Business Accountant

Home » Employees (Page 2)

Category Archives: Employees

Do you use the Employment Status Tool?

Determining whether a worker is Employed or Self Employed isn’t always easy.

HMRC updated and improved their tool in April 2015.

The Employment Status Indicator (ESI) tool enables you to check the employment status of an individual or group of workers – that is whether they are employed or self-employed for tax, National Insurance contributions (NICs) or VAT purposes.

The ESI tool is essential for anyone who takes on workers, such as employers and contractors. (The tool refers to anyone in this position as an engager.) Individual workers can also use the tool to check their own employment status.

The tool cannot, however, be used to check the employment status of certain workers:

  1. company directors or other individuals who hold office
  2. agency workers
  3. anyone providing services through an intermediary (sometimes referred to as IR35 arrangements)

The ESI tool is completely anonymous, so no personal details about the worker or engager are requested.

Click here to use the HMRC Tool

steve@bicknells.net

R&D – impact on director remuneration

It’s generally more tax efficient for a director shareholder to extract the majority of profit from a company as dividends rather than salary. But what if the company is undertaking R&D? Is this still the optimum remuneration strategy?

Example

You are the sole director in a company that undertakes some R&D.  The annual profit is estimated at £140,000 for the year ended 31 March 2016 before taking into account the director’s remuneration.

You might think that the most tax-efficient remuneration package is £10,600 for 2015/16 to cover the personal allowance and then net dividends of £28,606 to take the director up to the basic rate band. You also need to consider whether the company can make an R&D relief claim and, if it can, how this might affect your decision.

Salary vs Dividends

If the director takes a typical remuneration package, then the net tax and NI savings over taking a salary of £39,206 would be £5,265, assuming the £2,000 employment allowance is available.  This saving is made because dividends received within the basic rate band attract no further income tax plus no NI for the director or the company. This more than outweighs the additional corporation tax suffered on profits retained for dividends.

Taking R&D relief into account

From 1 April 2015 the R&D tax credit for SMEs increased from 225% to 230%.  There is no R&D uplift on dividends received – only on salary. This means that paying a £39,206 salary would actually result in a saving over taking a small salary and dividends of £1,208.

What about a larger salary? In fact, if the client wanted to take out more than the basic rate band, then the salary may become even more tax efficient.  A £70,000 salary would result in net tax/NI due of £1,366 after the R&D relief (assuming there was sufficient profit to offset the CT relief), whereas a salary of £10,600 and net dividends of £59,400 would result in net tax/NI of £5,883 – so the saving by taking a salary over dividends is £4,517.

HMRC will generally not accept 100% of a director’s salary costs within the R&D claim unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the director was exclusively involved in R&D activity.

Pension contributions

While dividends don’t qualify as eligible staff costs for R&D claims, company pension contributions do.  New pension freedoms make pension contributions a much more attractive option, so you might want to consider this as part of your remuneration package.

If a company makes pension contributions of £40,000 for the director and they spend 60% of their time on R&D, the R&D relief on this will be £55,200 (£40,000 x 60% x 230%). This means that the overall CT saving on the pension contribution will be £14,240 (((£40,000 x 40%) + £55,200) x 20%). As there’s no NI due on pension contributions, this is an even more efficient option than taking additional salary.

The default response of a dividend being more tax efficient than salary may not be applicable if the director undertakes R&D work for the company as there’s no R&D uplift on dividends. So it’s vital to crunch the numbers before agreeing the most tax-efficient remuneration strategy.

Get the best deal for yourself

For advice on the best split between salary and dividends or help with setting up a limited company and registering for VAT, please contact Alterledger.

Employers – Will you process auto enrolment in-house or outsource to an Accountant/Bureau?

The Pensions Regulator continues to try to inform employers about their new automatic enrolment (AE) duties. There is so much information available it has lead to much confusion. For employers, there is no getting around AE either. It is here to stay whether you like it or not. Employers that have at least one member of staff now have specific, mandatory duties to perform. This includes enrolling those employers who are eligible into a workplace pension scheme and contributing towards it. There are also some duties that need to be completed for non-eligible and entitle employees.

 

Another consideration for employers is whether you have the time or staff resources to deal with AE in-house or outsource this to a payroll bureau or accountant?

brightpayroad

Confused? Join BrightPay for a free webinar where we will take you through our step-by-step guide to automatic enrolment has been designed to help employers understand the processes involved in completing their automatic enrolment duties.
One of the subjects on the webinar will weigh up the advantages of processing auto enrolment in-house or will you look to outsource this job to an accountant, bookkeeper of bureau? See the webinar agenda below.
Agenda
• Auto Enrolment Overview
• Staging dates
• Assessing Employees
• Enrolling
• Option of Postponement
• Handling Opt-outs and Refunds
• Supporting Employee Communication
• Recording and Providing Reports
• Integration with various Pension Providers
• Payroll Software
• Process AE in house or outsource

Register here today
Don’t worry if you can’t make it on the day we will record the webinar and send it to you after the webinar, along with any questions and answers that were discussed on the day. By registering your details for the event we will automatically send the information to you.

