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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Childcare vouchers to be withdrawn for new employees

The existing benefits available in the form of childcare vouchers to employees will be withdrawn to new entrants in the Autumn of 2015.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.

The Yacht that wasn’t a benefit in kind

Yacht de luxe.

This is the case of Gillian Rockall v HMRC (2014) HKFTT 643.

Mr Michael & Mrs Gillian Rockall were involved in running a hotel and conference centre and providing high-end residential courses, amongst the companies assets was a 140 foot ocean-going yacht costing $11.9 million called Masquerade of Sole.

HMRC issued assessments on Mr & Mrs Rockall for the tax years 2000-2001 to 2008-2009 on the basis of personal use (benefit is normally assessed as 20% of the market value).

The Yacht was used for:

  • Business Networking
  • Customer Training
  • Exploring Business Opportunities in the Caribbean and Mediterranean
  • Friends and Acquaintances were taken on occassional trips to provide a opinion on opportunities

The Yacht was also placed with an agent for charter when not required for the purposes above.

The First-Tier Tribunal took the view that the use of the Yacht was only for Business and not for private purposes.

However under S203 ITEPA 2003 a benefit in kind would arise because the asset was at the disposal of the employees.

The Rockalls appealed to the First-Tier Tax Tribunal, on the grounds that the use of the yacht was tax-deductible under s365 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA). This requires that the item comprising the benefit in kind was used ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment’.

The tribunal has now ruled that the yacht was bought and operated purely for business purposes and thus was fully tax-deductible for both the Rockalls.

– See more at: http://www.step.org/yacht-used-impress-customers-were-legitimate-expense#sthash.dNRhVYmG.dpuf

steve@bicknells.net

How far would you go to retain staff?

Biological Clock

Apple and Facebook are now offering to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs!

The initiative is part of the so-called “perks arms race” as Silicon Valley firms battle to recruit top talent and it is hoped the perk will attract more women into a traditionally male-dominated sector. (Sky News)

Fertility specialist Philip Chenette is quoted as saying “providing egg-freezing coverage for employees can be viewed as a type of payback for women’s commitment in a male-dominated industry where technology firms are often competing to attract female talent” (NBC News)

https://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertility-preservation/

The cost for egg freezing in the US is about $10,000 (£6,200) for every round, as well as $500 or more for storage each year.

Apple also offer assistance with adoption.

Will UK companies soon be offering this perk?

steve@bicknells.net

Is it a Van or a Car?

black large pickup

It makes a big difference whether a double cab pick up is treated as Car or a Van for tax purposes, in summary:

  1. Benefit in Kind on Cars is linked to CO2 where as on a Van its Flat Rate (and could be zero if your private use is insignificant)
  2. Vans qualify for the Annual Investment Allowance, Cars have restricted Capital Allowances
  3. You can reclaim VAT on Vans but its much harder to reclaim VAT on cars

HMRC have some guidance in EIM23150….

Under this measure, a double cab pick-up that has a payload of 1 tonne (1,000kg) or more is accepted as a van for benefits purposes. Payload means gross vehicle weight (or design weight) less unoccupied kerb weight (care is needed when looking at manufacturers’ brochures as they sometimes define payload differently).

Under a separate agreement between Customs and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a hard top consisting of metal, fibre glass 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 pick-up with an ex-works payload of 1,010 kg will convert the vehicle into a car (net payload reduced to 965 kg). Under this agreement, the weight of all other optional accessories is disregarded. HMRC has also adopted this treatment.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/eim23150.htm

A double cab with a payload in excess of 1000kg can still be classified as a car if the taxman dealing with the case decides it is a car. You may have to justify a genuine business need for the vehicle.

steve@bicknells.net

15 Benefits that won’t be on your P11D

trim

It’s P11D time, but have you considered giving your employees benefits in kind that are tax free, here are some to choose from:

  1. Pensions – Up to £40k can be paid in to you pension schemem by your employer (2014/15)  and you can use carry forward to pay in even more
  2. Childcare – Up to £55 per week but check the rules to makesure your childcare complies (HMRC Leaflet IR115)
  3. Mobile Phone – One per employee
  4. Lunch – Tax Free Lunch Blog
  5. Cycle Schemes – Cycle to Work Blog
  6. Fitness – Fitness Blog
  7. Parties and Gifts – Christmas Blog
  8. Parking – Parking Blog
  9. Business Mileage Allowance – 45p for the first 10,000 miles then 25p
  10. Long Service Award – A bit restrictive as you need 20 years service, the tax free amount is £50 x the number of years
  11. Eye Tests and Spectacles – The Eye Test must be needed under the Health & Safety at Work Act
  12. Suggestion Schemes – Suggestion Scheme Blog
  13. Insurance such and Death in Service and Income Protection – Medical Insurance Blog
  14. Travel Expenses – Travel Blog
  15. Working From Home – Working from Home Blog

steve@bicknells.net

Will the Christmas Party be tax free?

the unlike trio 01/Devil, Angel and Santa celebrating Xmas

The answer is probably! maybe?

HMRC have an Exemption (not an allowance) of £150.

