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Small firms continue to underestimate auto-enrolment

A number of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are continuing to underestimate the requirements of auto-enrolment pensions, despite some 6,000 firms being six weeks away from their staging date.
According to law firm, Irwin Mitchell, many small business owners remain entirely unaware of their full legal obligations regarding auto-enrolment pension schemes. The organisation is concerned that the lack of pension products for SMEs and the lack of available advice could lead to hundreds missing the compliance deadline.
New laws came into effect for the UK’s biggest firms in 2012 and from April 2014 firms with a PAYE scheme size of between 249 and 160 employees will need to comply with auto-enrolment pension plans.
SMEs with fewer employees will also be expected to comply with the auto-enrolment requirements by staging dates staggered according to business size up until 2018.
Nigel Bolton, of Irwin Mitchell, said: "We are pleased to say that many small and medium-sized businesses are ready, however we think that there are still many that do not fully appreciate what is involved and therefore will not be ready in time.
"Recent NEST research found that 20 per cent of businesses took 16 months in order to get ready for auto-enrolment. Although many of these organisations are much bigger than those that are yet to stage and have more employees to enrol, it should also be remembered that these larger companies have far bigger specialist support teams and functions.
"Although there is currently no online product which deals with all the issues associated with auto-enrolment, from providing the pension product to providing initial and follow-on legal compliance, we firmly believe it is clear that this is essential in ensuring smaller businesses deal effectively with this significant change to pension legislation."
At TaxAssist Accountants, together with Scottish Widows – one of the UK’s major pension providers – we have created the TaxAssist Accountants Client Pension Scheme which is competitively priced and provides a host of features and benefits for small businesses that are normally only customary with larger organisations.
Our scheme is only available to TaxAssist Accountants clients. Planning ahead and setting up a pension plan for your staff couldn’t be easier. Call our friendly team on 0800 0523 555 and arrange your free initial consultation today.

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