The Rising Tide of Auto Enrolment

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Over the course of the next two years Auto Enrolment Pension contribution rates are rising. These changes will affect you as an employer as well as your employees.

Currently the total minimum amount is 2% of qualifying earnings, of which the minimum for the employer to pay is 1%. This means that the employee normally also pays 1%.

From 5 April 2018, these rates will increase. The new total minimum will be 5%, with the minimum employer contribution rising to 2%. From 5 April 2019, they will rise again to 8% and 3% respectively.

Of course, both the employee and the employer can chose to pay more into the scheme should they wish. For instance, if an employer wishes to contribute to his employees’ pension the whole 2% currently prescribed, the employee would not need to add anything, as the minimum amount has been reached.

If you are staging soon, or have perhaps passed your staging date, and would like any help don’t leave it too late! Our dedicated payroll team will be happy to help ease the burden.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Some Employee Perks Are Being Lost and It Could Be Costly

Green & Co

Green & Co feature in the South Wales Argus discussing the tax changes for employee perks.

The new tax year has seen a raft of changes, with more legislative reform scheduled to come into effect over the next few years.

From changes in dividends, stamp duty, and national insurance (with a U-turn thrown in for good measure) the way that people are taxed is an ever-evolving landscape. However, it’s not just directors, landlords and the self-employed who have been targeted with new legislation.

Barrie Kenyon, partner at Green & Co Accountants and Tax Advisors said: “From 6th April, the tax and employer national insurance advantages of a salary sacrifice or salary exchange scheme was removed. This means that any employees who have swapped their salary for benefits, which typically include additional holiday days, will now pay the same tax as if they were buying them out of their post-tax income. The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced the changes in the autumn statement believing the previous schemes were unfair. From earlier this month, they have started to come into effect.

“However, these changes do not affect those employees who have reduced their salary for pension contributions, childcare purposes such as vouchers, workplace nurseries or directly contracted childcare, the cycle to work scheme and ultra-low emission company cars with co2 emissions of or less than 75g/km.

“The schemes were seen as attractive to both employees and employers, with reduced tax liabilities benefiting both parties.”

Mr Kenyon stressed that there were some caveats that accompany the changes: “If any arrangements which were in place before April 2017 relate to cars with co2 emissions over 75g/km, accommodation or school fees: these arrangements will be protected until April 2021. Also, other arrangements agreed prior to April 2017 that do not fall into the aforementioned categories will be protected until the end of the current tax year in April 2018.”

It is estimated that millions of workers from across the UK will pay more tax due to these changes, with the Treasury believing that these schemes are costing too much in lost tax receipts and national insurance contributions. It is estimated that the reform will cost employers in the UK around £85M this tax year, whilst increasing another £260M by April 2021 when the full changes will come into effect.

If you are worried about any of these forthcoming changes, please contact us at Green & Co for further help and guidance.

Green & Co Accountants and Tax Advisors specialise in business growth and tax minimisation for businesses across Wales and the South West of England.

For proactive advice, contact Green & Co Accountants and Tax Advisors on 01633 871 122, follow @Green_and_Co on Twitter or email barrie@greenandco.com.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

VAT Fuel Scale Charge

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To make accounting for private use of fuel simpler, you can choose to apply the VAT fuel scale charge. This scale charge adds back a fixed sum each VAT period to account for the private use of fuel, making redundant any need to split the mileage between business and private use.

The scale charge for any given vehicle is based upon its CO2 emissions. HMRC update the scale charge table every May, and this years can be found here.

Scale charges only apply to those cars where there is allowed private usage, and when you start using the scale charge, you must use it on all your company’s cars for which there is private use.

Those using the scale charges, should be sure to keep a record of:

  • Number of cars which it is applied to
  • CO2 band of each car (or cylinder capacity if the car is too old for an emissions figure)
  • Details of when cars have been bought and/or sold.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

 

Barrie Kenyon Features In This Weeks South Wales Argus

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Barrie Kenyon of Green & Co features in this weeks South Wales Argus discussing how some changes in the new tax year will effect employees as well as employers.

The new tax year has seen a raft of changes, with more legislative reform scheduled to come into effect over the next few years.

From changes in dividends, stamp duty, and national insurance (with a U-turn thrown in for good measure) the way that people are taxed is an ever-evolving landscape. However, it’s not just directors, landlords and the self-employed who have been targeted with new legislation.

To read the whole article, please click here.

Some employee perks are losing their tax breaks.

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From 6 April 2017 the tax and employer national insurance advantages of a salary sacrifice or salary exchange will be removed, with the exception of:

  • Pensions
  • Childcare (Vouchers, workplace nurseries or directly contracted childcare)
  • Cycle to work
  • Ultra-low emission cars with co2 emissions of or less than 75g/km.

Any employees who have swapped their salary for benefits, for example, additional holiday days, will now pay the same tax as if they were buying them out of their post-tax income.

If any arrangements which were in place before April 2017 relate to cars with co2 emissions over 75g/km, accommodation or school fees, they will be protected until April 2021. All other arrangements (arranged before April 2017) that are not detailed above will be protected until April 2018.

