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COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme – new rules from 1 July

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme – new rules from 1 July

On Friday evening the Chancellor announced three changes to the Job Retention Scheme as well as an extension to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (the self-employed can skip ahead to that section).

The changes are outlined here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Detailed guidance on the new rules is expected to be published 12 June.

Job Retention Scheme – new rules starting 1 July

1. From 1 July 2020, the scheme will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back part time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working.

2. From 1 August 2020, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September (govt will fund 70%) and October (govt will fund 60%).

3. The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June.

Employers: What to do now?

The final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June (in order to complete the minimum 3 week furlough by 30 June).

As some employers have been rotating their furloughed workers then they should consider now if any workers that haven’t yet been furloughed can be furloughed before 10 June in order to leave the door open to the flexible furloughing (part-time) rules starting 1 July.

Extension to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The Chancellor also announced plans to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for those people whose trade is adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Eligible self-employed people will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August; this will be a taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits for three months, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.

If you make a claim for the second grant you will have to confirm your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 (PER GOV.UK 12 JUNE UPDATE). People do not need to have claimed the first grant to claim the second.

Self-Employed: What to do now?

Claims for the first SEISS grant, which opened on 13 May, must be made no later than 13 July. Eligible self-employed people must make a claim before that date to receive the first SEISS grant (a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total).

My previous COVID-19 posts can be found here:

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COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme: Advice for Company Directors

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme – Advice for Company Directors

The critera to qualify for the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme (essentially funding 80% of salaries), is without doubt, stricter and less generous in the case of small company directors. Below I’ll discuss what can be claimed by this group of employees. The full guidance is the same as that for the non-director employees and is found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Job Retention Scheme: How it applies to company directors

  • Directors can be furloughed if they’re an employee on PAYE and on the payroll on 28 February 2020
  • The same restrictions to furloughing apply both to directors and employees. See here for the full list but of particular difficulty for directors is the requirement to perform no work whilst furloughed.
  • In practice, a company may be so badly affected by the crisis that it goes into a ‘COVID-19 hibernation’ meaning that the director would have no day to day employment type duties (especially, income generating activity) but is still on hand to undertake their statutory duties as company director.
  • Other companies might only be partially affected. In such cases, it might be practical to furlough all but one of the directors. This may especially apply to small husband and wife ran companies.

How much is the grant worth to directors?

  • Employers can choose to pay a furlough salary of 80-100% but the government is funding only up to 80% (capped at £2,500). In the case of directors it’s likely that the company will want to continue to pay 100% of the current salary in the knowledge that 80% will be funded by HMRC later.
  • Directors salaries are usually set quite low with the remainder of their remuneration being paid via dividends. Unfortunately HMRC will not be funding anything towards dividends.
  • Presuming therefore that you earn a typical directors salary (often below all tax and NI deductions) of £719 per month. HMRC will fund approx £575 per month.
  • The grant will be received by the company as taxable income and cannot be expected to hit the company before late-June 2020 or later.

Practical tips

  • There’s no need to worry or rush to take action. If work has ground to a halt you will qualify for this scheme. Just apply the rules are best as you can formalise the arrangement later using our template letter to furlough.
  • As for claiming the grant – please don’t contact HMRC. They’re of course extremely busy and are in the process of contacting employers.

My previous COVID-19 posts remain relevant and are:

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COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme (detailed guidance for employers)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme – detailed guidance now available

Many employers are now considering their need to furlough employees perhaps from the next pay period starting 1 April. Thankfully updated and more detailed guidance on the Job Retention Scheme has now been released.

