EP NowStoreAcademySupportCommunityProducts by Country
Blog Home

Three Mistakes That Can Slow Down Your Production Payroll (And How to Avoid Them)

Stay compliant with UK rules and regulations, and get your crew and talent paid on time, with these helpful tips.
November 11, 2022
EP Blog WIDE-3 mistakes that can slow down payroll

Payroll; it's the backbone of every production. If you don’t pay your cast and crew on time, they won’t stick around for long.

The good news is that an experienced payroll provider will do most of the heavy lifting for you. However, they do need certain information from you in order to run your payroll in line with UK rules and regulations.

Providing this information upfront will save you time, as your payroll provider won’t have to chase you for it.

To help make sure your production runs as smoothly as possible, contributing author Audrey Gaines, UK Payroll and Tax Compliance Partner, provides three common mistakes to avoid when submitting your payroll.

Providing incomplete or incorrect start forms

To avoid delays, it’s crucial that your payroll provider has all the information they need to process your payroll.

For each payee, your payroll provider needs the following information:  

  • Full name: make sure you include each payee’s full name, including any middle names. Don’t provide nicknames or abbreviations. Your payroll provider needs this information for Real Time Information (RTI) purposes in order to return your payroll file to HMRC.
  • Date of birth: this is needed for both your RTI return and pension auto-enrolment. Without this information, your payroll provider can’t determine whether someone is too young or too old for a pension assessment.
  • National insurance number: although this is no longer a mandatory field for RTI purposes, it is required for pension auto-enrolment. For some pension schemes, this information will be the difference between getting tax relief on the pension contribution or not.
  • Postal address: a common mistake is to provide only the first line of someone’s address. For RTI purposes, you need to provide a minimum of two lines and the full postcode.
  • Start date: this is important for both the RTI file and pension auto-enrolment. If you opt for the three-month postponement, your payroll provider will push the start date back by three months to the now-postponed pension start date. This will update HMRC’s records so that it is tracking employment correctly.
  • Bank details: a common mistake is to provide sort codes and account numbers that are too long or too short. Sort codes should always be six digits and account numbers should always be eight digits. Productions also sometimes provide debit card numbers, but your payroll provider can't work out the account number from this. It's also worth noting that if a payment needs to be sent overseas, your payroll provider will need the IBAN number and Swift or BIC code.
  • Email address: your payroll provider needs this so that they can issue payslips and pension letters, when required.
  • Tax status: if no selection is made or no starter checklist is completed as PAYE, a non-declaration code of 0T wk1 is applied. Once this code is reported to HMRC, it can only be changed via a P6 or P9 from HMRC or by presenting a P45. Note that if a P45 is handed in after the first payment has been made, it can be applied only if HMRC has not issued a P6 or P9. 

Providing this information when you submit your payroll (or even better, before you submit it!) will mean that your payroll can be processed without delays.

Top tip: provide this information in typed format (or written capitals) so that it’s easy to read. Or better yet, use a digital onboarding and timesheets solution, like the EP Production Portal, which makes the run up to payroll a breeze.

Audrey Gaines-1kpx.jpg
Audrey Gaines, UK Payroll and Tax Compliance Partner, Entertainment Partners

Failing to break down payments

Payroll providers often receive gross payments which they need to break down for payment purposes in line with UK pay-slip legislation. To avoid delays, you should provide this information when you submit your payroll. 

The most commonly used payments are:

  • Overtime 
  • Additional days 
  • Additional hours 
  • Additional pay 

As these amounts are variable, for each of these, your payroll provider needs to show: 

  • The number of hours worked 
  • The hourly rate
  • The total gross

Note that this rule doesn’t apply to the main salary or contracted rate. You can also break down other payments (e.g., mileage) if you wish to do so.

Submitting payments incorrectly

To avoid going back and forth with your payroll provider, it’s important to make sure that all payments are submitted correctly.

For example, if you’re submitting your payroll via a spreadsheet, make sure that the payments are in the correct columns. A classic example is a meal allowance; as this can be taxable or non-taxable, it’s crucial to let your payroll provider know which it is.

Top tip: in payroll language, adding an * in front of a column heading denotes that something is non-taxable.

How EP can help

Most importantly, don’t forget to lean on your partnership with EP. Our goal is to offer as much proactive support as possible to help you streamline your payroll and minimize errors. If you ever have questions or need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Topic: Payroll

Related Content

2023 Tax Year Changes Affecting Your UK Production Payroll

UK government has announced increases to various rates of statutory pay, which will take effect in April...
Topic: Payroll

10 Notable UK Studios for Your Next Production 

Headed to the UK for your next film? Check out this list of notable filming locations ranging from...

3 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Performing Right to Work Checks

Make sure you’re following the UK right to work rules when contracting and paying film and TV production...
Topic: Legal
PGGB and Entertainment Partners: Step up to Production Accountant

Entertainment Partners Supports PGGB’s Step Up to Production Accountant Programme

Supporting UK crew transitioning to production accountant roles, Entertainment Partners sponsors the...
Screen Alliance Wales

Entertainment Partners Announced as Official Sponsor of Screen Alliance Wales

EP sponsors Screen Alliance Wales, a leading not-for-profit which grows and promotes the talent, crew and...
Master Series_Square_Tax Considerations Abroad

Tax Considerations for US Productions Working Abroad

Paying US crew filming outside of the US is complex. Our experts will show you how to navigate the...
Katie Weekes, Managing Director of Global Casting at Entertainment Partners (EP)

Spotlight: Katie Weekes, Managing Director of Global Casting

Meet Entertainment Partners’ Managing Director of Global Casting

ScreenSkills Launches Movie Magic Training Programme for UK HETV Professionals

Entertainment Partners supports ScreenSkills’ training programme to upskill UK HETV professionals on Movie...

