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Information Pack For Employers 2019

Welcome to our 2019 information pack for employers.  This has been prepared in April 2019 for guidance purposes only and if you have any queries or are needing further information regarding the content please contact us.

Real Time Information

Real Time Information (RTI) became mandatory for most employers with effect from 6 April 2013. You still operate PAYE in the same way but you must submit the payroll information you keep to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on or before the day on which you pay your employees. You use a Full Payment Submission (FPS) to do this.

Your payroll software will generate the new reports you need and submit payroll information online. These include details of:

  • the amount you paid your employee(s)
  • deductions, such as Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs)
  • starter and leaver dates if applicable

You need to include the details of all employees you pay, including those who earn below the NICs Lower Earnings Limit (LEL), for example students. You no longer submit end-of-year forms P35 and P14 and the starter and leaver process is simplified. You continue to give your employee a form P45 (employee parts) when they leave but you no longer send forms P45 (part 1) or P46 to HMRC. Instead you must report all starter and leaver information via the RTI systems in your payroll software each time you pay someone.

If you do not comply fully with RTI then HMRC will charge penalties. Alternatively, we offer a monthly payroll processing service (dealing with all RTI submissions) from £28 plus VAT per month, we provide you with the payslips and the amount of PAYE/NI to pay each month. Please let us know if you would like to discuss this further.

As all payrolls are operated using the RTI system, the deadline for filing the end of year declaration is 19th April 2019.

Employment Allowance

The Employment Allowance which provides relief from paying employers NIC contributions has remained consistent since 6 April 2016 at £3,000. For many employers the benefit of the relief will be obtained in month 1 by reducing employers NIC payable, for others it could take several months before credit for the whole allowance is obtained on a cumulative basis.

From April 2016 incorporated companies are excluded from receiving the allowance where the only employee earning over the secondary threshold is a director. Incorporated companies with two or more directors earning over the secondary threshold or any number of employees earning over the secondary threshold are able to claim this allowance.

Employee Contracts

From April 2020, all staff members (both workers and employees) have the right to a basic written contract from day 1 of their employment. Information on checking the employment status of an employee can be found on HMRC’s website (https://www.gov.uk/employment-status ). We highly recommend that you provide written contracts to anyone who will be working for you from day 1, either employed or self-employed contractors, even before this law comes into effect.

Employee Details

It remains the Employer’s responsibility to ensure that all employee personal details are correctly recorded on an ongoing basis.   If it is discovered by HMRC that any employee detail is incorrect at any stage then penalties may be levied.

Checks for New Employees

Various documents need to be checked when employing new individuals.

Some people are automatically entitled to work in the UK. Others may have restrictions on how long they can stay, whether they can work or the type of work they can do.

It is a criminal offence to employ anyone who requires but does not have permission to work in the UK or to do the type of work that is being offered. The financial penalty is currently up to £20,000 per illegal worker (source: Gov.UK website).

There are a number of different documents that you can check to prove a new employee’s eligibility to work. Full details can be found by visiting the Gov.UK website (www.gov.uk).

From 28 January 2019, an employer will be able to rely solely on the online checks, provided the prospective employee can use the service. For employees who are non-EEA (European Economic Area) residents but have biometric residence permits or cards, and EEA nationals who have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, the online checks will be enough. No additional paper documents are needed. The employer needs to check that the online photograph matches the employee and should keep a copy of the online check for at least two years after employment ends. If the person is a student, the employer must also keep records of the course’s term and vacation dates.

EEA nationals who have not yet got settled status will still need to provide the appropriate documents to prove their right to work. It is also worth noting that short form birth/adoption certificates are acceptable from 28 January as well. This makes the position much easier for individuals who do not have passports.

You can also call the HMRC PAYE Helpline on 0300 200 3200 for assistance with right to work checks.

Self Employed Workers

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that PAYE and National Insurance is deducted from all payments made to employees. HMRC are actively reviewing the status of self employed workers and if they deem a relationship to be one of employment and not self employment they will be seeking to collect any unpaid PAYE and National Insurance from the employer. It is important that you tell us as soon as possible if you are regularly paying any person on a self employed basis in circumstances such that HMRC may consider their true status to be that of an employee. We are unable to check all individual payments at the time of preparing the accounts, therefore if you believe you may have made one or more payments of this nature, we recommend that you contact us immediately to discuss the details fully. For this purpose, you may ignore all payments to partnerships and limited companies as the PAYE/NI liability is the responsibility of the service provider under tax legislation.

Working Time Regulations

In general, an employee’s average working time must not exceed 48 hours for each seven day period unless the employee has agreed with an employer in writing that the limit should not apply (opt out agreement). Employers are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that workers do not exceed the 48 hour limit. Such steps might include enquiring whether a worker has a second job for which they have signed an opt out agreement.

There are special regulations for young workers, which restrict their working hours based on their age. Under 18’s are limited to a maximum working schedule of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.

Further details can be found on the ACAS website www.acas.org.uk and the HMRC website www.gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours.