My summary of the scheme is below and I will personally help each affected client navigate their own particular circumstances. The full guidance is found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Job Retention Scheme Summary

  • Grant is available to all employers that had employees on the payroll on 28 February 2020.
  • All employees can be included (full-time, part-time, agency, zero-hours) if they’re being furloughed because of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Employees cannot work whilst furloughed. Employees put on reduced hours do not qualify.
  • You must have your employees agreement to designate them as furloughed. Of course put this in writing once discussed.
  • The scheme is running from 1 March 2020 for at least 3 months. The minimum period for which you can furlough an employee is 3 weeks.
  • Employers can choose to pay a furlough salary of 80-100% but the government is funding only up to 80% (capped at £2,500). Most employers are best advised to pay the 80%.
  • If 80% of an employee’s salary equates to less than National Minimum Wage (NMW) then that’s fine under the circumstances because the employee is not actually working the hours.
  • A furloughed employee may volunteer to perform work which does not generate income for the business (e.g. bookkeeping, admin type tasks) and can undertake training courses whilst furloughed.
  • Once agreed the payroll runs as normal, with usual tax, NI and pension deductions.
  • An employee who already has two or more jobs can be furloughed by one employer and continue to work for another.
  • If your employee is already sick or self-isolating and in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) this must run its course before they can be furloughed.

How do employers calculate the 80%?

Fixed salary employees – simply pay 80% of the fixed salary that was paid for 28 February.

Employees whose pay varies –
For those that have been employed for a full year, take the higher of:

  • the same month’s earning from the previous year
  • average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year

Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included in the calculation.

For those that have been employed for less than a year – use the average monthly earnings since they started work.

HMRC will also be funding the any Employer National Insurance Contributions and automatic enrolment contributions up to the minimum 3% contribution rate.

Effectively a furloughed employee paid at 80% will cost the employer nothing.

What to do now?

For many employers the best decision will be to furlough all but a skeleton staff. Discuss this with your employees now, decide when to start their period of furlough. Agree with them for how long (a minimum of 3 weeks) but you may like to do one month and reviewed monthly (up to a maximum 3 months unless extended by the government) and at what rate they’ll be paid 80-100%. Finally, and importantly, write to them to confirm. Our letter template can be downloaded Job Retention Scheme – Letter to employees.

As for claiming the grant – please don’t contact HMRC. They’re of course extremely busy and are in the process of contacting employers.

You may well experience a delay between paying your employee and receiving this grant. The claim system is expected to be working by the end of April. Plan you cash flow accordingly and consider using the Business Loan Interruption Scheme (interest free loans – just contact your bank).

What about small company directors?

UPDATE 1 Apr 2020: See my post: COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme – Advice for Company Directors

During the crisis I’ll be blogging about government help for small businesses as soon as the guidance is available. My previous COVID-19 post remain relevant and are:

What financial support is available for UK businesses? – NOW UPDATED
Can the Self-Employed go to work?
Help for the Self-Employed and other FAQ’s
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Help for the Self-Employed – PER THE 26 MARCH ANNOUNCEMENT

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National Minimum Wage rise from April 2020

National Minimum Wages rates

National Living Wage (NLW) rates (for those over 25 years old) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates (for those under 25 years old) will rise from 1 April 2020.

The NLW increase of 51p represents a 6% rise, equivalent to an annual increase of around £930 for a full-time worker.

In summary and effective 1 April 2020 the follow minimum wage rates will apply

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice *
April 2019 £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90
April 2020 (new rates) £8.72 £8.20 £6.45 £4.55 £4.15

* The apprentice rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

Plan ahead

Ensure your payroll procedures are up to date and consider notifying staff ahead of time in writing (even via a note on their payslip). This transparency is likely to be well received and could help build positive employee relations. It also offers an opportunity to explain that any overtime worked during a pay reference period prior to the introduction of the new rates, that is payable after these have been introduced, will still be paid at the previous rate.  For further details and more rates visit gov.uk

Pension contribution rates

If you employ staff and run a pension scheme the minimum contributions rates remain the same with no more planned increases:

  • Employer minimum pension contribution 3%, staff contribution 5%.

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National Minimum Wage & Pensions rise from April 2019

From 1 April 2019 the minimum hourly pay rates along with the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pensions will increase affecting both employees and employers.

First let’s look at the National Minimum Wages rates:

National Living Wage (NLW) rates (for those over 25 years old) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates (for those under 25 years old) will rise from 1 April 2019.

The NLW increase of 38p represents a 4.8% rise, equivalent to an annual increase of about £700 for a full-time worker.

In summary and effective 1 April 2019 the follow minimum wage rates will apply

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice *
April 2018 £7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70
April 2019 (new rates) £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90

* The apprentice rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

The Government has previously said it plans to raise the national living wage to at least £9 per hour by 2020.

