Termination Payments

ET4Bs Winter 2018 Newsletter

Posted by David on February 11, 2018
Flexible Benefits, HMRC, News articles, Payroll, Status, Termination Payments / Comments Off on ET4Bs Winter 2018 Newsletter

ET4B’s Winter Newsletter 2018 looks at some of the more pressing matters currently on our, and our clients’ agendas.

One aspect affecting nearly all employers is the changes planned on treatment of employment termination payments. Upon implementation the changes are now being justified on a robust agenda of ‘fairness and clarity’, with the previous pretences of extra ‘simplicity’ and tax-neutrality having been dropped.¬† This presents the prospect of more work for employers and more tax/NIC to pay (for almost every employer and employee).

A few specific points of interpretation in respect of the new termination payments rules have very recently (14 February 2018) been clarified by HMRC in its February 2018 Employer Bulletin.

Firstly, HMRC has confirmed that payments made on or after 6 April 2018, but relating to a termination before that date, would fall under the ‘old’ rather than ‘new’ rules.

Secondly HMRC confirms that genuine redundancy payments (whether statutory, or non-statutory i.e. at enhanced rates agreed between employer and employee) should not be looked at under the new Post Employment Notice Pay rules i.e. they will still qualify for the ¬£30,000 exemption. This is consistent with existing treatment which in effect goes as far back as the ‘Inland Revenue’ Statement Of Practice 1 of 1994 – so it would been a major disappointment if HMRC had decided to take a more stringent view here.

Finally the Employer Bulletin does confirm that the proposed withdrawal of Foreign Service Relief on termination payments from 6 April 2018 is still intended, but remains subject to further Parliamentary Approval.

Other than termination payments, the Newsletter looks at other hot topics concerning the government’s ongoing concern on employed v self-employed status, the increase in HMRC minimum wage reviews, changes in tax treatment of flexible benefits (or Optional Remuneration Arrangements to use the current terminology), possible changes to the way employee expenses are treated, and the proposed further uplift in taxation for diesel company car drivers.

We trust you find the Newsletter of interest. If you think we can assist, on these or any other employment/worker related matters, please of course contact us contact us.

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HMRC Know Your Customer (KYC) Reviews – an update

Posted by David on November 17, 2014
Expenses and benefits, Flexible Benefits, HMRC, News articles, Status, Termination Payments / Comments Off on HMRC Know Your Customer (KYC) Reviews – an update

After going rather quiet on the ‘PAYE Audit’ front for a few years, HMRC has now introduced a new round of employer reviews, under the title of ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC). Whilst these sound like a bit of a cosy chat, we should not overlook the reality – that for all intents and purposes these are simply PAYE Audits aka Employer Compliance Reviews, in another guise.

The ‘KYC’ programme is initially being rolled out by HMRC’s Large Business Service (LBS) teams i.e. those offices who deal with the largest employers in the country. However this is no surprise: HMRC invariably follows the ‘law of diminishing returns’ when undertaking Employer Compliance work, i.e. the larger employers will always be first in line, and things then gradually work their way down to medium and smaller-sized structures.

KYC reviews initially involve a high level review of the employer’s policies. This may happen before or after an initial KYC meeting with HMRC. From there we can expect HMRC to focus in on what it perceives to be the main areas of risk. Whilst those areas will vary depending on the worker profile, experience suggests that HMRC will always wish to consider the following common risk areas:

  • Employment status: recent changes to the employment agency or ’employment intermediary’ rules seem to have re-focussed HMRC’s minds on the risks associated with temporary workers, self-employed, and limited company engagements.
  • Termination payments: businesses that have seen substantial staffing changes can expect HMRC to take a particular interest in severance packages paid, with the usual focus on Pay in Lieu of Notice and any other payments on termination potentially arising from the contract (rather than simply from the severance).
  • Company expenses policies: relevant policies include those applying to company vans, company cars and private fuel (the last one is a particular HMRC favourite as this represents an all or nothing benefit when linked to company vehicle use).
  • Flexible benefits and salary sacrifice: HMRC will be especially interested in any aspect of the scheme which has not already been cleared fully by HMRC on a ‘cards face up on the table’ basis (or where the ‘goalposts have moved’ so that the scheme does not operate precisely in the way HMRC was told originally).

For those employers who also have ‘Senior Accounting Officer’ (SAO) reporting responsibilities, this provides HMRC with an additional angle of approach, i.e. within a KYC review HMRC may at the same time seek assurances on the validity of previous SAO reporting and the extent of internal checking undertaken to verify this. Indeed we are now seeing HMRC ask for copies of relevant internal audit reports – an approach not previously followed.

On the plus side, our own recent experience has indicated that, with a little advance planning it is usually possible for an employer to take and retain control of much of the process. If so the employer should be able to approach any KYC review with a fair amount of calmness, rather than simply hoping for the best, and then having to ‘fire-fight’ when issues later arise.

If you require assistance in dealing with a forthcoming KYC review or in relation to any other Employer Compliance matter, please contact the ET4B team.

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ET4Bs Spring 2012 Newsletter

Posted by David on May 01, 2012
Expenses and benefits, HMRC, National Insurance, News articles, Payroll, Status, Termination Payments / Comments Off on ET4Bs Spring 2012 Newsletter

016B_ET4B Spring 2012 Newsletter

This Newsletter contains¬† details of HMRC’s recent ‘IR35’ update, information on a recent stark reminder for employers operating salary sacrifice arrangements without adequate HMRC clearance, and much more.

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ET4Bs Spring 2011 Newsletter and Budget update

Posted by David on May 01, 2011
Expenses and benefits, Flexible Benefits, HMRC, National Insurance, News articles, Payroll, Termination Payments / Comments Off on ET4Bs Spring 2011 Newsletter and Budget update

014_ET4B Spring 2011 Newsletter_Budget update

This Newsletter provides topical details of recently new and updated rules, including details of HMRC’s attempts to prevent ‘disguised remuneration’, its rather confused thinking on childcare tax reliefs, and the pension tax relief limitations.

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ET4Bs free PILON calculator

Posted by David on June 15, 2010
HMRC, National Insurance, News articles, Termination Payments / Comments Off on ET4Bs free PILON calculator

ET4B launches its FREE online tool to assist in deciding the likely tax and NIC treatment of Pay in Lieu of Notice (PILON). Further details are available on our [Tools & Tips] page

Pay in Lieu of Notice (PILON) update

Posted by David on November 30, 2009
National Insurance, News articles, Payroll, Termination Payments / Comments Off on Pay in Lieu of Notice (PILON) update

008B_Termination payments – Solving the PILON problem

This post provides a summary of common “PILON” issues and suggested solutions.