BrightPay_&_AE

Falling HMRC Fuel Rates – are your claims right?

mann im auto

The rates only apply when you either:

  • reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars
  • require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel

If you pay a rate per mile for business travel no higher than the AFR, for the particular engine size and fuel type, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will accept there is no taxable profit and no Class 1A National Insurance to pay.

You can use your own rates which better reflect your circumstances if, for example, your cars are more fuel efficient, or if the cost of business travel is higher than the guideline rates.

Advisory Fuel Rates from 1 March 2015

These rates applied from 1 March 2015. You can use the previous rates for up to 1 month from the date the new rates apply.

Engine size Petrol – amount per mile LPG – amount per mile
1400cc or less 11p 8p
1401cc to 2000cc 13p 10p
Over 2000cc 20p 14p
Engine size Diesel – amount per mile
1600cc or less 9p
1601cc to 2000cc 11p
Over 2000cc 14p

 

COMPANY car mileage rates have been slashed by up to 18% as HMRC cut the tax allowance across all six of the petrol and diesel categories in response to continuing fuel price falls.

Hardest hit by the rates, known as advisory fuel rates (AFR), are drivers of company cars with petrol engines greater than 1,401cc which have suffered a 3p cut in rates applicable from 1 March.

Business Car Manager

steve@bicknells.net

What are Dispensations and Scale Rate Allowances?

Pay for woman.

Its nearly time to prepare your P11D’s, here is a link to the 2014-15 P11D

You’ll need to submit an end-of-year form to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for each employee you’ve provided with expenses or benefits.

The form will either be a P9D or a P11D, depending on the expense or benefit.

You may need to submit form P11D(b) to report the amount of Class 1A National Insurance due on all the expenses and benefits you’ve provided. You should do this if:

  • you’ve submitted any P11D forms
  • you’ve been sent a P11D(b) form by HMRC

If you don’t submit any P11D forms, you can tell HMRC that you don’t owe Class 1A National Insurance by completing a declaration.

Due by 6th July 2015.

As an employer, you can apply for a dispensation on some expenses and benefits you provide for your employees. This means you won’t need to report them to HM Revenue and Customs or pay tax or National Insurance on them. Here is a link to apply for Dispensations.

There are also Benchmark Scale Rates which can be paid tax free, alternative you can claim the actual costs

Description Amount (up to)
Breakfast rate £5
One meal (5 hour) rate £5
Two meal (10 hour) rate £10
Late evening meal rate £15

steve@bicknells.net

New Childcare Vouchers from Autumn 2015

Childcare vouchers to be withdrawn for new employees

The existing benefits available in the form of childcare vouchers to employees will be withdrawn to new entrants in the Autumn of 2015.  The current scheme  saves National Insurance contributions for both employers and employees.  Employees also save income tax.

English: British National Insurance stamp.

English: British National Insurance stamp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New scheme to start in Autumn 2015

The new scheme for childcare vouchers will not be as good for many employees who currently benefit from the current scheme, but where both parents work and are self employed, they can get the government to pay £2,000 towards registered childcare.

How do I set up childcare vouchers?

Childcare vouchers are set up through your payroll scheme and must be available to all eligible employees to receive the tax benefit.

Alterledger can help

For more information on saving employer’s national insurance and preparing for changes to childcare vouchers, contact Alterledger or visit the website alterledger.com.

Trivial Benefits £50 exemption deferred

Businessman looking at a small present with a magnifying glass

It had been proposed that there will be a new statutory exemption for trivial benefits up to a limit of £50 from from 6 April 2015, this measure is not included in the first Finance Bill of 2015, it has been deferred until after the election.

The £50 tax exemption would have been on items such as birthday and Christmas gifts. The legislation would have also introduced an annual cap of £300 in some circumstances.

So we are stuck with the old rules for now

An employer may provide employees with a seasonal gift, such as a turkey, an ordinary bottle of wine or a box of chocolates at Christmas. All of these gifts can be treated as trivial benefits. . For an employer with a large number of employees the total cost of providing a gift to each employee may be considerable, but where the gift to each employee is a trivial benefit, this principle applies regardless of the total cost to the employer and the number of employees concerned. If a benefit is trivial it should not be included in a PSA (EIM21861).

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/EIM21863.htm

There are some non taxable benefits you be interested in….

HMRC Helpsheet 207 – Non-taxable payments or benefits for employees

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/helpsheets/hs207.pdf

steve@bicknells.net

Who cares what you think?

Are testimonials worth anything?

Many websites include “testimonials” from “customers”, but do they have any worth?  If you want to attract new business it is good to be able to publish positive feedback, which helps demonstrate the value that other customers find in your service.  The problem is that if reviews are obviously edited and self-selected they are not obviously representative of the views of your customers.  Single line reviews taken out of context can be particularly misleading!
Top Rated certificate for accountant Tim Alter of Alterledger Ltd, Glasgow

Use external review sites

One of the best-known review sites is tripadvisor.  The greatest strength of these reviews is that hotels and restaurants etc have no control over the reviews.  They have the opportunity to respond to criticism, but can’t cherry-pick the best reviews to give a false impression.  The Pensions Regulator website is keen to point out that “private sector organisations we link to are not endorsed by Government and are provided for information only”; however it is worth noting that they include a link to VouchedFor on their advice page for individuals and in their guide to finding an advisor for Pension Auto Enrolment.

