Staff underpaid after tax code problems
Staff at an NHS trust have been underpaid by up to hundreds of pounds after they were put on the wrong tax code.
A number of staff, including nurses, at Alder Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool were up to £500 short in their pay packets at the end of October.
The trust said the issue was caused by incorrect tax codes being applied by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), but that all affected staff had received their full pay by 2 November .
One member of staff told Nursing Standard that staff who work bank shifts are employed on two separate contracts: one covering their main job (substantive), which has the tax code 1100L, and one covering bank work covered by basic rate (BR).
It appeared the staff member had been incorrectly given the BR tax code on the main contract instead of the bank one, resulting in a deduction in salary.
Staff were alerted to the problem ahead of their payday.
A letter from the trust's human resources problem read: ‘The trust has been advised by its payroll provider that you may observe changes to your tax code this month.
‘The changes made to tax codes have been adjusted by the HMRC Tax Office and neither the trust nor the payroll can determine when the file from HMRC is received, or whether the changes to your tax code position have been initiated by you or for some other reason.
The letter added: ‘I wish to reiterate that the trust and the payroll provider are not responsible for these changes in the allocation of tax codes and that you will need to contact HMRC directly if you wish the code to be changed; however, I do appreciate the inconvenience this may cause you and please accept my apologies for this.’
The trust staff member, who does not wish to be named, said about 150 staff members may have been affected.
‘It is really a disastrous thing to happen with Christmas coming up,’ the staff member said.
‘Getting the code wrong for main contracts can also affect benefits too, which is a double blow.’
A spokesperson for Alder Hey would not confirm the number of staff affected, but said it had worked with HMRC to rectify the issue to ensure it did not happen again in future.
The spokesperson added the trust’s payroll provider had also taken its own measures to ensure any refunds are swiftly given to staff affected. With permission of HMRC, tax codes were reverted for those individuals affected and these staff received their full pay by 2 November.
‘The application of incorrect tax codes to pay is a national HMRC issue,’ the spokesperson added.
A HMRC spokesperson denied responsibility for the issue lies with the department.
‘Where a payroll provider makes an error resulting in staff being taxed incorrectly, we do all we can to help them put matters right,’ the spokesperson added.