Ensure your payroll procedures are up to date. For further details and more rates visit gov.uk

 

Pension contribution rates increase from April 2019

If you employ staff and run a pension scheme the minimum contributions rates are increasing from April 2019. This has long been the intention of The Pension Regulator (TPR) and is the last increase of “phasing”. The increases are as follows:

  • Employer minimum pension contribution 3% (from 2%), staff contribution 5% (from 3%).

If we provide your payroll services then we will of course implement the increased rates on your behalf but because this represents an increased cost for both employer and employee we highly recommend that you let your staff know in advance of this change. To do so you may like to use this TPR letter template.

Source info and more detail: http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/employers/phasing-increase-of-automatic-enrolment-contribution

 

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National Minimum Wage Rise from April 2018

National Living Wage (NLW) rates (for those over 25 years old) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates (for those under 25 years old) are to rise from 1 April 2018.

The NLW increase of 33p represents a 4.4% rise, equivalent to an annual increase of about £600 for a full-time worker.

In summary and effective 1 April 2018 the follow minimum wage rates will apply

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice *
April 2017 £7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.50
April 2018 (new rates) £7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70

* The apprentice rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

The Government has previously said it plans to raise the national living wage to £9 per hour by 2020.

Ensure your payroll procedures are up to date. For further details and more rates visit gov.uk

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Optimal Directors’ Salary and Dividend Mix for 2017-18

Probably the most important post of the year for limited company directors!

Question: What’s the most tax efficient salary and dividend mix for the 2017/18 tax year?

An owner managed limited company will usually pay their directors / shareholders with a mix of salary and dividends.

The level of the director’s salary is usually set in order to avoid any income tax and national insurance. On this basis the recommended remuneration package for 2017/18 is:

Upper limits for 2017/18

Salary – per annum: £8,164 (last year £8,060)
Salary – per month: £680 (last year £671)

Dividend – per annum: £36,836 (last year £34,940)
Dividend – per month: £3,069 (last year £2,911)

It should be noted that since the introduction of the dividend ordinary tax rate of 7.5% on dividends over £5,000 there will be a personal tax bill of £2,138 (last year £2,025) if dividends are paid all the way up to the basic rate limit of £45,000 (last year £43,000).

For those companies that also have non-director employees on the payroll then they will continue to benefit from the Employment Allowance which reduces the company’s Class 1 National Insurance contributions (Employer’s N.I.) by up to £3,000.

In such cases there may be an opportunity for directors to eke out a little more tax savings by paying themselves a salary of £11,500 and dividends up to a maximum of £33,500 (the overall tax saving between the director and the company being around £234).

This second option will not be the best fit for everyone. More that ever, personal circumstances must be carefully considered to give the best results.

Each client of Massey Accounting Company will be receiving a personalised recommendation shortly.


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What happens if you don’t comply with Automatic Enrolment?

What happens if you don’t comply with Automatic Enrolment or you miss your staging date?

The Pension Regulator will initially focus on educating employers who miss their staging date deadline however persistent and deliberate non-compliance can lead to penalties of between £50 – £10,000 per day. Ultimately criminal prosecution can ensue. For more information please visit The Pension Regulator.

For those who get around to meeting their duties only after their staging date has passed then the consequences include, at a minimum, additional admin and professional fees, and you will be required to back-date any missed contributions (in some cases you may also need to pay the late employees contributions on their behalf).

Massey Accounting Company is starting its communication with each of its employers between 6 – 12 months before their staging date. If you need any help or just a have a question, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

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Budget 2016 – A Business Owners Guide

The Budget 2016 was by and large welcomed by small businesses. Notable for plans to scrap business rates for properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or less from April 2017 (up from £6,000) and a further planned reduction in the corporation tax rate to 17% from April 2020 (the current corporation tax rate is 20%, reducing to 19% from 1 April 2017).

Download here our more detailed: Guide to Budget 2016.

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National Living Wage to replace National Minimum Wage from April 2016

The National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour will become the new minimum pay rate for those aged 25 and over starting 1 April 2016.

