The Declaration of Compliance: What you need to know
One of the final stages of the auto-enrolment process, we take you through the process of how to submit your Declaration of Compliance
While completing the Declaration of Compliance is one of the last stages of the auto-enrolment process, it shouldn’t be taken for granted and certainly not left until the last minute.
A written confirmation that you’ve complied with your duties as an employer and admission that all information you’ve submitted in the process is up to date and correct – failure to comply could result in you being fined.
Never too early to start, here we talk you through the various steps you’ll need to take to complete the Declaration of Compliance…
What is the Declaration of Compliance?
The Declaration of Compliance is a form that all employers who have reached their staging date must submit to The Pensions Regulator to explain how they have met their employer automatic enrolment duties. There is a completion deadline five months from your staging date and failure to adhere to this could result in fines for your business. The declaration is a secure, online service accessed through the Government Gateway.
While it is your legal responsibility as an employer to ensure you have completed the form accurately and on time, you are also able to authorise someone else to complete the declaration on your behalf – such as an accountant, a financial adviser or member of staff.
What information do you need to complete the declaration?
Firstly, you’ll need your letter code and PAYE reference to access the Declaration of Compliance online service.
Letter code: Your letter code is a 10-digit reference beginning with a ‘1’ that’s unique to every employer and you can find it written on all correspondence from The Pensions Regulator.
If you don’t know it or have never received it, you should contact firstname.lastname@example.org providing your employer name, PAYE scheme reference(s), employer address and your contact details (telephone number, email address, job role).
PAYE references: Your PAYE reference can be found on the letter you received from The Pensions Regulator regarding auto-enrolment as well as on the letter from HMRC when you first registered as an employer, or from your payroll software.
Alongside the PAYE reference you’ll also need to provide the following:
- The exact number of staff you were employing on your staging date
- How many of those workers have been enrolled
- How many workers were already in a work pension scheme
- Details about the pension scheme (or schemes) you’re using for auto-enrolment
- The employer pension scheme reference (EPSR) or pension scheme registry number (PSR number).
If you’re worried you don’t have everything required, you can use the Declaration of Compliance checklist on The Pensions Regulator’s website.
When do you need to comply?
As mentioned above, the deadline for completing the Declaration of Compliance is five months from your staging date. For example, if your staging date is 1 November 2016, you must submit the declaration no later than 31 March 2017. If your declaration deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, you can provide the declaration on the next working day.
In terms of physically filling in the form, it’s highly advisable that you begin this process well before the staging date. Although you won’t be able to submit it before the staging date itself (as you’ll need to account for all staff employed on this date) –you run the risk of being fined if you leave everything to the last day and fail to compete the process on time.
N.B. If you have delayed putting any of your workers into a pension scheme, don’t submit their declaration until after the postponement period has ended as this could mean there’s very little time between the end of the postponement period and the declaration deadline. Fill in details as you get them and complete everything in advance except for the information about your workforce.
Where to submit the declaration
The declaration is complete once you submit all the required information online to The Pensions Regulator via the Government Gateway.
If you already have a Government Gateway user ID, you will be able to log in and select automatic enrolment.
If you don’t already have a Government Gateway user ID, you’ll need to create one. Once you’ve done this you’ll see a message saying that you’ve ‘enrolled’. This means that you have registered with the Government Gateway and you can now start the process of the Declaration of Compliance.
How often do I complete the declaration?
Every three years you will need to put back certain staff into a pension. Once you do this you will need to submit a re-Declaration of Compliance.
Your re-declaration will need to be completed within five calendar months of the third anniversary of your staging date and you will then need to do this again in another three years’ time.
For example, if your staging date is 1 May 2013, you would need to complete your re-declaration by 30 September 2016.
What if you fail to submit the declaration?
Failure to submit the form could result in you being fined.