Tax-free childcare roll out

The implementation of Tax-Free Childcare, the new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare, is being rolled out to eligible parents in stages.

The scheme first made its debut in April 2017 and although there have been initial systems problems, HMRC’s aim is to have the scheme open to all eligible parents by 14 February 2018. Application is made online through the Childcare Choices site www.childcarechoices.gov.uk and applications can be made for all eligible children at the same time.

Under Tax-Free Childcare, for every £8 the parent pays, the government provides a £2 top-up, to a maximum of £2,000 per child each year – with a higher limit of £4,000 for disabled children. This gives a total childcare pot of £10,000, or £20,000 for disabled children. To be eligible, parents must generally have minimum weekly earnings of at least £120 each. There is also an upper earnings limit of £100,000.

Compensation may be available in certain circumstances where a parent:

  • is unable to complete an application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • is unable to access their childcare account
  • or doesn’t get a decision about whether they are eligible, without explanation, for more than 20 days.

Those employing a nanny should be able to use the childcare account to pay their PAYE tax and National Insurance. Delays in getting this system working may also give grounds for compensation. Application is made online GOV.UK childcare-service-compensation 

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400 or https://www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/contact-us 

National Minimum Wage – where are we now?

Falling foul of the National Minimum Wage rules can be expensive – as well as having serious implications for employer reputation. Many firms have been named and shamed for getting it wrong – are you compliant?

Employer errors

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) keeps appearing in the headlines. Recently the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that some 230 employers had been named and shamed for failing to pay NMW and National Living Wage (NLW). The retail, hairdressing and hospitality sectors were among the most non-compliant. Because of BEIS intervention, more than 13,000 low-paid employees were due to receive £2 million in back pay.

But the final price tag for employers who hadn’t kept the rules was much higher. Between them, they were also fined a record £1.9 million. Business Minister Margot James said there was a clear message to employers. ‘The government will come down hard on those who break the law.’

BEIS report that common employer errors include deducting money from employees to pay for uniforms, not accounting for overtime and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers. So, what is the latest on NMW and how do employers keep on the right side of the law?

NMW and NLW – the basics

NMW is the least pay per hour most workers are entitled to by law. The rate is based on a worker’s age and whether they are an apprentice. NLW applies to working people aged 25 and over. From 1 April 2017, the rate ranges from £7.50 per hour for those aged 25 and over, to £3.50 per hour for apprentices under 19, or for those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship. Changes to NLW rates are in the pipeline from April 2018, so employers may need to plan for these now.

NMW/NLW rates are reviewed by the Low Pay Commission, but it is HMRC who police the system. Employers can be faced with court action if they don’t pay NMW/NLW. Penalties for non-compliance stand at 200% of the back pay due to workers. The maximum penalty per worker is £20,000. There is a provision to reduce a penalty by half if unpaid wages and penalty are both paid within 14 days.

Not everyone qualifies for the NMW/NLW. These include people who are self-employed: volunteers: company directors: family members, or people who live with an employer and carry out household tasks eg au pairs.

But most other workers are entitled to NMW/NLW, including pieceworkers, home workers, agency workers, commission workers, part-time workers and casual workers. There are also rules regarding agricultural and horticultural workers, with slightly different small print for England, Scotland and Wales.

In calculating pay for minimum wage purposes, the starting point is total pay in a pay reference period – before deducting income tax and National Insurance. Some payments are not included, such as loans and pension payments.

To add to the complexity, there is also something called the Living Wage, which is an hourly pay rate, set independently by the Living Wage Foundation. This isn’t anything to do with the government, and any employer who pays this does so entirely voluntarily.

Latest guidance: social care workers

HMRC have updated their guidance to clarify how NMW applies in the social care sector for workers carrying out ‘sleepover shifts’, following confusion over whether such shifts qualified for NMW. BEIS had suggested sleepover shifts carried out before 26 July 2017 qualified for a flat rate allowance, not NMW. But the decision is that NMW does apply, and applies retrospectively.