Slightly confusingly the two terms National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will now run in tandem but basically:

If your employees are aged 25 and over they will be entitled to the £7.20 National Living Wage.

Under 25 years old and they will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage of £6.70. Although there are lower rates for those under 21 or on an apprentice scheme. See our post regarding NMW for more details.

It seems that the change needs highlighting because we’ve become accustomed to the NMW rise on 1 October each year. But on 1 April 2016 many of your employees will be entitled to their second pay rise in 6 months. Please be sure to plan for the additional costs and adjust your payroll settings accordingly.

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Optimal Directors’ Salary for 2016-17

Probably the most important post of the year for limited company directors!

If you’re looking for the 2017/18 optimal directors’ salary, check out this year’s post here. Otherwise for our 2016/17 article read on.

An owner managed limited company will usually pay their directors’ / shareholders’ with a small salary + dividends.

The level of the director’s salary is usually set in order to avoid any income tax and national insurance. On this basis the recommended remuneration package for 2016-17 is:

Upper limits for 2016-17

Salary – per annum: £8,040 (last year £8,040)
Salary – per month: £670 (last year £670)

Dividend – per annum: £34,960 (last year £30,891)
Dividend – per month: £2,913 (last year £2,574)

It should be noted that with the introduction of the dividend ordinary tax rate of 7.5% there will be a personal tax bill of £2,025 if dividends are paid all the way up to the maximum basic rate limit of £34,960 (yes, that’s a personal tax bill of up to £2,025 compared to £nil last year!).

For those companies that also have non-director employees on the payroll then they will continue to benefit from the Employment Allowance which reduces the company’s Class 1 National Insurance contributions (Employers N.I.) by up to £3,000 (last year £2,000).

In such cases there may be an opportunity for directors to eke out a little more tax savings by paying themselves a salary of £11,000 and slightly lower dividends of £32,000 (the overall tax saving between the director and the company being around £237 (last year £203)).

This second option will not be the best fit for everyone. This year, more that ever, personal circumstances must be carefully considered to give the best results.

Each client of Massey Accounting Company will be receiving a personalised recommendation shortly.


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Check out our new whiteboard animation

Please check out our newly created 2 min. whiteboard animation. Comments and feed-back are welcome! Please feel free to share.

 

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Thank you John Oldham Plastering

Thank you John Oldham Plastering for your testimonial. We’re proud to be working with local businesses like yours.

Read John Oldham’s testimonial. Visit John’s website: www.plastererhighpeak.co.uk

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Travel – no longer a tax deductible expense for contractors

Are you a contractor working through your own limited company? Then the government are about to drastically reduce your tax deductible expenses!

Essentially, contractors will no longer be able to claim for their cost of home-to-work travel and subsistence.

The detail
At Budget 2015 the government announced its intention to consult on proposals that will restrict tax relief for the cost of home-to-work commuting for those employed through an employment intermediary and working under the supervision, direction or control of any person.

The widely criticised consultation has now closed and it is expected that from 6 April 2016 the government will remove the ability of contractors to claim tax free travel and subsistence costs when all of the following apply:
A. The contractor works through an employment intermediary whose business is substantially the supply of labour;
B. The contractor can be subject to (or the right to) supervision, direction or control in their work by any person;
C. The contract is performed within the UK – tax relief for the costs of travelling to workplaces situated overseas is not affected.

It is now highly likely that these proposals will be included in the Finance Bill 2016.

There is no getting around the fact that this is very bad news for limited company contractors that can now expect significantly higher corporation tax bills. Some contractor may be able to re-arrange their affairs to reduce their exposure to the new rules. All of our contractor clients will shortly receive personalised guidance.

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DON’T Go Paperless

It feels like almost every time you login into your online banking you’re asked to turn off paper bank statements. My strong advice is don’t!

As some of you will know I run a near-paperless office. I’m not against environmental, cost and space savings where they can be made but consider the following:

1. As a self-employed person or company director you’re required by law to retain your financial records for the past 6 years + the current year. Yet, banks, mobile phone companies, utility providers etc aren’t worried about that. Online documents are stored for anything between 6 months and 6 years. Further if you close your account you probably will not be able to access these online records.

