HM Revenue & Customs is to send tax staff to help the 1,000 organisations, with the biggest tax data quality issues, to clean up their act.

The Targeted Employer Support (TES) project will include tailored face-to-face visits which will enable HMRC and employers to work together to address data quality problems that affect PAYE systems.

The HMRC, which has long struggled with data issues says that the main causes of data matching errors with HMRC records are: incorrect National Insurance Number, incorrect or missing date of birth and incomplete, misspelt or even made up name

"We want to work in partnership with employers to improve data quality. There are wins for both parties from better data quality," said Stephen Banyard, HMRC Acting Director General for Personal Tax.

Banyard said HMRC was making a determined effort to improve data quality ahead of the move to Real Time Information (RTI) systems and it has conducted 12 employer schemes pilot projects between July and October 2011 on how this can be achieved.

"Pilot visits have shown that ... face to face support can make a real difference to the quality of data we receive from employers and consequently will greatly assist the coming move to Real Time Information (RTI).

In addition to TES visits, HMRC "will improve the communications and guidance we provide on this subject," he said.
"The pilots have gone really well and helped HMRC shape the materials used in interaction with employers."

The move to improve data quality comes as HMRC is consolidating its back end systems. Last month the tax department revealed it had HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced it had reduced the number of its SAP systems from seven to one  with an 81% cost saving.