This could have left employers with bills of up to six years in back pay and penalties. But from 26 July, enforcement activity for sleepover shift pay is suspended until November, with retrospective penalties for sleepover shifts before 26 July 2017 waived. The actual back pay is still due, unless employers can show they can’t pay. Although it is envisaged that underpayments will be pursued from this date, the government says it is committed to minimising the impact of future minimum wage enforcement in the social care sector.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400

Running a payroll can be time consuming and complicated and divert resources from the core activities of your business. We can address this by installing payroll software and training your staff. Outsourcing this activity also helps relieve the pressure and we can offer cost-effective solutions. We are able to provide the complete service, what ever the size or complexity of your business, or simply provide support when needed. If you would like a quote then please call 0116 2423400 or email info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Proposals to extend pensions auto enrollment to younger workers

The government has announced proposals to extend pensions auto enrolment to include younger workers and to amend the way in which contributions are calculated.

According to the press release:

The review’s recommendations, which will now be progressed and legislated for where necessary, will see:

  • automatic enrolment duties continuing to apply to all employers, regardless of sector and size
  • young people, from 18 years old, benefiting from automatic enrolment, introducing 900,000 young people into saving an additional £800 million through a workplace pension
  • workplace pension contributions calculated from the first pound earned, rather than from a lower earnings limit – this will bring an extra £2.6 billion into pension saving, improving incentives for people in multiple jobs to opt-in, and simplifying the way employers assess their workforces and calculate contributions
  • the earnings trigger remaining at £10,000 for 2018/19, subject to annual reviews
  • contribution levels reviewed after the implementation of the 8% contribution rate in 2019
  • the government testing a series of ‘targeted interventions’ – including through opportunities to work with organisations who act as ‘touch points’ for the 4.8 million self-employed people, such as banks and those who contract labour – to explore how technology can be used to increase their pension saving.’

Under auto enrolment, employers are required to automatically enrol all eligible workers (generally employees) into a workplace pension scheme and pay a minimum contribution into their pension. Employees do, however, have the right to opt out of auto enrolment.

Currently workers who are aged between 22 and the State Pension Age with earnings of £10,000 per annum are eligible to be auto enrolled. Younger employees and those who do not meet the minimum income requirement can opt to make pension contributions.

The government plan to reduce the lower age limit to 18 by the mid 2020s, in order to encourage younger workers to get into ‘the habit of saving’.

David Gaulke, Work and Pensions Secretary said:

‘We are committed to enabling more people to save while they are working, so that they can enjoy greater financial security when they retire. We know the world of work is changing, so it is only right that pension saving does too. This ambitious package will see more people than ever before helped onto the path towards building a secure retirement.’

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), stated:

‘Requiring employers to contribute from the first pound of earnings will mean that, by 2019, hundreds of thousands of small employers will have to pay up to £180 more per employee each year. ‘For employers in certain sectors, such as care and hospitality where margins are tight, this will really add up.’

Contact us if you would like help with payroll and auto enrolment. 0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Tax Events are due on 19th January 2018

The following Tax Events are due on 19th January 2018:

Business Tax Events

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th October 2017 to 5th January 2018

This deadline is relevant to small employers and contractors only. As a small employer with income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions of less than £1,500 a month you are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions on a quarterly basis.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is 22nd January 2018. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th January 2018.

This deadline is relevant to employers who have made PAYE deductions from their employees’ salaries and to contractors who have paid subcontractors under the CIS.

Employers are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions. Contractors are required to make payment to HMRC of the tax deductions made from subcontractors under the CIS.  

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is 22nd January 2018. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

The Apprenticeship Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy is charged on employers’ “paybills” at a rate of 0.5%. The levy is payable through Pay as You Earn (PAYE) and is payable alongside income tax and National Insurance. To keep the process as simple as possible “paybill” will be based on total employee earnings subject to Class 1 secondary NICs.