2. The bank statements of your business and even your personal bank account will be amongst the first records requested during a HMRC tax investigation. Don’t have them? Or your banks online format not acceptable? Then I’ve known banks charge hundreds of pounds for supplying 6 years’ worth of paper bank statements – statements which you should have already received!

3. Finally, paper statements are primary records of your business. They provide a valuable visual reminder and control of what’s going on financially.

Switch on and keep turned on your paper bank and credit card statements. When you receive them in the post file them in number or date order and store them away for 6 years + the current year.

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Summer Budget 2015 – How Much Will It Cost You?

Summer Budget 2015 – How Much Will It Cost You?

The Summer Budget of 8 July 2015 was reportedly an expensive one for the owners of small limited companies. Let’s take a look at the most noteworthy measure – the new dividend tax. How much will it cost you?

At present a company pays 20% corporation tax on its profits after which dividends are paid out effectively tax free to basic-rate taxpayers.

Starting 6 April 2016 all taxpayers will be able to receive £5,000 of dividends tax free but will then pay 7.5% Income Tax until they reach the higher rate tax band on income over £43,000 after which they will pay 32.5% Income Tax on remaining dividends.

Let’s take a look at some common scenarios:

Typical husband and wife company with profits of £20,000 after directors salaries
Husband and wife can continue to receive a salary of around £8,000 each + dividends of £8,000 each all tax free.

In this case the husband and wife will receive £32,000 from the company and will not incur any additional personal Income Tax under the new rules. In fact their company will eventually benefit from a cut to corporation tax from 20% to 18% by 2020 and save, in the above scenario, £400+ per annum.

Typical husband and wife company with profits of £30,000 after directors salaries
Again the company would continue to pay the usual £8,000’ish salaries and in this case could afford to pay £12,000 dividends each.

Together the husband and wife receive £40,000 but would have a personal Income Tax bill of around £300 each. Yet in this case also the company will eventually benefit from the planned cut to corporation tax and save around £600+ per annum. No overall tax increase.

True, there are those at the top end of the scale that will pay as much as £1,700 more Income Tax for the year 2016/17 but it seems that even that increase will eventually be neutralised by the corporation tax saving.

The new dividend tax has reduced the attraction for new businesses to immediately incorporate but it doesn’t offer an incentive for dis-incorporation either. A limited company continues to be the most tax efficient trading vehicle for most small businesses.

For a more detailed analysis of the March and July 2015 Budgets please download our Full Guide to the Budgets of 2015.

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Do Charitable Donations Attract Tax Relief?

 

Yes, charitable donations given via Gift Aid do attract tax relief. If you compelte an Income Tax Return it’s worth understanding the basics so that you don’t miss out on additional tax relief or fall foul of one of the hidden traps of Gift Aid.

Regular donations supported by a Gift Aid Declaration
This is a very effective way to make your donations. You must first complete a Gift Aid declaration form provided by the charity to which you wish to contribute. You may then, for example, choose to set-up a monthly standing order using your assigned Gift Aid reference. Provided you are a taxpayer the charity will then claim an extra 25p for every £1 you donate. Brilliant! In fact, higher rate taxpayers will later go on to claim additional tax relief as long as they declare these donations on their Income Tax Return or let HMRC know to include them in your Tax Code.

This arrangement usually works fine, but the self-employed or small limited company director should beware – It is possible that this arrangement could cause a tax liability to arise upon completion of your Income Tax Return.

Gift Aid – the hidden trap
Taxpayers benefit from Gift Aid, non-taxpayers don’t. Strictly speaking your donations will qualify as long as they’re not more than 4 times what you have paid in tax in that tax year. The problem arises because the self-employed person might be a taxpayer one year but not the next. Small limited company directors sometimes pay no personal income tax, especially if their dividends are under the Dividend Allowance.

If you cease to be or are not expecting to be a taxpayer in the current year you should tell the charity and cancel any existing Gift Aid arrangements. Failure to do so will mean that when you complete your Income Tax Return you’ll be required to repay the tax that the charity has reclaimed.

Of course, you can continue to make your regular monthly standing order / direct debit payment to the charity but if you’re not a taxpayer for any given year you’ll be better off cancelling your Gift Aid arrangement.