Working Time

Employers must ensure that they take into consideration all time an employee spends on their duties when checking if an employee has worked more than 48 hours in a week, and also for ensuring employees are paid the minimum wage. HMRC have issued guidance on what constitutes working time which is available on their website (https://www.gov.uk/minimum-wage-different-types-work).

Generally, working time will consist of time spent:

  • at work and required to be working, or on standby near the workplace (not including rest breaks)
  • not working because of machine breakdown or lack of workload, but kept at the workplace
  • waiting to collect goods or meet someone for work or waiting to start a job
  • travelling in connection with work, including travelling from one work assignment or one workplace to another
  • training and travelling to and from training
  • at work and under certain work-related responsibilities even when workers are allowed to sleep (whether or not a place to sleep is provided)

Extra care and attention must be given when considering if an employee who sleeps whilst on shift is classed as working. Generally; workers who are expected to work for most of a sleep-in shift (i.e. are expected to be woken regularly) will be classed working for their entire shift even if they’re allowed to sleep between tasks. The whole shift will be classed as working hours and they will be eligible for minimum wage for the whole shift. Workers who are expected to sleep for most of a sleep-in shift will get the National Minimum Wage only when they are woken up to perform tasks, and only the time spent performing tasks will be classed as working time.

The Right to Request Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, eg having flexible start and finish times, or working from home.

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers.

Employees can apply for flexible working if they’ve worked continuously for the same employer for the last 26 weeks. It’s known as “making a statutory application”.

The basic steps are:

  • The employee writes to the employer.
  • The employer considers the request and makes a decision within 3 months – or longer if agreed with the employee.
  • If the employer agrees to the request, they must change the terms and conditions in the employee’s contract.
  • If the employer disagrees, they must write to the employee giving the business reasons for the refusal. The employee may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.

Employees can only make one application for flexible working a year.

Further information can be found on the ACAS website (www.acas.org.uk)

Child Employment

The youngest age a child can work part-time is 13, except for children involved in areas like television, theatre or modelling. Children can only start full time work once they have reached the minimum school leaving age.

School aged children aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage and children under 16 do not pay National Insurance.

More information on employing children and the various restrictions that apply can be found at www.gov.uk/child-employment.

National Living Wage

From 1 April 2019, the National Living Wage is £8.21 an hour for workers over 25 years and older. The minimum wage will apply for workers aged 24 and under.

National Minimum Wage

There are currently (effective from 1 April 2019) 3 rates of National Minimum Wage:

  • The main (adult) rate applies to workers aged 21 and over and is currently £7.70 per hour.
  • The development rate applies to 18 to 20-year-olds and is currently £6.15 per hour.
  • The 3rd rate applies to under 18’s (but above compulsory school age) and is currently £4.35 per hour.

In addition to the above there are also special rates for apprentices. The rate is £3.90 per hour and is applicable as follows:

  • apprentices under 19
  • apprentices aged 19 and over, but in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Tips, service charges, gratuities and cover charges cannot be used to make up national minimum wage pay, but may still be taxed. This means that eligible workers should receive at least the national minimum wage in basic pay with any tips being paid on top. Further details can be found at www.gov.uk.

Employees must receive minimum wage for their equivalent hourly rate for all time they are classed as working. This includes time spent on standby, waiting for work to arrive, work related travel time and also time such as security checks and certain sleep-in shifts. To check if they are receiving the correct minimum wage, employees should divide the pay they have received for time spent working by the total time they worked. This can be more difficult than it may seem as what qualifies as working time and pay for time spent working will vary depending on each employees’ circumstances. We are able to assist with these calculations, so please contact us if you have any queries.

Tips

Tips received by staff do not count towards national minimum wage. Staff who receive tips in any form must still be paid at least minimum wage for each hour of work they perform in addition to tips.

Tips may be provided to staff in several different ways, the most common which are; as cash, included in staff’s pay packet, or distributed by a troncmaster. Tax and National Insurance may be due, but it will vary depending on how the tips are paid to staff.

Cash tips paid directly to staff by customers will be subject to tax but not National Insurance. It is the staff’s responsibility to declare this income to HMRC via a self-assessment tax return. The employer does not need to make any deductions from these tips, but should keep track of how much each employee received for their records.

Tips that are paid to the employer to be passed directly to staff (for example, a tip included on a bill that was paid by card) will normally be paid to staff via their wages packets and will be subject to PAYE only.

If tips are paid to the employer, who then pools them together and distributes them to staff, they will be subject to both tax and National Insurance. The individual who deals with the payment of these pooled tips is called a troncmaster and it is their responsibility to ensure the tips are treated correctly for tax and National Insurance.

Service charges that have been included on bills and are paid to staff are treated slightly differently depending on if they are voluntary or compulsory. Voluntary service charges are considered tips, so their tax and National Insurance treatment will depend on the criteria above. Compulsory service charges are treated in the same way as wages, so are subject to all deductions which apply to regular wages (tax, National Insurance, student loan etc).

More information can be found on HMRC’s website (https://www.gov.uk/tips-at-work). There are no set rules on how employers explain tips to customers and staff, but HMRC advise employers follow their code of best practice to help avoid any queries. The code can also be found on HMRC’s website.