Each employer receives one annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. There is a connected persons rule, similar to the Employment Allowance connected persons rule, so employers who operate multiple payrolls are only be able to claim one allowance.

1.) If you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year, you must pay the apprenticeship levy from 6 April 2017. You can find out how to do this here.

You will report and pay your levy to HMRC through the PAYE process.

The levy will not affect the way you fund training for apprentices who started an apprenticeship programme before 1 May 2017. You’ll need to carry on funding training for these apprentices under the terms and conditions that were in place at the time the apprenticeship started.

Detail on how to setup and use your online account can be found here.

2.) If you do not have to pay the levy then you can still receive support to pay your apprentices.

From May 2017, you will pay 10% towards to the cost of apprenticeship training and government will pay the rest (90%), up to the funding band maximum.

If you do not pay the levy, you won’t be able to use the apprenticeship service to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment until at least 2018.

Instead, you’ll need to agree a payment schedule with the provider and pay them directly for the training. The provider must prove that you have paid your contributions as a condition of government paying its contribution.

There are 2 different types of apprenticeships to choose from:

  • apprenticeship standards– each standard covers a specific occupation and sets out the core skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need; they are developed by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’
  • apprenticeship frameworks– a series of work-related vocational and professional qualifications, with workplace- and classroom-based training

To choose training:

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please contact us on 0116 2423400

Becky Edwards, Payroll Manager 

Tax Events are due on 19th October 2017

The following Tax Events are due on 19th October 2017:

Business Tax Events

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th July 2017 to 5th October 2017.

This deadline is relevant to small employers only. As a small employer with income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions of less than £1,500 a month you are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions on a quarterly basis.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 20th October 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday 22nd October. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th October 2017.

This deadline is relevant to employers who have made PAYE deductions from their employees’ salaries and to contractors who have paid subcontractors under the CIS.

Employers are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions. Contractors are required to make payment to HMRC of the tax deductions made from subcontractors under the CIS.  

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 20th October 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday 22nd October. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

Tax and NI due under a 2016/17 PAYE Settlement Agreement.

This deadline is relevant for employers who have entered into a PAYE settlement agreement to pay tax and national insurance in respect of benefits in kind for their employees for the year ended 5th April 2017.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 20th October 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday 22nd October.

If you wish to discuss this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400

The Employment Allowance

What is employment allowance?

Employment Allowance is a National Insurance credit that is offset against Class 1 Employer’s NI. The maximum amount that can be claimed in each tax year is £3,000, although you can still claim if you pay less than £3,000. When it was first introduced in 2014 you could claim up to £2,000 but it increased to £3,000 in April 2016.

Eligibility

You can claim if:

  • You are a business, including sole traders and partnerships, or charity paying Employers Class 1 NI.
  • You can claim if you employ a care or support worker.

You can’t claim if:

  • You are a director and the only employee.
  • You employ someone for domestic work e.g. Cleaner or Gardener
  • You are a business that does more than half of your work in the public sector, for example the NHS.
  • If you have more than one employer PAYE reference, you can only claim against one of them.

How to claim Employment Allowance?

You would claim through your Payroll software and tick the box next to the “Eligible for Employment Allowance”. This will then send an EPS (Employer Payment Summary) to HMRC to let them know you’re eligible and to start claiming it.

In Sage 50 Payroll:

  • Go to “Company” on the left hand menu.
  • Then “Settings”.
  • Tick the box as shown.

If you use HMRC’s Basic PAYE tools:

  • Select the relevant Employer in the menu on the homepage.
  • Then select “Change employer details”.
  • Tick “Yes” in the “Employment Allowance indicator”.
  • Send an EPS as normal.

Stopping your claim:

You only need to stop your Employment Allowance claim if you stop being eligible. You do not need to stop your claim manually if you reach the £3,000 limit before the end of the tax year, this doesn’t make you ineligible. If you do stop this claim before the end of the tax year, any credit you have already been given will be removed and you will have to pay any Class 1 NI due.

When to claim?

You can claim at any time in the tax year. If you claim late and you don’t use your Employment Allowance against Class 1 National Insurance you have already paid to HMRC you can ask them to offset it against other liabilities e.g. Corporation Tax and VAT. If you have no outstanding liabilities you can also ask them to refund it directly to you.

If you were eligible, you can claim unused Employment Allowance for up to 4 previous years. Currently you can claim back the allowance from when it was first introduced in 2014.

If you need any further guidance HMRC’s employer guide to Employment Allowance is a very useful resource https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employment-allowance

If you have any questions on the above or would like any more information, please feel free to contact us on 0116 242 3400.

Polly Dennis, Payroll Apprentice

The Right to work in the UK

Do you know how to carry out a ‘right to work in the UK check?

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 places a duty on employers to carry out checks to confirm someone’s right to work in the UK before employing them.

Punishments for employing an illegal worker are:

  • £20,000 for each illegal worker employed
  • Up to five years imprisonment for knowingly employing an illegal worker

Some employers may not know the specific checks and check-ups that must be used when employing a new worker:

The ‘Right to work Check’

Employers must carry out a ‘Right to work check’ on a worker before the employment begins to ensure that he or she is legally allowed to work in the UK and do the work in question. This check should be carried out on all employees to maintain accuracy and avoid any discrimination.

The ‘Right to work check’ means that an employer must check that a document, provided by the worker, is acceptable for showing the employee’s permission to work in the UK. There are three key steps to determine the check:

  1. Obtain the original version of one or more of the permitted documents
  2. Check the validity in the presence of the holder (worker)
  3. Take and retain a clear copy of the document in an un-editable format, e.g. PDF / JPEG, and record the date of the check.

These copies must be kept until 2 years after the employment ends.

List A and List B

HMRC provides two lists that show the documents required to prove a worker has the right to work in the UK. List A gives the documents that show the holder has an ongoing right to work in the UK. If an employer checks these correctly, they have an excuse against payment of a civil fine for the duration of that person’s employment.

Alternatively, List B gives documents that show the holder has the right to work in the UK for a limited time only. If an employer checks these correctly, they have an excuse against a civil penalty for a limited time. To retain a statutory excuse, another check must be carried out towards the end of this period.

HMRC’s employers guide to acceptable right to work documents explains list A and list B:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acceptable-right-to-work-documents-an-employers-guide

HMRC also provide an online interactive tool on checking somebodies right to work in the UK. This should be used when carrying out the checking of documents, if extra clarification is needed:

If you have any questions on the above or would like any more information, please feel free to contact us on 0116 2423400.

Zahra Bates, Payroll Assistant 

Construction Industry – Subcontractor verification changes from 6 April 2017

Construction Industry – subcontractor verification’s

HMRC have confirmed in the latest Employer Bulletin that changes will be made to the verification of subcontractors in the construction Industry Scheme (CIS) from 6 April 2017.

From 6 April 2017, contractors must use an approved method of electronic communication to verify their subcontractors. So from 6 April 2017 HMRC will no longer accept any telephone calls to verify subcontractors and from then contractors must verify subcontractors using:

  • the free HMRC CIS online service, or
  • commercial CIS software.

This change is one of a series made to CIS to increase HMRC efficiency and accuracy, and to reduce administration. HMRC are also reminding contractors that they have also introduced additional features of the online system including the ability to amend returns online, and the addition of an online message/alert service.

Please contact us for help with CIS issues. 0116 2423400

National Living/Minimum Wage Changes from 1 April 2017

From 1 April 2017 the National Living/Minimum Wage rates will increase as follows:

  • £7.50 an hour for workers aged 25 and over – previously £7.20
  • £7.05 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24  – previously £6.95
  • £5.60 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 – previously £5.55
  • £4.05 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17 – previously £4.00
  • £3.50 an hour for apprentices under 19 or in their first year – previously £3.40

If you are paying any employees with reference to the National Living/Minimum Wage you will need to amend the hourly rates accordingly.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact us 

 

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