Fine for brewery is stark warning to non-compliant businesses - 6th August 2018

One of the most important words in the world of accountancy and payroll - if not THE key word – is compliance.

Which is why we get so frustrated when we hear about people who have failed to deal with threats of non-compliance fines from the Pensions Regulator.

If companies ignore these threats or respond too late, the consequences could be damaging.

The team at our sister company Three Counties Payroll dread turning the pages of pub industry journal The Morning Advertiser as they’ve sensed a case like the recent one involving North Yorkshire-based Samuel Smith Brewery was imminent.

Founded over 250 years ago, the company had caught the Pensions Regulator’s attention after missing a deadline at the start of 2018. It was supposed to provide information about its ability to financially support its pensions schemes by January 26 but failed.

Both the brewery, which manages around 200 pubs nationwide, and its owner pleaded guilty to neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse, under the Pensions Act 2004.

Samuel Smith Brewery did provide the appropriate information but not until the deadline had passed when criminal proceedings were under way. The result? The brewery was fined £18,750 and its chairman Humphrey Smith £8,000 at Brighton Magistrates Court.

The warning from the Pensions Regulator is clear: Companies who ignore notices asking for information should expect a criminal prosecution to be launched against them. Becoming compliant after a court summons has been issued will not halt proceedings.

These fines – and a criminal conviction – could easily have been avoided by providing the necessary information.

Our experienced accountancy and payroll teams can help you stay compliant. Keep on the right side of the law by contacting us on 01902 622202.

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