Wages Deductions

Deductions are often included when processing an employee’s payroll, but you must be careful that deductions do not take an employee’s pay below minimum wage. Only certain deductions are allowed to reduce an employee’s hourly rate below minimum wage. These deductions are:

  • Tax and national Insurance
  • Deductions that are the employee’s fault and the contract states are the employee’s liability (e.g. till shortfalls)
  • Repayments for loans, advances and accidental overpayments
  • Buying shares in the company
  • Employer provided accommodation
  • Deductions for the employee’s own use (e.g. union subscriptions, pension contributions, personal goods etc.)

The above deductions are the only deductions that can reduce an employee’s pay below minimum wage. It is a common misunderstand that goods required for an employee’s job (for example uniform or tools) or costs that are reclaimed from an employee per their contract (for example training costs or background checks) can reduce an employee’s pay below the minimum wage. This is not correct. If any deductions other than those in the list above would reduce an employee’s pay below minimum wage then you must only make deductions up to the point the employee is paid minimum wage. You may, therefore, be required to make deductions for several pay periods in order to reclaim the whole amount that is due to be deducted.

National Minimum Wage Enforcement

It’s a criminal offence for employers not to pay someone the National Minimum Wage or to falsify payment records.

Employers who discover they’ve paid a worker below the minimum wage must pay any arrears immediately.

HMRC officers have the right to carry out checks at any time and ask to see payment records. They can also investigate employers, following an employee’s complaint to them.

If HMRC finds that an employer hasn’t been paying the correct rates, any arrears have to be paid immediately. There will also be a penalty and offenders might be named by the government.

It’s the employer’s responsibility to keep records proving that they are paying the minimum wage – most employers use their payroll records as proof. All records have to be kept for 3 years however, we recommend at least 6 years.

With the introduction of the National Living Wage the penalty for non-payment will be 200% of the amount owed, unless the arrears are paid within 14 days.

The maximum fine for non-payment will be £20,000 per worker. However, employers who fail to pay may be banned from being a company director for up to 15 years.

Rights to a Payslip

From April 2019, all staff (Employees and Workers) must be provided with a payslip (either physically or digitally) that details gross pay, tax deductions, other deductions and net pay. Payslips must also include the number of hours worked where a staff’s pay has variable hours. Guidance on these changes can be found on HMRC’s website, and full details regarding all information that must be provided on payslips can be found in the Employment Rights Act 1996.

PAYE/NIC Late Payment Penalties

HMRC charge late payment penalties on all amounts that are not paid in full and on time.

HMRC will only send one warning letter the first time in the tax year they think your PAYE payment is late, although you may receive an online generic notification notice every time they think you are making payments late.

Late payment penalties will be charged in-year on a late payment. The penalties charged by HMRC will vary depending on the number of late payments that have been made in a tax year. Full details of the penalty rates can be found online at www.gov.uk.

HMRC will send you a penalty notice for each payment that is late. These penalty notices will show the amount of the penalty due as well as any interest charged.

You can appeal any late payment penalties issued by HMRC if you believe you have reasonable grounds for appeal. This can be done online or by letter. Full details of how to appeal penalties will be included on the penalty notice, and can be found online at www.gov.uk. The government website also includes examples of reasons that can be given as grounds for appeal.

Termination payments

From 6 April 2018, any element of a payment in lieu of notice (PILON) that is classed as “basic pay” (any payments an employee would have received had they worked their notice period, such as basic salary, commission and any benefits the employee would have received) will be subject to tax and class 1 NIC. Any unworked holiday due when an employee ceases employment is also subject to tax and NIC. Redundancy payments up to £30,000 are still not taxable earnings and are not subject to employees NIC at any level, but from 6 April 2019 redundancy payments over £30,000 will be subject to employers NIC.

Holiday pay

All employees are entitled to holiday pay from commencement of their employment on an accrued basis. Both the employer and employee have a responsibility to ensure that the entitlement is actually taken as holiday. It is only at the end of employment that an employee should usually receive payment as an alternative to taking holiday.

A full-time employee’s minimum paid annual leave entitlement is currently 5.6 weeks. There is no statutory time off for bank holidays and public holidays. However, you may choose to include these as part of the employee’s entitlement.

Further detailed advice can be found on the government services and information website www.gov.uk and follow the links “Employing People” and “Holiday entitlement”.

Holiday pay is a complicated area. Whilst HMRC state that “Workers are entitled to a week’s pay for each week of leave they take” there is still debate over what constitutes “a week’s pay”.

For an employee with fixed working hours, a week’s pay can be easily calculated. For employees who work shifts or irregular hours HMRC advise that “A week’s holiday pay is the average pay a worker receives over the previous 12 weeks (in which they were paid)”. From April 2020, HMRC are planning to increase the period used for calculating average wages from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. Further guidance will be provided by HMRC closer to this time.

