online. If one of your employees is going to handle your PAYE then make sure they know how to use the software properly - they may need some training.