New edition of the employer bulletin
HMRC has released the latest issue of the ‘Employer Bulletin’ publication which includes summaries of recent changes and updates that have been announced which are relevant to employers and agents.
The topics covered in the latest edition include the following:
- Autumn Statement. A summary of measures announced as part of the Autumn Statement that relate to employers. This includes changes to the treatment of termination payments, legislating to introduce a time limit for ‘making good’ on benefits in kind and extending tax relief for payments and benefits in respect of employee liabilities and indemnity insurance.
- Salary sacrifice schemes. There will be changes to the tax rules applied to salary sacrifice schemes from April 2017. It has also been confirmed that all arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected for up to a year and arrangements in place before April 2017 for cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected for up to 4 years. There will be a number of BiKs including employer pension contributions, employer-supported childcare, provision of workplace nurseries and Ultra-Low Emission Cars that will not be affected by the new rules.
- Trivial benefits in kind (BiKs). The new trivial benefits in kind (BiK) regime came into effect on 6 April 2016. The new statutory exemption applies to small non-cash benefits like a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers given occasionally to employees or any other benefit in kind classed as ‘trivial’ that falls within the exemption. There is no limit to the number of trivial BiKs that can be provided to an employee in a tax year provided all the relevant conditions are met.
- Apprenticeship levy. HMRC has published guidance on paying the new apprenticeship levy. The new levy comes into effect from 6 April 2017 at a rate of 0.5% of the employer’s ‘pay bill’. Only employers with annual pay bills greater than £3 million, and some connected companies and charities with pay bills less than this amount, will be required to pay the apprenticeship levy. The apprenticeship levy applies to all employers operating in the UK, not just employers in England and not just employers already employing apprentices.
- Automatic re-enrolment. Automatic re-enrolment for pension schemes happens every three years after an employer’s staging date and is a repeat of the duties they carried out first time round. If staff members opted out before, or ceased active membership of the scheme, they’ll need to be put back in the scheme. Re-enrolment and the re-declaration of compliance are legal requirements and employers whose schemes have passed the 3-year threshold need to ensure they are compliant with the rules.