Average working hours and pay can be easily calculated for employees who receive salaries or work at a fixed hourly rate. Additional complications arise where an employee receives payments such as commission, work related travel (outside of the normal working hours), bonuses and overtime. The treatment of these payments in holiday calculations is currently only based on case law and only applies to the 4 weeks holiday derived from the Working Time Directive and not the additional 1.6 weeks from UK regulations (i.e. bank holidays). All Commission and work-related travel should always be included in holiday pay calculations. Bonuses related to performance would most likely be classed as part of a normal weeks pay as they are intrinsically linked to tasks the employee is required to perform as part of their regular contracted work. Discretionary bonuses could be excluded depending on how they have arisen. If they are an award directly related to the employee’s contractual work, they should most likely be included. If they are not linked directly to an employee (for example an end of year bonus related to company performance) they could most likely be excluded. Standby and call out payments should also normally be included in holiday calculations as these are intrinsically liked to the contractual work of the employee. Tips and service charge should be included in holiday pay calculations only if they are paid through the payroll. Cash tips are often excluded as these are commonly paid directly to staff by customers so are not payments made by the employer.

Overtime will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis to check if it should be included in holiday calculations. There is not a great deal of guidance on this matter yet but in general, if an employee is obligated to work overtime by their employer or if overtime is worked on a regular basis it is likely that it should be included in holiday calculations.
HMRC have not yet offered definitive guidance regarding holiday pay, but more information regarding what constitutes “a week’s pay” can be found on the ACAS website (www.acas.org.uk).

National Insurance

Please note that where your business has paid for an item contracted for in the name of an employee, which is also a benefit in kind, such items may attract a National Insurance charge and are required to be included as part of the monthly or weekly salary when calculating NIC.

NIC for apprentices under 25

Employer NICs is 0% for apprentices under 25 who earn less than the upper secondary threshold (UST) which is £962 per week (£50,000 per annum) for 2019/20. Employers are liable to 13.8% NIC on pay above the UST. Employee NICs are payable as normal.

An apprentice needs to:

  • be working towards a government recognised apprenticeship in the UK which follows a government approved framework/standard
  • have a written agreement, giving the government recognised apprentice framework or standard, with a start and expected completion date.

Employers need to identify relevant apprentices and generally assign them NIC category letter H to ensure the correct NICs are collected.

Tax-Free Childcare

Under the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, which was launched in April 2017, eligible families get 20% of their annual childcare costs paid for by the Government.

The way it works is that for every 80p you pay into a newly-created Childcare Account, the Government will contribute 20p. This could mean up to £2,000 per child (the scheme assumes a maximum of £10,000 per year childcare costs per child. If you pay more, you won’t get more help).

Crucially, both parents need to be working in order to qualify.

If your employees receive Employer-Supported Childcare Vouchers (see below) then they may currently continue to do so. Please be aware that you can only be part of either the Tax-Free Childcare scheme or the Employer Supported Childcare voucher scheme, not both.

Employer Supported Childcare Vouchers

Employer Supported Childcare, often referred to as childcare vouchers, closed to new applicants in October 2018. Parents who wish to remain in Employer-Supported Childcare (rather than the replacement Tax-Free Childcare which was launched in April 2017) may continue to do so while their current employer continues to offer the voucher scheme. Please be aware that employees can only be part of either the Tax-Free Childcare scheme or the Employer Supported Childcare voucher scheme, not both.

The provision by employers of qualifying childcare is exempt from income tax and national insurance up to the following limits:

Where the employee joined the scheme before 6 April 2011:

  • £55 a week per employee

Where the employee joined the scheme on or after 6 April 2011:

  • £55 a week per week for a basic rate taxpayer
  • £28 a week per week for a higher rate taxpayer
  • £25 a week per week for an additional rate taxpayer

In many cases it is more beneficial for employees to be part of the Employer Supported Childcare Voucher scheme rather than the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, but please contact us if you have any queries regarding which scheme would be more beneficial.

Pensions – Automatic Enrolment

To encourage more people to save in pension schemes, the government has placed greater responsibility on employers to provide access to pension provision.

Up until 1 October 2012 there was no requirement for an employer to pay employer contributions into a scheme. There was also no requirement for the employee to enter an employer provided scheme.

Most employers were however obliged to designate a registered stakeholder scheme that employees could join. This obligation has been removed due to the advent of automatic enrolment (or auto enrolment).

We are able to setup an Auto Enrolment compliant pension scheme and deal will all aspects of enrolment, correspondence and contributions payments on your behalf if we process your payroll. Please contact us if you think this would be of interest.

What is Automatic Enrolment?

Automatic enrolment places new duties on employers to automatically enrol ‘workers’ into a work-based pension scheme. The main duties are:

  • assess the types of workers in the business
  • provide a qualifying automatic enrolment pension scheme for the relevant workers
  • write to most of their workers explaining what automatic enrolment into a workplace pension means for them
  • automatically enrol all ‘eligible jobholders’ into the scheme and pay employer contributions
  • complete the declaration of compliance and keep records.
Assessing the types of workers in the business?

Whether this is an easy or difficult task depends on the type of business. A business which uses the services of casual workers, very young or very old workers will need to spend some time in analysing its workforce. A business which only employs salaried staff will have an easier task.