10 Myths About the UK Film and TV Tax Credit – And Why They're Not True

The UK film and TV tax credit is one of the most generous in the world. Learn the truth about common...

The Production Accountant’s Guide to Foreign Taxation

Answers to common questions about tax treaties, tax codes and how paying foreign taxes can impact US...
Master Series Thumbnail Square_UK Tax Relief

What Productions Need to Know about the UK Tax Relief

Learn about the recently announced reforms to the UK Tax Relief, including the credit increases and new...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-PGGB

The Production Guild of Great Britain Announces New Scotland Committee

Producer Brian Donovan ('His Dark Materials', 'The Rook') chairs the fifth of PGGB’s National & Regional...

The UK Government Announces Changes to Film and TV Tax Relief

A new audio-visual expenditure credit was introduced with a rate of 34% for film, high-end television...
INDUSTRY NEWS_Square_New VAT Penalty System

Avoiding Penalties Under HMRC’s New VAT System

Late penalties now apply if you submit your production’s value-added tax (VAT) returns after the deadline...
Topic: UK
Woman looking at working schedule on laptop

Types of Working Days in the UK HETV Industry – And What They Mean

Key types of working days to be aware of if you’re producing scripted TV in the UK.
Topic: UK

2023 California Pay Data Reporting Law Updates and Resources

California recently made significant revisions to the State's pay wage reporting requirements. Get to know...
Topic: Legal
INDUSTRY NEWS_SQUARE_uk flag_big ben

Update on UK Film and TV Tax Relief Consultation

A look at how the UK government aims to modernise existing tax reliefs to better serve film industry...
Topic: UK

UK Employment Law Changes Production Companies Should Be Aware Of

The UK government is considering a suite of legal changes which – if passed into law – will affect your...
Topic: UK
EP Blog_SQUARE_London Background Actors

London Productions: Key Things to Consider When Working with Background Actors

Is your production filming in or around London? Don't overlook the special rules that may apply to your...
Topic: UK
SB 1162-thumbnail-blue

SB 1162: California Pay Data Reporting Law FAQs

A look at California’s new expanded pay data reporting law and its impact on the entertainment industry.
Topic: Legal
Joe Francis-EP International-Lyndsay Duthie-PGGB-Alison Small-Netflix

UK Film and TV Industry Gathers at Inaugural PGGB Talent Showcase

More than 250 film and TV industry figureheads, newcomers, students, educators and skills bodies gathered...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-PGGB

Entertainment Partners and Netflix pledge £500K ($616K) to new PGGB Talent Development Fund

Entertainment Partners and Netflix have each pledged £250k ($308k) to form a new £500k ($616k) Production...

7 Things Production Finance Teams Need to Know for Budgeting in 2023

Mark Hammond, VP of International Finance & Ops, shares some of the key factors production finance teams...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-PGGB

6FT From The Spotlight Wins Inaugural Earl of Wessex Award at PGGB Talent Showcase

Film and TV industry charity 6ft From the Spotlight were awarded The Production Guild of Great Britain’s...

Entertainment Partners and Netflix Pledge £500K ($608K) to New PGGB Talent Development Fund

Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB) Talent Development Fund will support the development and...

New Union Agreement for Engaging Crew on UK HETV Takes Effect

Pact/Bectu 2023 agreement makes a number of key changes to the terms and conditions for engaging crew.
Topic: UK
Master Series square Thumbnail Pact Bectu Agreement

Understanding the New Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement 2023

Your comprehensive overview of the new Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement and how key changes will impact...
Topic: UK
Virtual Production

The UK Invests in Virtual Production as Content Boom Continues

The UK is doubling down on Virtual Production infrastructure; learn how and why they’re leading the charge...
Topic: UK
Doctor Strange

9 Hollywood Blockbusters Actually Filmed in the UK

Major US studios are taking advantage of what the UK has to offer, and clever set design and special...
Topic: UK

UK Production Incentives All Producers Should Know About

Don't miss out on the UK's tax incentives, special programs, and national and regional funding...

Behind the Boom: Why the UK is a Hotspot for Production

Explore the generous industry incentives, talent, and infrastructure available to productions filming in...
ICO Issues 4.4M Penalty

ICO Warns Against Complacency as it Hands Out £4.4M GDPR Penalty

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) imposes hefty penalty for failing to protect employee personal...

The Production Accountant’s Guide to Year-End Payroll

A step-by-step breakdown of how to navigate pitfalls and fix production payroll errors for a smooth year...

Becky Harshberger Host and Keynote Speaker at California Payroll Conference

Harshberger shares what’s new and what’s next in payroll as we head into 2023, and how to stay motivated...
UK Govt backtracks on growth plan

UK Government Backtracks on Growth Plan: What it Means for Production

Former UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng was replaced by Jeremy Hunt after 38-day run, and policies reversed in...
Topic: UK

Payroll & Finances

PayrollResidualsSmartStartNew SmartTimeProduction PortalEP On LocationSmartAccountingEP LiveSmartPOCASHétPayPaymaster Rate GuideEP Residency

Manage Multiple Productions

Subscribe now

Be an industry insider with EP's
newsletters and alerts

LegalPrivacy NoticeSecurity
© 2023 Entertainment Partners. All rights reserved.