Finally, for those that like to squeeze a little more out of the tax man
Let’s presume you’re a small limited company director earning under the higher rate tax threshold and only in receipt of your company salary and modest dividends. In that case you might not be a taxpayer. However, there is a way that your donations can continue to attract tax relief for your chosen charity under the Gift Aid small donations scheme:

Charities can claim an additional 25% on cash donations of £20 or less, even if you don’t have a Gift Aid declaration. So, if the small company director is able to physically contribute cash each month the charity will benefit from Gift Aid regardless of his status as a taxpayer!

(Article last updated February 2018)

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Run a payroll? Then you’re probably required to offer a workplace pension

Run a payroll? Then you’re probably required to offer a workplace pension

You may have seen the TV adverts “We’re all in”. Under Auto Enrolment (AE) all employers are required to offer workplace pensions. Larger employers will have now enrolled their employees. For most micro employers (fewer than 50 employees) your staging date will be any time from now until 2017.

So what do you need to do?

We have compiled a list of staging dates for all our current payroll clients. If we’ve not yet contacted you yet that’s because your staging date is over 12 months away.

Approximately 18 months before your staging date every employer will receive a letter from the Pensions Regulator with you staging date and your letter code. Please forward a copy of that letter to us. We’re happy to become your secondary contact, the primary one being you the employer.

There’s much to consider and we’ll be holding meetings with nearly all of our payroll clients’ within the next 12 months. Alternatively you may prefer to approach an IFA about your company’s pension requirements. Either way – please keep us informed.

We look forward to guiding you through AE. It’s something new to all of us!

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Entertaining and Meals Out – What is the correct tax treatment?

Entertaining and Meals Out – What is the correct tax treatment?

Entertaining clients & staffCan your company pay for the occasional meal out? Maybe. You might be surprised at how much entertainment is allowable if you play within the rules.

Let’s have a look at a few scenarios:

Two directors enjoy a meal out to discuss business
Not allowable for corporation tax. In fact if the company does pay for the meal then the benefit should be reported and National Insurance paid on form P11D. To avoid this needless complication either the company should not pay for such meals or they should be posted against the directors’ loan accounts.

A director or employee takes a client out for a meal
Unfortunately, as above, business entertainment is not allowable against taxable profits. HMRC Guidance found here.

Annual staff function (usually annual xmas party)
Annual staff functions are an allowable expense provided the following criteria are met: The cost of the event does not exceed £150 (inc VAT) per head. The function is annual and not a one-off. Such staff entertaining is allowable for corporation tax and no benefit in kind will arise on staff members thanks to the exemption given by Section 264 ITEPA 2003.

Finally, two company directors (husband and wife) enjoy a meal out together which they hold as their annual staff function. The company has no other employees. Is this tax deductible?

Yes, presuming the function costs no more than £150 per head, all staff are invited and the function is held annually.

Nb: This guidance is not to be confused with costs of travel and subsistence (i.e. modest lunches in the normal course of business travel). See my previous post here.

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Optimal Director’s Salary for 2015-16

Probably the most important post of the year for company directors!

Wage riseThe small owner managed limited company will usually pay their directors / shareholders with a small salary + dividends.

The level of the director’s salary is usually set in order to avoid any income tax and national insurance. On this basis the recommended remuneration package would be:

Upper limits for 2015-16

Salary – per annum: £8,060 (last year £7,956)
Salary – per month: £671 (last year £663)

Dividend – per annum: £30,891 (last year £30,518)
Dividend – per month: £2,574 (last year £2,543)

However, since the introduction of Employment Allowance some company directors will be better off paying themselves a £10,600 salary and slightly lower dividends (up to £28,606).

Employment Allowance means that most employers will be able to reduce their Class 1 National Insurance contributions (Employers NI) by up to £2,000.

So, increasing your salary and yet not having to pay the Employers NI will save the company £203 per director / shareholder.

Not everyone will benefit. Generally if you have other income you’d be better sticking with the above “usual” remuneration package.

Each client of Massey Accounting Company will be receiving a personalised recommendation shortly.

Enjoy saving tax?

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