A ‘worker’ is:

  • an employee or
  • a person who has a contract to provide work or services personally and is not undertaking the work as part of their own business.

The second category is defined in the same way as a ‘worker’ in employment law. Such people, although not employees, are entitled to core employment rights such as the National Minimum Wage. Individuals in this category include some agency workers and some short-term casual workers.

There are three categories of workers: eligible jobholders; non-eligible jobholders; and entitled workers.

An ‘eligible jobholder’ is a worker who is:

  • aged between 22 years and the State Pension Age
  • earning over the minimum earnings threshold (£10,000 for 2018/19 and 2019/20).
  • working or ordinarily working in the UK
  • not already in a qualifying pension scheme.

Most workers will be eligible jobholders unless the employer already has a qualifying pension scheme. These are the workers for which automatic enrolment will be required.

Other workers (non-eligible jobholders) may have the right to ‘opt in’ (i.e. join a scheme) and therefore to be treated as eligible jobholders. ‘Entitled workers’ are entitled to join the scheme but there is no requirement on the employer to make employer contributions in respect of these workers.

The categorisation of workers can be difficult in some circumstances. Please contact us if you are unsure of how to assess the types of workers you have.

Auto Enrolment Contribution Rates

For 2019/20, the minimum Auto Enrolment contribution rates will be increasing to their maximum of 3% employers and 5% employees, giving a total of 8% contribution (with an additional 2% tax relief available). The employer’s contribution and total contribution are minimums that must be met. If an employer chooses to pay a contribution of 6%, then the employee is only required to pay a contribution of 2% to meet the minimum total contribution of 8%. If an employee chooses to pay a 10% contribution, the employer must still pay their minimum 3%, even though the total contribution would be above the minimum total contribution at 13%.

We do not expect these minimum contribution rates to raise any further after April 2019, but HMRC have said they may review the contribution rates in the future.

What is a qualifying automatic enrolment pension scheme?

Employers are able to comply with their new obligations by using an existing qualifying pension scheme, setting up a new scheme or using the government low cost scheme – the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

It is important that the pension scheme chosen will deliver good outcomes for the employee’s retirement savings. This may mean that an existing employer’s scheme may not be appropriate as it may have been designed for the needs of higher paid and more senior employees.

To be a qualifying automatic enrolment scheme, a scheme must meet the qualifying criteria and the automatic enrolment criteria.

The main part of the qualifying criteria requires the pension scheme to meet certain minimum standards, which differ according to the type of pension scheme. Most employers will want to offer a defined contribution pension scheme. The minimum requirements for such schemes are a minimum total contribution based on qualifying earnings, of which a specified amount must come from the employer.

To be an automatic enrolment scheme, the scheme must not contain any provisions that:

  • prevent the employer from making the required arrangements to automatically enrol, opt in or re-enrol a ‘jobholder’
  • require the jobholder to express a choice in relation to any matter, or to provide any information, in order to remain an active member of the pension scheme.

The second point above means, for example, that the pension scheme must have a default fund into which the pension contributions attributable to the jobholder will be invested. The jobholder should however have a choice of other funds if they want.

We may be able to advise you on an appropriate route to take. Please contact us.

Workplace Pension Schemes - Staging dates

For all PAYE schemes that have been set up after 1 October 2017, Auto Enrolment duties begin as soon as their first employee starts work. You must begin assessing and enrolling employees from this point onwards.

If your PAYE scheme was set up before this date, then you should already be assessing employees. If you are not currently assessing your employees for Auto Enrolment or have any queries regarding your duties as an employer, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Forms P11D, Annual Return of Expense Payments and Benefits

You must complete forms P11D for ALL Employees in receipt of expense payments and benefits. There are substantial penalties which HMRC may impose for the late submission or incorrect completion of these forms.

For your assistance, we list below some points which should be considered when completing the forms: –

  • Completed forms should reach HMRC by 6 July 2019.
  • A form P11D is required for all directors and employees in respect of all expense payments to, and benefits provided.
  • P11D information should be provided to all employees by 6 July 2019 who were in your employment at 5 April 2019.
  • Expense payments not covered by the exemption mentioned below.
  • Details of all benefits in kind provided for the employee or his/her family need to be entered on the P11D form. Where there is doubt as to whether something which has been given to an employee qualifies as a benefit in kind, full details should be returned to HMRC.
  • The liability to pay Class 1A NI has been extended to most benefits in kind and the liability should be calculated using the form P11D and P11D(b).
  • Failure to make the return by the filing date or submitting an incorrect return may attract an initial penalty of up to £300 plus a maximum of £60 per form per day.

There is a statutory exemption for certain business expenses and benefits such as;

  • business travel and subsistence
  • phone bills
  • business entertainment expenses
  • Uniform and tools for work

To qualify for the exemption you must either be reimbursing the employee the actual cost or paying a flat rate to your employee at either the benchmark rate or a special rate approved by HMRC (for more information, please see travel and subsistence scale rate payments).

Employers may include taxable benefits in pay and thus account for PAYE on the benefits. However, in order to payroll benefits, employers will need to register with HMRC for the service before the start of the tax year. Employers will then not have to include these payrolled benefits on forms P11D. Please contact us if you require further information.

