Could you get more out of your business through environmentally-friendly travel?

Electric car charging points – are you ready?

With more diverse and affordable electric vehicles (EV) available, drivers are increasingly moving away from fossil fuel cars. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) facilitates the financing of EV charging stations for home and business users. With the “Workplace Charge Scheme” (WCS) business customers can get 75% of purchase and installation costs up to £500 per socket (max. 20 sockets across all sites).

The benefits are manifold: the grants enable you to charge company cars and fleet vehicles to save on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, shrinking your carbon footprint to meet and exceed sustainability goals. By offering EV charging, you also create a better workplace for your employees, and provide a premium service to your clients, visitors and other user groups who have been granted access to your stations.

If you are looking for a trained and approved installer let us know as we have reliablecontactswho can help you.

Cycle to work scheme limits increased

The Cycle to Work scheme was introduced in 1999 and gave employees the opportunity to buy a bike and safety clothing for travelling to work tax-free and effectively save up to 42% of the cost. Initially there was a spending limit of £1,000 but now, partly because of the higher costs of electric bikes the limit has now been removed although the employer can still impose a limit and some retailers have set a limit of £5,000.

Personal service companies (IR35)

From April 2020 the rules for deciding who is caught by IR35 change for businesses in the private sector. From then the paying business will decide if the rules apply. One consequence is that the payer may decide IR35 is applicable but the payee (contractor) has decided in the past that IR35 was not applicable.

Whether or not IR35 is applicable is very subjective and from April 2020 some large businesses may decide to globally apply the IR35 rules to all contractors and not look at each contract in isolation (which is what they should do). This may highlight the issue to HMRC and they may want to revisit previous years. The good news is that HMRC have said that they will not go back 20 years to consider if returns have been submitted with deliberate errors. The bad news is that they haven’t said they will not go back for four years!

Working from home

What expenses an employee can claim if they work from home is a difficult question to answer. It will depend on a number of factors but critically, to be able to claim anything, the employee must be required to work from home. Merely taking work home to complete in the evening or at the weekend is not sufficient to claim allowances. The employer can reimburse the actual amount of the additional household expenses incurred as a result of working from home. These should be reasonable and relate to the duties carried out. However, in practice this will be difficult and time consuming to determine. Instead, the employer can pay a tax free allowance of £4 per week to cover the additional costs of working at home without needing to worry about determining the actual costs incurred.

Tax-Free Childcare

Are you, or your employees, paying too much for childcare?

  • Parents can save up to £2,000 per child per year on regulated childcare costs, such as childminders, nannies and before and after school clubs and holiday clubs.

  • For example, if you are paying childcare costs of £750 per month, you only need to pay £600 because the government will add a £150 “top-up” into their childcare account.

If you believe this can help you contact us and we will give you more details on how to claim.

Trivial benefits

Where an employee receives a benefit in kind as part of their employment package this normally has to be reported to HMRC and the employee is taxed on the value and the employer pays Class 1A National Insurance. Where the cost of the benefit is less than £50 it may qualify as a Trivial benefit and not be subject to tax or National Insurance. It is not an automatic exemption for all benefits costing less than £50 and HMRC has recently issued advice to employers in Employer Bulletin no. 79, to qualify the following conditions must be met:

  • The benefit in kind must not be cash nor a voucher redeemable for cash;

  • It must not be given as part of salary sacrifice arrangements nor any other contractual obligations;

  • It must not be provided in recognition of work performed

If the conditions are met this can be a useful means of providing benefits tax free to employees, but there is an overall limit of £300 per year for trivial benefits paid to directors.

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