Employers need to report all Benefits in Kind (BiKs), including those under the Optional Remuneration Arrangements (OpRAs) or “salary sacrifice” arrangements, to HMRC on form P11D from 6 April 2018, unless they are registered to voluntarily payroll benefits.
OpRAs are where an employee gives up the right to an amount of earnings in return for a Benefit in Kind (BiK) and includes flexible benefit packages with a cash option, cash allowances and salary sacrifice. All BiKs are now valued at the higher of the cash given up or the value of the BiK. Many previously non-taxable BiKs are now taxable, valued on the cash given up.
Note however that cars with emissions of 75g CO2 / km or less, pensions, pension advice, childcare and Cycle to Work benefits are unaffected.
Subject to a few specific exceptions, arrangements entered into on or before 5 April 2017 kept their previous tax treatment until the earlier of a renewal or variation of the arrangement. Such arrangements moved into the new rules on 6 April 2018.
The implementation date for the EU Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is 25th May. Despite Brexit, UK businesses will need to comply.
In order to maintain business links with EU countries, the UK will need to create EU equivalent rules and regulations. GDPR is an example of this and must be complied with if businesses want to trade with the EU. The GDPR regulations are more favourable to consumers than businesses.
As personal information becomes more regularly shared and businesses now hold huge volumes of customer data, there is a need for management and control over what businesses can do with that information.
GDPR gives regulators the ability to apply large fines of up to 20m Euro or 4% of global annual turnover – whichever is higher, for non-compliance. As such, businesses need to take these new regulations seriously and will need to implement changes to the way they operate, depending on the type of personal data that they hold. This will include customer records, databases, CRM systems, etc.
In addition, firms will need to ensure that they have appropriate policies and procedures in place with regard to any personal data that they hold or process.
It’s also worth reviewing supplier contracts to ensure that these contracts are GDPR compliant. Finally, your recruitment and HR policies and procedures should be reviewed to ensure that personal data is managed in a way that is compliant with GDPR.
There isn’t a lot of time left before GDPR comes into force. For businesses that haven’t yet prepared for GDPR, the best approach is probably to consider hiring an external consultant to advise the firm on getting up to date as quickly as possible.
The use of mobile phones in the workplace is a concern for many employers. It is important to tackle this issue when it arises as continued usage will have a detrimental impact on productivity and increase the risk of confidential data breaches. Taking a proactive and visible approach will help discourage other staff members from using their mobile phones in the future.
It is important that you implement a suitable mobile phone policy setting out your stance on the matter. Having the rules outlined in a policy will allow you to begin a disciplinary procedure, should one be considered necessary. The policy should be clear and specific, taking into account personal phone calls, text messages and social media usage. Due to advancements in technology, it would be useful to include devices such as tablets and smartwatches, and if you have an old policy you can update this accordingly. You should also specify in the policy where staff are required to keep their phones during working hours, such as out of sight or in a locked drawer.
Once a policy is in place it is important to address any incidents of unacceptable mobile phone usage. You should address the next individual caught using their mobile phone, asking them to refrain from doing so immediately. An informal meeting may be all that is needed with the individual to warn them of their misconduct and give them an opportunity to change their behaviour. If the individual has already been afforded this opportunity then you may wish to begin a formal disciplinary procedure on the matter, beginning with formal warnings that increase in seriousness should the misconduct continue.
Whilst taking a proactive approach to mobile phone usage will deter other staff members from following suit, you are advised to educate your workforce further on the matter. You could put up posters which discourage staff from using mobile phones or place notices on staff notice boards. For a less subtle approach, you may opt to hold a meeting with the entire workforce, issuing them with a copy of the policy on mobile phone usage and reminding them of their responsibility to adhere to the policy.
To succeed in tackling mobile phone usage, you should be proactive and look to discipline and educate their workforce in equal measure. At the same time, it is equally important that managers lead by example and abide by the rules of the policy, which will create a more unified and cooperative workforce.
The present threshold for compulsory registration is £85,000 and the threshold for voluntary deregistration is £83,000. As a rule, if at the end of any month, the value of your taxable supplies for the last 12 months has gone over the registration threshold, you are required to register.
However, if you can satisfy HMRC that the value of your taxable supplies will not exceed the deregistration threshold in the next 12 months, then you may not have to register. If you believe that you can satisfy HMRC that your future turnover will not exceed £83,000, you could apply for an exception from registration. A VAT1 form need not be done; the request should be made in writing to the Registration Unit setting out your turnover figures and the reasons supporting the request.
It is worth mentioning here that where a business exceeds the registration threshold on the forward look, where it is expected that it will exceed the threshold in the next 30 days alone rather than on the cumulative backward look, then the exception is not allowed.
Whether registering or applying for an exception, the normal 30-day time limit applies for notifying HMRC that he has exceeded the threshold.
Once granted the exception from registration, a person does not become immune from a liability to register in respect of the supplies they continue to make, and neither does the granting of exception from registration form a cut-off date for monitoring turnover. If the exception is granted, you should continue to monitor the value of your taxable supplies on a monthly basis to determine if a further liability arises by exceeding the registration threshold. However, HMRC will not require you to re-apply for the exception where the liability arises because of the earlier one-off contract.