If you would like us to complete the forms P11D on your behalf, will you please ask us to supply you with our standard questionnaire for each individual employee and return these to us by 15 May 2019. Alternatively, if you would prefer for a member of our staff to visit you to complete our questionnaire and gather the necessary information please give us a call.

This is a fixed fee service. The fee for the 2018/2019 returns will be £95 plus VAT per form P11D and P9D, and £175 plus VAT per P11D(b).

Class 1A National Insurance Contributions

The liability to pay Class 1A NI applies to most benefits in kind and the liability should be included on the form P11D(b). The completed return should reach HMRC by 6 July 2019.

Contributions due in respect of the benefits arising in the year ended 5 April 2019 must be paid by 19 July 2019. A payslip specifically for Class 1A National Insurance Contributions will be issued by HMRC in mid-April 2019.

If Class 1A NI contributions are paid late, or either you or HMRC discover an underpayment, interest will be charged on the amount outstanding.

Failing to submit the form P11D(b) by 19 July 2019 attracts an automatic penalty at the rate of £100 for every 50 employees or subcontractors who are provided with benefits, for each month or part month that the return is submitted late. Where you have less than 50 employees or subcontractors who are provided with benefits a minimum of £100 per month will apply. If the failure continues beyond 12 months there is an additional penalty, not exceeding the amount of Class 1A NICs unpaid at the filing date.

An incorrect return made negligently may attract a penalty of 100% of the underpaid NIC.

If we are completing the forms P11D on your behalf we will advise you of the Class 1A National Insurance Contributions payable.

Maintaining Expense Records

It is important that you maintain records for the current tax year in respect of all benefits paid to employees and directors. We strongly recommend that you keep a record of benefits paid to individuals during the course of the current tax year. This will assist you in ensuring that there are no omissions and the information provided to HMRC is therefore correct. In the normal course of preparing the business accounts we cannot and do not look at every single invoice and every single payment which has been made during the year as this would result in excessive costs. If at any time you are uncertain as to whether a payment constitutes a benefit, please contact us at that time to clarify the situation. We enclose for your assistance our standard “Individual Employee Record” which you may photocopy and use for the purpose of recording all benefits. We also enclose a copy of our “Expense Sheet” which you may also copy and amend as appropriate.

We have also enclosed a “Travel Log” which we strongly recommend is maintained in respect of all vehicles used for business purposes to support the business mileage claim. Failure to keep a log of the mileage will restrict claims for business mileage and this will result in higher assessments for taxation purposes.

Trivial Benefits

As part of the government’s package to simplify the rules for taxing and charging national insurance contributions (NIC) on employer-provided benefits-in-kind (BIK) and expenses, there is a statutory exemption from income tax and NIC for low value BIK which meet certain qualifying conditions including a £50 limit for each BIK.

For directors or other office holders of close companies and members of their families or households, such trivial BIK will be subject to an overall annual cap of £300.

However, there are three conditions:

  1. The benefit cannot be a cash payment or cash voucher (this does not impact the use of non-cash vouchers and credit tokens, ie those that can only be exchanged for goods and services).
  2. The employer must bear the cost, so this exemption cannot be used with salary exchange arrangements.
  3. The benefit cannot be given to the employee in recognition of particular services they have or will perform or as part of a contractual arrangement.
Mobile Phones

One mobile phone may be provided to an employee without a charge to tax arising for private calls provided that the mobile phone contract is in the name of the employer. If an employer pays the employees private mobile phone tax and national insurance contributions may be due.

Company Assets

If company assets are used by a director/ employee a benefit in kind normally arises. Assets used solely for business purposes do not give rise to a benefit in kind.

Employer Provided Internet Access

Where an employer provides internet access at the employee’s home solely for work purposes, or where it is not possible to break down the cost of the provision of the internet access between work and private use and where any private use is not significant and does not affect the cost of the internet access package, then no benefit in kind arises.

Employee Provided Internet Access

Where an employee subscribes for his own internet access at home and the employer reimburses the cost to the employee, any such reimbursements are taxable as expenses payments and give rise to a P11D reportable benefit. However, if the employee can show that all of the internet costs related to use wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of his duties, then he may be entitled to make an expense claim on his tax return. Where there is mixed business and private use then the full value of the reimbursement to the employee will be a reportable benefit in kind.

Forms P46(CAR)

Form P46(CAR) must be completed when an employer provides an employee with a car for the first time, when such a provision ceases or when the number of cars available changes. It is no longer possible for a form P46(CAR) to be completed when an employee’s car is replaced. Whilst this does remove the burden of completing the form in this particular circumstance, this may lead to underpaid or overpaid tax liabilities arising as the employee’s PAYE code will not be updated to reflect any change in car benefit. Where a form P46(CAR) is required, this must be submitted to HMRC within 28 days after the end of each Income Tax quarter. Failure to do so can incur penalties. Please contact us to discuss this if you have any queries or concerns.

