Using the starter PAYE checklist

Employers that take on a new employee need to work out which tax code and starter declaration to use in their payroll software. Incorrect tax codes can lead to a new employee paying more tax than is due.

Employers will require certain information from their new employee in order to ensure that the correct tax code and starter declaration information is entered on the payroll software. In most cases, all the necessary information can be found on the employees P45. It is important to remind new employees to bring this with them on their first day of work.

If the employee does not have a P45 the necessary information can be collected by asking the new employee to complete HMRC's online starter PAYE checklist. A paper version can also be completed if the new employee is unable to use the online version. This information must be held in the employers’ payroll records for the current year and the 3 following tax years. Once the information has been collated, HMRC’s online tool can be used to work out the employee’s tax code.

The starter checklist can be used by a new employee if:

  • they have a student or postgraduate loan;
  • their personal details are different to those shown on their P45;
  • they do not have a P45; and
  • they have been sent to work temporarily in the UK by their overseas employer.

Once the checklist has been completed, the new employee should email, post or give the completed list to their employer. There is no requirement to send the checklist to HMRC.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 08-04-2024

What are the off-payroll working rules?

The rules for individuals providing services via an intermediary such as a personal service company (PSC) are complex. The rules apply if the worker who provides services to a client through their own intermediary would have been an employee if they were providing their services directly to that client.

The off-payroll working rules usually shift the responsibility for deciding whether the intermediaries’ legislation applies, known as IR35, from the intermediary itself to the client receiving the service. In most cases, the client will be responsible for determining the employment status of the worker. However, if a worker provides services to a small client outside the public sector, the worker’s intermediary is responsible for deciding the worker’s employment status and if the rules apply.

You may be affected by these rules if you are:

  • a worker who provides their services through their own intermediary to a client;
  • a client who receives services from a worker through their intermediary; or
  • an agency or other supplier providing workers’ services through their intermediary.

There are different rules that apply to those working for a small business and those working for medium or large-sized businesses.

Private sector companies and voluntary sector organisations are considered medium or large-sized if they meet two or more of the following conditions:

  • have an annual turnover of more than £10.2 million;
  • have a balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million; 
  • have more than 50 employees.

There are a number of scenarios that fall outside the off-payroll working rules. If you think you might be affected, we would be happy to help with looking at this issue.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 25-03-2024

Apprenticeships boost

From the start of April 2024, the government will increase the amount of funding that employers who are paying the apprenticeship levy can pass onto other businesses. Apprenticeships can currently be funded by a levy paying employer transferring up to 25% of their unused levy to a different employer. 

Under the new measures, large employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer up to 50% of their funds to support other businesses, including smaller firms, to take on apprentices. This will help SMEs hire more apprentices by reducing costs and enabling more employers to get the skilled workers they need while unlocking more opportunities for young people in a huge range of sectors, industries, and professions. 

Hundreds of large levy-paying employers have already taken advantage of the opportunity to transfer their unused levy funds to other businesses. As of December 2023, 530 employers including ASDA, HomeServe and BT Group had pledged to transfer over £35.39 million to support apprenticeships in businesses of all sizes.

Government has also announced an additional £60m of new government funding to fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses from 1 April 2024 by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21 years.

This will remove the need for small employers to meet some of the cost of training and saves time and costs for providers like further education colleges who currently need to source funding separately from the government and businesses. 

Source:Other| 18-03-2024

Reporting employee changes to HMRC

There are rules that businesses must follow when they are reporting employee changes. These changes must be sent to HMRC using a Full Payment Submission (FPS). The FPS is a submission that is required every time you pay your employees and must be submitted on or before the usual date you pay your employees. The information provided on an FPS helps HMRC ensure that they have the up-to-date information on your employees.

Additional information is required on your FPS if:

  • it includes a new employee
  • an employee leaves
  • you start paying someone a workplace pension
  • it’s the last report of the tax year
  • an employee changes their address

You may also need to tell HMRC if an employee:

  • becomes a director
  • reaches State Pension age
  • goes to work abroad
  • goes on jury service
  • dies
  • joins or leaves a contracted-out company pension
  • turns 16
  • is called up as a reservist
  • changes gender
Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 05-02-2024

Tax and working from home

Employees who are working from home may be able to claim tax relief for bills they pay that are work related.

Employers may reimburse employees for the additional household expenses incurred through regularly working at home. The relief covers expenses such as business telephone calls or additional heating and lighting costs. Expenses that cover both private and business use (such as broadband) cannot be claimed. Employees may also be able to claim tax relief on equipment they have bought, such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone.

Employers can pay up to £6 per week (or £26 a month for employees paid monthly) to cover an employee’s additional costs if they have to work from home. Employees do not need to keep any specific records if they receive this fixed amount.

If the expenses or allowances are not paid by the employer, the employee can claim tax relief directly from HMRC. Employees will receive tax relief based on their highest tax rate. For example, if they pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week, they will receive £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6). Employees can claim more than the quoted amount but will need to provide evidence to HMRC. HMRC will accept backdated claims for up to 4 years.

Employees may also be able to claim tax relief for using their own vehicle, be it a car, van, motorcycle or bike. As a general rule, there is no tax relief for ordinary commuting to and from your regular place of work. The rules are different for temporary workplaces where the expense is usually allowable or if an employee uses their own vehicle to undertake other business related mileage.

Note, that if an employee agreed with their employer to work at home voluntarily, or they choose to work at home, they cannot claim tax relief on the bills they have to pay. If an employee previously claimed tax relief when they worked from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19), they may no longer be eligible for relief.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 21-01-2024

Claiming relief for work related expenses

If your employer has reimbursed you in full for any work related expenses you will obviously be unable to make a claim for tax relief for those same expenses.