The conditions for applying this concession are that:
- The turnover in any subsequent month is less than one-twelfth of the deregistration threshold at that time, and
- The trader has no reason to believe that they will exceed the deregistration threshold in the then following 12 months.
If a further liability arises and those conditions are not met, the trader will have to either register or re-apply for the exception.
It is likely over the coming months more clients will begin to seek guidance on the issue of Shared Parental Leave (ShPL). Whilst the scheme itself is not new, having first been introduced in April 2015, the government are making a concerted effort to increase awareness amongst the general public as a result of so few individuals choosing to take up the scheme in recent years.
You should be aware that ShPL allows eligible parents to share a maximum of 50 weeks leave between them to care for their child. SPL grants parents greater flexibility to divide the allocated time up between themselves, allowing them to choose between spending time off with their child together or having one parent spend time caring for the child alone whilst the other returns to work.
During the period of leave, eligible parents will be entitled to Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) currently set at £140.98 per week (set to rise to £145.18 in April 2018). It is important you understand that SPP does not cover the entirety of the leave period, instead parents are entitled to a maximum of 39 weeks of paid leave minus any weeks paid as Statutory Maternity or Adoption Pay.
The scheme looks to provide greater equality amongst parents, allowing mothers the possibility to return to their careers earlier, whilst giving fathers or partners the opportunity to take a greater share of the childcare. You need to be aware that not all employees will be eligible to take part in the scheme. Generally speaking for an employee to be eligible they must at least meet the following requirements:
- They must share responsibility for the child with either; their husband/wife or joint adopter; the child’s other parent or their partner
- They must have worked for your client for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date (or the date they are matched with their adopted child)
There are other more detailed terms employees must adhere to in order to be eligible for ShPL and ShPP, including strict notice requirements the employee has to meet. Having a clear policy in place regarding ShPL and ShPP will help your client manage this leave and can be used to increase awareness among staff, and managers. Additionally, they could arrange a training session on this leave to help inform employees about the way the leave works and the requirements in place.
For example; As part of the divorce settlement, it has been agreed that you will transfer your share of the marital home to your wife once she has raised the finance to buy you out. This might take long time, or you may have to sell the house. How can this affect your PPR claim?
Normal PPR relief would allow you to relieve the gain on the sale of this property, which had been your residence, for the period that you actually lived there and the last 18 months for any other reason. Depending on when your ex-wife manages to raise the finance this later period of absence may well be covered by these basic rules.
However, TCGA 1992 s225B legislates for the right to receive PPR on disposals in connection with the end of a marriage or civil partnership, where a partner ceases to live with their spouse or civil partner in what was their only or main residence. This gives you some leeway in that you can still be classed as accruing, and so make a claim for, PPR on the ex-marital home that you no longer live in due to the separation. There are no time limits given in the legislation for how long this PPR can accrue but conditions have to be met.
One of the conditions is that your disposal is part of the agreement on dissolution or annulment of the marriage or civil partnership, where separation is likely to be permanent or by order of the court.
Another condition is that your previous partner must also have this property as their only or main residence from the period that you move out to when you transfer your interest to them. This is also a key point that sometimes gets missed when the house is put up for sale and sold to a third party. To enable this claim, if you do decide to put the house on the market, you must transfer your share to your ex-wife before it is sold to a third party. Otherwise, you fail as you haven’t transferred your share to your ex-partner who is still living in the house.
The other pitfall is electing another property as your main residence in the period between moving out and transferring your interest to your ex-wife. If you buy a main residence in the interim you may fail the claim under s225B.
As the business world becomes ever more competitive, it has become increasingly important to create a business development culture within firms. To achieve this, the whole firm must shift its focus from a culture of working “in” the business to also taking some time to work “on” the business.
Everyone has a role to play in business development
The responsibility for business development shouldn’t just lie with your sales team or your marketing team. Everyone has a role to play in developing new business for your firm. Every employee has a network of friends and associates. Perhaps some of those friends could become customers of your firm – you just need your employees to ask them for their business.
Provide training and support
Business development skills can be learned and cultivated. With the right training, feedback and support, your people can learn how to go about effective business development. It can be useful to conduct regular meetings with your people in order to brainstorm ideas and reinforce the message that “everyone can help to bring in a new customer or two”.
Remuneration and reward
Ensure that your business has effective measurement, accountability and reward structures in place for business development activity. Perhaps you can offer a percentage commission to anyone who brings in a new customer. In addition, you can create objectives for each team member, which tie in with an annual bonus structure.
Ensure that you communicate the firm’s business development goals to all team members across the business. Give recognition to those who have contributed to the firm’s business development efforts and celebrate successes. Internal communication channels can also be useful to ask your team members for ideas in terms of improvements that can be made in order to ensure that everyone is invested in the overall objectives of the firm.
A firm that creates a culture of business development won’t have to rely on a few “rainmakers” to feed the entire business. Instead, everyone can play their part and benefit from creating a client focused firm where everyone can contribute to the success of the business and be rewarded for doing so.