HM Revenue & Customs Authorised Mileage Rates

The HMRC Authorised Mileage Rates which may be paid to an employee for business miles travelled in their own car without a taxable benefit arising are included on the “Individual Employee Record”. Please note that there is a single, statutory, tax-free rate for cars and vans of 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p per mile thereafter, irrespective of engine size. In addition, the employer may also pay the employee up to 5p per mile tax free for each additional employee carried on the same business journey.

Travel and Subsistence

When working away on business directors and employees may be entitled to claim the cost of reasonable accommodation, travel and subsistence from the company. A director or employee may claim the cost of an evening meal including a drink with the meal. However, if additional drinks are purchased a Class 1 National Insurance liability arises together with a benefit in kind unless the amount spent together with other incidental items falls within the £5 per night (£10 outside the UK) exemption.

Travel and Subsistence Scale Rate Payments

Rather than pay or reimburse to employees travel and subsistence costs incurred, you may pay your employees a set amount to cover some common business expenses like travel and meals, these are known as ‘scale rate payments’.

As long as your employee has actually spent the scale rate payment on business expenses, you will not need to check every single receipt – it’s fine to just check a sample.

Up until 5 April 2019, employers using the benchmark scale rates to pay or reimburse their employees must have an appropriate checking system in place to ensure that payments are only made where sufficient expenditure has been incurred.

From 6 April 2019, employers will no longer be required to operate a system for checking an employee’s expenditure in order to make payments using benchmark scale rates. Instead, employers will only be required to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying travel on occasions in respect of which a payment is made.

HM Revenue and Customs have provided the following benchmark scale rates for subsistence costs. If you wish to pay higher scale rates, they must be agreed with HMRC.

Minimum journey time Maximum amount of meal allowance
5 hours £5
10 hours £10
15 hours (and ongoing at 8pm) £25

Where a scale rate of £5 or £10 is paid and the qualifying journey in respect of which it is paid lasts beyond 8pm a supplementary rate of £10 can be paid to cover the additional expenses necessarily incurred as a result of working late.

Benchmark scale rates must only be used where all the qualifying conditions are met. The qualifying conditions are:

  • the travel must be in the performance of an employee’s duties or to a temporary place of work, on a journey that is not substantially ordinary commuting.
  • the employee should be absent from his normal place of work or home for a continuous period in excess of five hours or ten hours.
  • the employee should have incurred a cost on a meal (food and drink) after starting the journey and retained appropriate evidence of their expenditure.
Van Benefits

Vans provided to employees with unrestricted private use result in a benefit in kind charge for 2019/20 of £3,430 (£3,350 for 2018/19) plus an additional £655 (£633 for 2018/19) if an employer provides fuel for private use.

However, if private use of a company van is restricted to home to work travel the employee will not incur a van benefit. It should also be noted that any ‘insignificant private use’ would also not give rise to a benefit in kind. Guidance from HMRC as to what constitutes insignificant private use, includes using the van to take rubbish to the tip once or twice a year, calling at the dentist on the way home, regularly making a slight detour to drop a child off at school or stopping at the newsagent on the way to work. This differs to private use of company cars, where any private use including home to work travel will result in a car benefit.

Examples of what constitutes significant private use would include regular use of the van to do the supermarket shopping, taking the van away on a week’s holiday or using the van outside of work for social activities.

HMRC may require an employer to prove that the private use has been restricted. This may include keeping sufficient records to show that private use is restricted to home to work travel, for instance mileage logs, which could be used to substantiate any claim. This may also include making the condition clear in employment contracts or asking employees to sign a statement acknowledging company policy on what use is allowed and any disciplinary consequences.

Double Cab Pick-ups

When deciding whether double cab pick-ups count as cars or vans, HM Revenue & Customs currently interpret the legislation which defines ‘car’ and ‘van’ for tax purposes in line with the definitions used by HMRC for VAT purposes.

Dual purpose vehicles such as some ‘double cab’ pick-ups which can legally carry a payload of 1 tonne or more are currently treated as vans under current benefit in kind legislation.

Please note that some dual-purpose vehicles carry a payload of less than 1 tonne and will remain cars.

A hard-top consisting of metal, fibreglass or similar material, with or without windows is accorded a generic weight of 45kg. Therefore, the addition of a hard top to a double cab with an ex-works payload of 1010kg will convert the vehicle into a car (payload reduced to 965kg).

VAT Implications

As with all purchases where there is a private use element, only the business proportion of the input VAT should be reclaimed.

Company Cars

The current regime for taxing employer provided cars (commonly referred to as company cars) is intended:

  • To encourage manufacturers to produce cars which are more environmentally friendly and
  • To give employee drivers and their employers a tax incentive to choose more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles

We set out below the main areas of importance. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information.

The Rules

Employer provided cars are taxed by reference to the list price of the car but graduated according to the level of its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. From 2020/21, there will be lower rates for electric and hybrid cars to encourage employees and employers to opt for environmentally friendly vehicles.

Percentage charges

The percentage charge for the majority of cars is between 19% and 37%. The emissions table for 2019/20 is set out below.