If the employer provides two or more annual parties or functions, no charge arises in respect of the party, or parties, for which cost(s) per head do not exceed £150 in aggregate. Where there is more than one annual function potentially within the exemption, we do not expect employers to keep a cumulative record, employee by employee, of functions attended. But for each function the cost per head should be calculated. The cost per head of subsequent functions should be added. If the total cost per head goes over £150 then whichever functions best utilise the £150 are exempt, the others taxable (see examples at EIM21691).

The figure of £150 is not an allowance. For functions that are outside the scope of the exemption (see example at EIM21691) directors and employees, except those in an excluded employment, are chargeable on the full cost per head, not just the excess over £150, in respect of:

  • themselves and
  • any members of their family and household who attend as guests.

The cost of the function includes VAT and the cost of transport and/or overnight accommodation if these are provided to enable employees to attend. Divide the total cost of each function by the total number of people (including non-employees) who attend in order to arrive at the cost per head.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/eim21690.htm

Things to watch out for:

1. The function must be open to all staff, if its just directors, its taxable

2. The cost must not exceed £150 per head, otherwise it will all be taxable http://www.companychristmas.co.uk/news/tax_free_christmas_parties

3. If you have several events during the year you may have to choose which ones qualify if the total exceeds £150

steve@bicknells.net

Tax Advantages of a Classic Car

Car racer

A classic car is one where:

  • the age of the car at the end of the year of assessment is 15 years or more and
  • the market value of the car for the year is £15,000

I found a 1968 Jaguar MkII for sale for £15,000 on

http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/classic-car-page/165880/1968-jaguar-mkii/

The Mark 2 gained a reputation as a capable car among criminals and law enforcement alike; the 3.8 Litre model being particularly fast with its 220 bhp (164 kW) engine driving the car from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.5 seconds and to a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) with enough room for five adults. Popular as getaway cars, they were also employed by the Police to patrol British motorways.

The Mark 2 is also well known as the car driven by fictional TV detective Inspector Morse played by John Thaw

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar_Mark_2

Assuming the list price was £2,000 (I can’t find the actual list price), the taxable benefit in kind would be £2,000 x 35% (maximum)x 40% (higher rate tax) = £280

As long as the Market Value is below £15,000 these rules apply above £15,000 the market value is used for the calculation, you can pay for your private fuel to avoid the tax on that.

steve@bicknells.net

Salary Sacrifice was “clarified” in April, does your scheme comply?

 

trim

Salary Sacrifice is a very tax efficient way to give your employees benefits and the most popular benefits are Pensions and Childcare. I wrote a blog back in 2011 which explained how it can save 45.8% in tax and NI

HMRC decided on 9th April 2013 that it was time to “clarify”  in their Manuals what are successful and unsuccessful salary sacrifice schemes and have added some further guidance. Their Staff are instructed not to approve schemes (Employment Income Manual EIM42772)….

You (HMRC) may get requests for advice:

  • on how to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement, or
  • on whether draft documentation will achieve a successful salary sacrifice.

You (HMRC) should not comment on either of these areas. Salary sacrifice is a matter of employment law, not tax law. The nature of an employee’s contract of employment is a matter for the employer and employee.

The specific updates are:

EIM42750 – Salary Sacrifice – updated – this contains the examples of schemes

EIM42777 – Contractual arrangements – this has interesting comments on childcare and pensions

  • If the scheme involves childcare or childcare vouchers then the conditions for exemption must be met. (See EIM21905 and EIM16057). Is the agreement to provide childcare between the employee and the childminder or nursery. If so the employer by paying the cost directly is meeting the employee’s personal liability. (See EIM00580).
  • For a registered pension scheme the amount which can be contributed to the scheme is normally linked to the employee’s chargeable earnings. In consequence if the salary sacrifice results in some of the employee’s income no longer being taxable, then the amount of contribution, which can be made to the scheme, will also drop.

EIM42778 – Exemption from Tax/NIC – basically stating that exemption may require that the sacrifice may be available to all employees but that the sacrifice must not reduce the employees wages below National Minimum Wages

The following is an example of an unsuccessful Childcare Salary Sacrifice:

The pay slip for the month ended 31 July 2006 gives monthly pay as £2000 plus overtime of £100, deductions for tax of £355 and NIC. The pay slip for the following month shows monthly pay of £2000 plus overtime of £100, deductions for NIC, childcare vouchers of £200 and tax of £310. The code number operated on the salary has not changed.

The situation is not clear from the payslip. When asked, the employer explains that for August, because childcare vouchers of £55 a week are exempt, £220 of vouchers has been deducted from the gross pay of £2100 and tax charged on the net figure of £1880. Further information is needed, for example a copy of the employment contract and any variations agreed by the employer and employee to that contract.

It is established that in July the employee bought childcare vouchers. The employer was not involved. The employer accepts that as the childcare in July was not provided by him, no tax exemption is available. In August the employee asked the employer to buy the childcare vouchers to take advantage of the exemption. The employer did this and deducted the cost from the monthly salary. The contract of employment shows that the employee is entitled to a base salary of £24000 to be paid monthly. This contract has not been varied. As the employee’s entitlement has remained the same, this is not a successful sacrifice. (See EIM42766).

If you operate salary sacrifice schemes its worth checking that your schemes comply, the tax consequences of failure to comply could be substantial.

steve@bicknells.net

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