If you are worried about any of these forthcoming changes, please contact us at Green & Co for further help and guidance.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

 

National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

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As announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement, the rate of the National Living Wage is set to increase to £7.50 per hour from April 2017.

In line with this, the government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission for the National Minimum Wage and from April 2017 the new rates will be as follows:

£7.05 per hour for 21-24 year olds
£5.60 per hour for 18-20 year olds
£4.05 per hour for 16-17 year olds
£3.50 per hour for apprentices (under 19 or 19 and over and in the first year of their apprenticeship)

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage are legal requirements. If H M Revenue and Customs (HMRC) find that an employer has not paid the correct minimum wage, they can send a notice for the arrears as well as a penalty.

If you are unsure what you should be paying, please consult a specialist. Green & Co run a dedicated payroll department that can organise this for you. If you would like more information, please contact us on 01633 871122.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

 

 

2017 Budget Review

Following on from the Chancellor’s first and last Spring Budget, we are pleased to provide you with our summary of the key announcements, along with our tax tables for the 2017/18 tax year:

Budget Summary

Tax Data
The main changes include:

  • The tax-free dividend allowance will be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.
  • Class 4 national insurance contributions for self-employed workers will increase to 10% in April 2018 and rise again, to 11%, from April 2019.
  • Unincorporated businesses and landlords with a turnover below the VAT threshold will have until April 2019 before they are required to implement ‘Making Tax Digital’.

Among the key changes to note for this year are:

  • The Chancellor confirmed that corporation tax will be cut to a rate of 19% from April 2017 and it will be further reduced to 17% in 2020.
  • The personal allowance will rise to £11,500 in April 2017 and to £12,500 by 2020 and the higher rate income threshold will rise to £45,000, although special rules will apply in Scotland.
  • Individual landlords’ tax relief for finance costs will be restricted to basic rate tax – to be phased in over four years from April 2017.

More information on the Budget is available on our website or if you would like to speak to one of our team please contact us.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

‘Tis The Season Of Giving – Some Christmas Cheer From The VAT Man

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Here we are again – can ‘yule’ believe it’s that time of year when businesses like to ‘present’ their staff with a reward for all their hard work? Did you know that certain gifts can be tax efficient? The VAT man won’t entirely ‘reindeer’ on your parade.

First off, we have employee gifts. It doesn’t have to be ‘deer’, in fact as long as the value of gifts given to each employee doesn’t exceed £50 (exclusive of VAT) within a 12 month period, then you don’t have to declare output tax. If however, you’re feeling overly generous, and exceed the £50 limit, then you have to declare output VAT on the total amount of those gifts. He’s not a total Grinch though, you will be entitled to reclaim input VAT on the purchase cost. The £50 limit does not include administrative expenses, e.g. postage and packaging, and the offering must meet the gift criteria in order to qualify.

Then we have the Christmas parties. If you decide to ‘wrap’ up 2016 with a Christmas party for employees, you can reclaim VAT on all the costs. If guests are invited along too (since Christmas is a family affair) then you must apportion the VAT reclaimed to reflect this.

And that’s a Christmas Wrap, we hope you have a Happy Holly Day, from all at Green & Co.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Update on Tax Free Childcare

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Further detail has been released on the new tax free childcare scheme that HMRC are set to debut in early 2017.

Under the scheme eligible parents open an online account, which they can use to pay a registered childcare provider. HMRC top up the account with £2 for every £8 paid in, up to a limit of £2,000 per child per year, or £4,000 for disabled children.

Parents will have to be in work to qualify with each earning around £115 a week. However, they will be ineligible if they earn in excess of £100,000 a year.

Parents who are enrolled in an employer operated childcare voucher scheme can continue in that scheme or switch to the new scheme. They are advised to consider which scheme is more beneficial to them before making a decision. Childcare voucher schemes will be open to new entrants until April 2018.

If you’d like to discuss this further please contact Green & Co.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Named and Shamed: The Importance of the Minimum Wage

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With last Saturday marking the beginning of the new National Minimum Wage, it has never been so important for employers to ensure they are paying their employees the correct wages.

Last month, HMRC continued its Name and Shame scheme by publishing a further 197 companies who owed a collective £465,000 in arrears. Since the Name and Shame scheme was introduced in October 2013, 687 business have been named who owed an overall £3.5million to employees.

It is an employer’s responsibility to be aware of the minimum wage rates and to ensure that all their employees are paid accordingly. Employers who pay less than the minimum wage, not only have to pay back the arrears, but also face penalties of up to £20,000 per worker, and in extreme cases can be prosecuted.

From 1st October the Minimum Wage Rates are:

£7.20 per hour – 25 yrs and over

£6.95 per hour – 21 to 24 yrs

£5.55 per hour – 18 to 20 yrs

£4.00 per hour – 16 to 17 yrs

£3.40 per hour – apprentices under 19 yrs

£3.40 per hour – apprentices over 19 yrs and in the first year

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.