CO2 emissions in grams per km % of car’s price taxed
50 or below 16
51-75 19
76-94 22
95-99 23
Over 99 add 1% for every 5g
165 and above 37 (max)
Examples

Jane was provided with a new company car, a Mercedes CLK 430, on 6 April 2018. The list price is £50,000. The CO2 emissions are 240 gm/km.

Jane’s benefit in 2019/20 will be £50,000 x 37% = £18,500.

Phil has a company car, a BMW 318i, which had a list price of £21,000 when it was provided new on 6 April 2018. The CO2 emissions are 117 grams per kilometre. Note: The CO2 emissions are rounded down to the nearest 5 grams per kilometre – in this case 115.

Phil’s benefit for 2019/20 is: £21,000 x 27% = £5,670.

Diesels

Diesel cars emit less CO2 than petrol cars and so would be taxed on a lower percentage of the list price than an equivalent petrol car. However, diesel cars emit greater quantities of air pollutants than petrol cars and therefore an additional diesel supplement of 4% of the list price generally applies to the calculations for diesel cars unless the car is registered on or after 1 September 2017 and meets the Euro 6D emissions standard.

For example, a diesel car that would give rise to a 22% charge on the basis of its CO2 emissions will instead be charged at 26%. The maximum charge for diesel cars is capped at 37%. This example is based on the diesel car not meeting the Real Driving Emissions Step 2 (RDE2) standards.

Obtaining emissions data

The Vehicle Certification Agency produces a free guide to the fuel consumption and emissions figures of all new cars. It is available on the internet at www.carfueldata.direct.gov.uk. These figures are not however necessarily the definitive figures for a particular car. The definitive CO2 emissions figure is recorded on the Vehicle Registration Document (V5).

The List Price

The list price of a car is the price when it was first registered including delivery, VAT and any accessories provided with the car. Accessories subsequently made available are also included (unless they have a list price of less than £100).

Employee capital contributions up to £5,000 reduce the list price.

Employer’s Class 1A National Insurance Contributions

The benefit chargeable to tax on the employee is also used to compute the employer’s liability to Class 1A (the rate is currently 13.8%).

The Exceptions

Imported Cars

Some cars registered after 1 January 1998 may have no approved CO2 emissions figure, perhaps if they were imported from outside the EC. They are taxed according to engine size.

Engine size (cc) % of list price charged to tax 2019/20
0 – 1,400 23%
1,400-2,000 34%
Over 2,000 37%
Rotary engines 37%
Private Fuel

There is a further tax charge where a company car user is supplied with or allowed to claim reimbursements for fuel for private journeys.

The fuel scale charge is based on the same percentage used to calculate the car benefit. This is applied to a set figure which is £24,100 for 2018/19 (£23,400 for 2018/19). As with the car benefit, the fuel benefit chargeable to tax on the employee is used to compute the employer’s liability to Class 1A. The combined effect of the charges makes the provision of free fuel a tax inefficient means of remuneration unless there is high private mileage.

The benefit is proportionally reduced if private fuel is not provided for part of the year. Taking action now to stop providing free fuel will have an immediate impact on the fuel benefit chargeable to tax and NIC.

Please note that if free fuel is provided later in the same tax year there will be a full year’s charge.

The car fuel benefit charge does not apply to electric charging as HMRC does not class electricity as a road fuel. An employee can charge their personal electric car at work with no tax charge even though they will use it for personal mileage. If an employee uses an electric company car, no tax charge arises on private mileage even if it is charged at work.

Business Fuel

No charge applies where the employee is solely reimbursed for fuel used for business travel.

HMRC have published guidelines on fuel only mileage rates for employer provided cars. The advisory rates are not binding if you are able to prove that the actual cost of fuel is higher, perhaps where employees need to use particular types of car such as 4x4s to cover rough terrain. Employers can adopt the rates in the following table but may pay lower rates if they choose.

These rates are reviewed four times a year and published on the HMRC website at www.gov.uk/government/publications/advisory-fuel-rates.

Rates from 1 March 2019

Engine Size Petrol
1,400cc or less 11 pence
1,401cc to 2,000cc 14 pence
Over 2,000cc 21 pence
Engine Size LPG
1,400cc or less 7 pence
1,401cc to 2,000cc 8 pence
Over 2,000cc 21 pence
Engine Size Diesel
1,600cc or less 10 pence
1,601cc to 2,000cc 11 pence
Over 2,000cc 13 pence
Employee’s Use Of Own Car

There is also a statutory system of tax and NIC free mileage rates for business journeys in employees’ own vehicles.

The statutory rates are:

Rate per mile
Up to 10,000 miles 45p
Over 10,000 miles 25p

Employers can pay up to the statutory amount without generating a tax or NIC charge. Payments made by employers are referred to as ‘mileage allowance payments’. Where employers pay less than the statutory rate (or make no payments at all) employees can claim tax relief on the difference between any payment received and the statutory rate.

How We Can Help

We can provide advice on such matters as:

  • Whether a car should be provided to an employee or a private car used for business mileage.
  • Whether employee contributions are tax efficient
  • Whether private fuel should be supplied with the car.

Please contact us for detailed advice.