As someone who used to fill in the monthly deduction sheets for our good friends at the Revenue, I know that doing the payroll is one of the less appealing chores in a small business. What's worse, the days of net pay being gross pay less tax and National Insurance are long gone.
Pay as you earn (PAYE) applies to statutory sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and various other benefits that employees receive. PAYE is also used to deduct student loan repayments and to pay working tax credit. Simple it ain't.

That's why this kind of software is so attractive to little firms. Most high-end packages integrate payroll facilities into their main accounts, but standalone packages like this one will suit small businesses down to the ground.

This is the entry-level version, supporting up to 15 staff; if you have 16-50 employees, you'll need the £189 edition. TAS Books Payroll's closest rival, Sage Instant Payroll, supports only 10 employees, but costs just £99.

Setting up means inputting loads of information, but it's a one-time job and the wizards help out. In common with its rivals, TAS Books Payroll lets you file your P14/P35 year-end returns online - and get £825 from the taxman for your trouble. But unlike Sage's package, this is an extra-cost option for the 15- and 50- employee versions of Payroll. It's the same story if you want to use BACS.

You get copious printed documentation, but I found the practice of referring to an option by
a three-digit number confusing, as the manual doesn't tell you that this code refers to numbered menus.

TAS Books Payroll: Specs

  • 400MHz CPU
  • Windows98/NT4 (SP6A)/Me/2000/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • SVGA or higher res
  • 200MB hard disk space
  • 400MHz CPU
  • Windows98/NT4 (SP6A)/Me/2000/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • SVGA or higher res
  • 200MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

Setup can be daunting but the payoff is swift, letting you generate weekly, fortnightly, four-weekly and monthly payroll runs. It'll also output P14, 60, 11, 32, 35 and 45 forms, you can submit returns online and staff can be paid electronically.

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