But if you have only received part of your expenses or none at all, then you can make a claim to HMRC.

In a recent press release on this topic HMRC said:

Every penny counts at Christmas and employees eligible to claim a tax refund on any work-related expenses are being urged to do it directly through HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to guarantee receiving 100% of their claim.

Whether working in hospitality or retail, taking on a seasonal second job as a delivery driver, or even becoming Santa’s elf for the month, the most straightforward way to claim – and keep – all of a tax refund is through HMRC’s online service. A claim takes just 15 minutes.

Employees can use the online service to check eligibility and get a full list of work expenses they could claim a tax refund for, including: 

  • cleaning, replacing or repairing a uniform or work clothing
  • using their own vehicle for work including business mileage
  • professional subscriptions they’ve paid for, that are needed to do their job”

Suzanne Newton, HMRC’s Interim Director General for Transformation, said: 

Christmas can be an expensive time of the year and for many, it could be a good opportunity to claim a tax refund on work expenses to boost finances. Latest figures show the average claim is £125 a year. But the only way to guarantee receiving 100% of your eligible refund is by claiming direct through HMRC. Just search ‘tax relief for expenses’ on GOV.UK to find out more.”

Source:Other| 01-01-2024

Employing staff for first time

There are a multitude of rules and regulations that you must be aware of when you start employing staff for the first time.

HMRC’s guidance sets out some important issues to be aware of when becoming an employer.

  1. Decide how much to pay someone – you must pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage.
  2. Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well.
  3. Check if you need to apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one, e.g., with vulnerable people or security.
  4. Get employment insurance – you need employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.
  5. Send details of the job (including terms and conditions) in writing to your employee. You need to give your employee a written statement of employment if you are employing someone for more than one month.
  6. Ensure that you register as an employer with HMRC. You can do this up to four weeks before you pay your new staff. This process must also be completed by directors of a limited company who employ themselves to work in the company.
  7. Check if you need to automatically enrol your staff into a workplace pension scheme.

When paying staff, you generally have the choice to use a payroll provider or run your own payroll scheme. If you decide to run your own payroll you must choose suitable payroll software. Setting up payroll for the first time can be an onerous and complex task.

We can of course help advise you to ensure you meet the necessary requirements in the most efficient way possible.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 17-12-2023

Working from home tax relief

Employees who working from home may be able to claim tax relief for some of the bills they pay that are related to your work.

Employers may reimburse employees for the additional household expenses incurred if regularly working at home. The relief covers expenses such as business telephone calls or heating and lighting costs for the home-based workspace. Expenses that are for covering private and business use (such as broadband) cannot be claimed. Employees may also claim tax relief on equipment they have bought, such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone.

Employers can pay up to £6 per week (or £26 a month for employees paid monthly) to cover an employee’s additional costs if they have to work from home. Employees do not need to keep any specific records if they receive this fixed amount.

If the expenses or allowances are not paid by the employer, then the employee can claim tax relief directly from HMRC. Employees will qualify for tax relief based on their highest tax rate. For example, if they pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week, they will receive £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6). Employees can claim more than the quoted amount but will need to provide evidence to HMRC. HMRC will accept backdated claims for up to 4 years.

Employees may also be able to claim tax relief for using their own vehicle, be it a car, van, motorcycle or bike. As a general rule, there is no tax relief for ordinary commuting to and from your regular place of work. The rules are different for temporary workplaces where the expense is usually allowable or if and when an employee uses their own vehicle to undertake other business related mileage.

Note, that if an employee who agreed with their employer to work at home voluntarily, or if they choose to work at home, they cannot claim tax relief on the bills they have to pay. If an employee previously claimed tax relief when they worked from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19), they may no longer be eligible for relief.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 04-12-2023

Childcare support from HMRC

Parents may be eligible to receive childcare support from HMRC using the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme. The TFC scheme can help parents of children aged up to 11 years old (17 for those with certain disabilities) to pay for approved childcare.

The TFC scheme assists working families with their childcare costs. There are many registered childcare providers including childminders, nurseries, breakfast and after school clubs and approved play schemes signed up across the UK. Parents can pay into their account regularly and save up their TFC allowance to use during school holidays. 

The TFC scheme provides for a government top-up on parental contributions. For every £8 contributed by parents an additional £2 top up payment will be funded by Government up to a maximum total of £10,000 per child per year. This will give parents an annual saving of up to £2,000 per child (and up to £4,000 for disabled children until the age of 17) in childcare costs. 

The TFC scheme is open to all qualifying parents including the self-employed and those on a minimum wage. The scheme is also available to parents on paid sick leave as well as those on paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave. In order to be eligible to use the scheme parents will have to be in work at least 16 hours per week and earn at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. If either parent earns more than £100,000, both parents are unable to use the scheme.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 06-11-2023

Check if you need to pay someone through PAYE

Employers usually have to pay employees through PAYE if they earn £123 or more a week (£533 a month or £6,396 a year). There is no requirement to pay self-employed workers through PAYE.

HMRC’s guidance states that:

As a general rule, someone is:

  • employed if they work for you and do not have any of the risks associated with running a business; and
  • self-employed if they run their own business and are responsible for its success or failure.

There are specific rules for temporary or agency workers. Employers need to operate PAYE on temporary workers that they pay directly, as long as they’re classed as an employee. There is not usually a requirement to operate PAYE if a worker is paid by an agency, unless the agency is based abroad and does not have either a trading address or a representative in the UK.

Employers that take on a new employee need to work out which tax code and starter declaration to use in their payroll software. Incorrect tax codes can lead to the new employee paying more tax than is due.

The necessary information can be collected from the employee’s P45 or by asking the new employee to complete HMRC's starter checklist (if they do not have a recent P45 – this checklist replaced the P46).

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 09-10-2023