VouchedFor

If you are looking for a hotel you would probably prefer to check tripadvisor rather than lot of different websites for reviews.  VouchedFor works along similar lines to tripadvisor, but for Accountants, Financial Advisors and Solicitors.  Professionals who have a listing on the site must confirm that they recognise the name / email address of any reviewer before the review is posted online.  Just like tripadvisor the professionals can’t read the review until is online so they can’t edit out any negative feedback and poor scores.

Tim Alter appeared in the guide in The Sunday Telegraph on March 29th. You can also read all his great client reviews on his VouchedFor profile!

Auto Enrolment

Many small businesses will need professional advice to help them set up a pension scheme to comply with Auto Enrolment regulations.  If you are an employer and still need to prepare for your staging date, you can use an Accountant or Financial Adviser to guide you through the process.  For help with setting up your payroll and preparing for your staging date, please contact Alterledger.

New Tax Break for Couples – Register Now

Pay Packet And Banknotes

A new tax break will start from 6 April 2015, which will be eligible to more than 4 million married couples and 15,000 civil partnerships.

The Allowance means a spouse or civil partner who doesn’t pay tax – therefore is not earning at all or is earning below the basic rate threshold (£10,600) – can transfer up to £1,060 of their personal tax-free allowance to a spouse or civil partner – as long as the recipient of the transfer doesn’t pay more than the basic rate of income tax.

Applying online is straightforward. Couples can register their interest to receive the Allowance now at gov.uk/marriageallowance.

The maximum saving is 20% x £1,060 = £212

However, the partner giving up the allowance must not be earning and the partner getting the allowance must not be a higher rate tax payer.

steve@bicknells.net

Letters for under 21s

Changes for employees under 21

From 6th April 2015 employer national insurance contributions will be abolished for under 21s.  If you employ anyone over 16 and under 21 years old you will need to use one of the new letters for under 21s in the national insurance category setting of your payroll software.

English: British National Insurance stamp.

English: British National Insurance stamp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Secondary contribution rates

This table shows how much employers pay towards employees’ National Insurance for tax year 2014 to 2015.  The contribution rate calculated by your payroll software is set by the category letter.

Category letter £111 to £153

a week

£153.01 to £770

a week

£770.01 to £805

a week

From £805.01

a week

A 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
B 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
C 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
D 3.4% rebate 10.4% 13.8% 13.8%
E 3.4% rebate 10.4% 13.8% 13.8%
J 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
L 3.4% rebate 10.4% 13.8% 13.8%

National insurance categories

Most employees will have a category letter of A or D depending on whether or not they are in a contracted-out workplace pension scheme.  There are categories for mariners and deep-sea fisherman; the more common categories are shown below:

Employees in a contracted-out workplace pension scheme

Category letter Employee group
D All employees apart from those in groups E, C and L in this table
E Married women and widows entitled to pay reduced National Insurance
C Employees over the State Pension age
L Employees who can defer National Insurance because they’re already paying it in another job

Employees not in contracted-out pension schemes

Category letter Employee group
A All employees apart from those in groups B, C and J in this table
B Married women and widows entitled to pay reduced National Insurance
C Employees over the State Pension age
J Employees who can defer National Insurance because they’re already paying it in another job

Employees in a money-purchase contracted-out scheme

This kind of scheme ended in April 2012 but some employees might still be part of one.

Category letter Employee group
F Tax years before 2012 to 2013 only: all employees apart from the ones in groups G, C and S in this table
G Tax years before 2012 to 2013 only: married women and widows entitled to pay reduced National Insurance
C Employees over the State Pension age
S Tax years before 2012 to 2013 only: employees who can defer National Insurance because they’re already paying it in another job

How to claim zero rate of employer contributions

You should already have proof of age for all your employees.  A copy of a passport, driving licence or birth certificate will be required to show that your employee qualifies for the new zero rate of employer’s contribution.  The seven new categories are valid from 6th April and must be applied from the first salary payment after 5th April 2015 to benefit from the new zero contribution rate for employers.

What does this have to do with Auto Enrolment?

You need to have proof of age for all your employees aged under 21 to claim the zero contribution rate for employer’s National Insurance.  By the time of your staging date you must assess all your workers, based on their earnings and age.  To help you prepare for Pension Auto Enrolment you can make sure that all your employee records are up to date and that your payroll software has the full details for all workers including their date of birth.  This is a good opportunity to clean up all your employee data.

Alterledger can help

For more information on saving employer’s national insurance and preparing for Pension Auto Enrolment, contact Alterledger or visit the website alterledger.com.

 

%d bloggers like this: