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Month: December 2021

Company cars and vans

Company cars and vans

A tax charge may arise if an employee is able to use a company car or van for private use. A further charge will arise if you provide the fuel for any private use. The taxable amounts that will apply for 2022/23 have now been announced.

Company cars

Where an employee has a company car, if that car is available for their private use, they are taxed on the benefit of that private use.

The amount that is charged to tax is a percentage (the appropriate percentage) of the car’s list price and any optional accessories (as reduced for any capital contributions up to £5,000). The charge is reduced where the car is not available for the full year, and also for any private use contributions made by the employee.

The appropriate percentage depends on the car’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A supplement of 4% applies to diesel cars not meeting the RDE2 standard. The appropriate percentage is capped at 37%.

The appropriate percentages applying for 2022/23 are available on the website.

Electric cars

For 2022/23, electric cars are taxed on 2% of their list price, regardless of the date of first registration.

Fuel charge

If the employee is provided with fuel for private journeys, a separate fuel benefit charge applies. The taxable amount is the appropriate percentage used to calculate the car benefit charge multiplied by the set figure for the tax year. For 2022/23, this is £25,300.

There is no charge if you pay for electricity for private use of an electric company car.

Company vans

If you provide an employee with a company van, and they have unrestricted private use of that van, unless the van is an electric van, a tax charge will arise. For 2022/23, the taxable amount is £3,500. If you also provide fuel for private journeys, a separate fuel charge arises. For 2022/23, this is valued at £688.

There is no charge where an employee uses an electric company van for private use.

Get in touch

We can help you understand how to provide tax efficient company cars and vans to your employees.

December 20, 2021

Seasonal gifts to employees

Seasonal gifts to employees

Christmas is a time of giving, and you may wish to give your employees a small token of your appreciation for their work during the year. To prevent the gift being accompanied by an unwanted tax liability, you can take advantage of the trivial benefits exemption to keep the gift tax-free.

Scope of the exemption

Where you provide an employee with a low-cost benefit, the employee is not taxed on the provision of that benefit as long as the following conditions are met:

  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher;
  • the cost of the benefit is not more than £50;
  • the benefit is not made available to the employee under a salary sacrifice arrangement or under a contractual obligation; and
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services being performed, or in anticipation of them being performed.

Benefits that meet these conditions are known as trivial benefits.

Where the conditions are met, if the recipient is a director of a close company, the total value of tax-free trivial benefits that they can enjoy in the tax year is capped at £300. Otherwise, there is no limit on the number of trivial benefits which can be given to an employee tax-free each year.

Application of the exemption to Christmas gifts

The trivial benefits exemption can be used to ensure that gifts typically given to employees at Christmas, such as chocolates, wine, a turkey or a hamper, can be given tax-free. The key is to keep the cost below £50.

It will normally be straightforward to work out the cost of an item, but where it is difficult to determine the individual cost, the average cost can be used instead.

Lavish gifts

The trivial benefits exemption only applies if you give modest gifts costing £50 or less; lavish gifts will fall outside the exemption. The £50 limit is not a tax-free allowance, and if the cost of the gift is more than £50, the full amount will be taxable, not just the excess over £50. For example, if you give your employees a Christmas hamper costing £200, the taxable amount is £200, not £150 (the excess over £50).

If you do wish to give your employees an expensive Christmas gift, you may wish to pay the associated tax on their behalf by including it within a PAYE Settlement Agreement.

The gift card trap

To enable employees to choose their own gift, you may prefer to give a gift card or access to an app which lets them choose a treat. However, it is necessary to tread carefully here. If an employee uses an app or is given a gift card which may be topped up, the cost of the benefit is the total cost in the tax year, not the cost each time the app or gift card is used. This may mean that while each individual item purchased from the app or gift card costs less than £50, if the annual cost is more than £50, the benefit will not be a trivial benefit, and the exemption will not be available.

Speak to us

To check whether your Christmas gifts fall within the scope of the exemption, please get in touch.

December 13, 2021

Paying employees early at Christmas

Paying employees early at Christmas

Under Real Time Information (RTI), you must report payments made to employees and associated deductions to HMRC on a Full Payment Submission (FPS) at or before the time at which you make the payment to your employee. However, special rules apply which modify this rule if you pay your employees earlier than usual over the Christmas period. This may be the case if you shut down over Christmas and New Year.

Use your normal payday

Even if you pay your employees earlier than usual in December, you should use the normal payday as the payment date on the FPS, and submit the FPS by this date. In this instance, the FPS may well be submitted after the date that you paid your employees. However, as the submission deadline is the normal payday, as long as you send your FPS in by that date, it will not be treated as being late.

For example, if you normally pay your employees monthly on the 28Th of the month, but in December you are shut for two weeks and pay them on 17 December 2021 instead, when you send the FPS to HMRC, you should still enter ’28 December 2021’ as the payment date. You must ensure that you send the FPS to HMRC by 28 December 2021; although it will probably be more convenient to send it on 17 December 2021 when you do your payroll and pay your employees, you do not have to submit the FPS by this date.

Impact on Universal Credit

It is important that you follow the rules set out above if you pay your employees early at Christmas to ensure that any employees who receive Universal Credit will receive the correct payments. You should also use the normal payment date if you pay employees early because the usual payday falls on a bank holiday. Following these rules prevents two months’ payments being taken into account in one Universal Credit assessment period and none in another assessment period, and stops Universal Credit claimants losing out on the work allowance. This is an amount of earnings that the claimant is able to keep before earnings start to be deducted from their Universal Credit entitlement.

As Universal Credit is a means tested benefit, the amount paid is reduced when income rises.

Court of Appeal decision

In November 2020, the Court of Appeal issued a judgment in the case of Johnson and Others. Following the case, where people are paid monthly and as a result of a payment being made earlier than usual (for example, at Christmas), two payments are made in one assessment period and none in another, one set of earnings is taken into account in each assessment period so that the claimant does not lose the work allowance.

The reallocation of earnings only happens where people are paid monthly. Where people are paid weekly, fortnightly or four-weekly, there will always be assessment periods where additional payments of earnings are taken into account. For example, employees who are paid four-weekly will normally only receive one payment in a Universal Credit assessment period, but in one period each year, two payments of earnings will be taken into account as employees who are paid four-weekly receive 13 payments each year. Moving earnings to another period would simply change the assessment period in which two payments are taken into account.

Contact us

If you will be paying your employees on a day other than your usual payday in December and are unsure how and when to report the payments to HMRC, please get in touch. We can help.

December 6, 2021