In Finishing Touches Cheltenham Ltd v The Pensions Regulator , the First-tier Tribunal upheld the Regulator’s fixed penalty notice issued following an employer’s failure to declare compliance with its auto-enrolment duties.
After reaching its staging date on April 6, 2022, the employer had been due to submit its first declaration of compliance by September 5, 2022, but missed the deadline. On September 14, 2022, the Regulator issued a compliance notice, followed by a fixed penalty notice of £400 on November 9, 2022.
The employer appealed on the grounds that it had delegated its obligations to comply with the auto-enrolment requirements to an accountant. The tribunal rejected the appeal, finding that this did not relieve the employer of its auto-enrolment duties. Ultimately, the requirement to meet the employer’s pensions obligations was its own responsibility. However, the tribunal did accept that if the accountant had failed to adhere to its terms of engagement or to comply with its professional obligations, the employer could have a remedy against the accountant.