New tips guidance published

New rules that stop employers from withholding tips from people working in the hospitality, leisure and services sectors are a step closer following the publication of a new Code of Practice on tipping.

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 colloquially known as the Tipping Act received Royal Assent on 2 May 2023. However, the measures in the Act do not come into force until all the necessary secondary legislation is in place. The measures are expected to come into force on 1st October 2024, once Parliament has approved them.

This means that more than 2 million workers will have their tips protected. HMRC has estimated that this new law will mean an estimated £200 million a year will go back into the pockets of hard-working staff by retaining tips that would have otherwise been deducted.

The statutory Code of Practice will provide businesses with advice on how tips should be distributed among staff. The updated Code of Practice will be statutory and have legal effect, meaning it can be introduced as evidence in an employment tribunal.

Workers will also be given new rights to view an employer’s tipping policy and their tipping record, which will help them to bring forward a credible claim to an employment tribunal.

The Business and Trade Minister said:

‘It is not right for employers to withhold tips from their hard-working employees. Whether you are cutting hair or pulling a pint, this government’s legislation which will protect the tips of workers and give consumers confidence that when they leave a tip, it goes to the hardworking members of staff.’

Source:Department for Business and Trade | 29-04-2024

Bikes for employees

The Cycle to Work scheme allows employers to provide bicycles and cyclists’ safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. The scheme must be offered to all employees and the bike must be used mainly for qualifying journeys i.e., between home and work. However, private use of the bike is also allowed. Where the scheme conditions are satisfied employees can benefit from a significant tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) exemption. In addition, there is no employer liability to pay Class 1A NICs.

The cycle to work benefits only relate to the loan period. However, it is commonplace for an employer or a third party bicycle provider to offer the employee the bicycle / equipment they have been using for sale after the loan period has ended. The bike may be offered to the employee for sale at a fair market value, but this must be done as a separate agreement.

Employers of all sizes across the public, private and voluntary sectors are eligible to take part in the scheme to provide (technically loan) bicycles and cyclists’ safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. The scheme can also include electronic bikes known as e-bikes.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 21-04-2024

Payrolling employee expenses and benefits

Employers can register on a voluntary basis (before the start of the tax year) to report and account for tax on certain benefits and expenses via the RTI system. This is known as payrolling and removes the requirement to complete a P11D for the selected benefits at the tax year end.

The deadline for submitting the 2023-24 forms P11D, P11D(b) and P9D is 6 July 2024. These forms can be submitted using commercial software or via HMRC’s PAYE online service. HMRC no longer accepts paper P11D and P11D(b) forms. Employees must also be provided with a copy of the information relating to them on these forms by the same date. P11D forms are used to provide information to HMRC on all Benefits in Kind (BiKs), including those under the Optional Remuneration Arrangements (OpRAs) unless the employer has registered to payroll benefits.

It should be noted that a P11D(b) is still required for Class 1A National Insurance payments regardless of whether the benefits are being reported via P11D or payrolled. The deadline for paying Class 1A NICs is 22 July 2024 (or 19 July if paying by cheque).

Where no benefits were provided from 6 April 2023 to 5 April 2024 and a form P11D(b) or P11D(b) reminder is received, employers can either submit a 'nil' return or notify HMRC online that no return is required. Employers should ensure that they complete their P11D's accurately, including all the details of cars and loans provided. There are penalties of £100 per 50 employees for each month or part month a P11D(b) is late. There are also penalties and interest if late payments are made.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 15-04-2024

Tax-free mileage expenses

If you use your own vehicle for business journeys you may be able to claim a tax-free allowance from your employer known as a Mileage Allowance Payment or MAP. The allowance is paid when employees use their own car, van, motorcycle or bike for work purposes. It is important to note that this tax-free allowance is not available for journeys to and from work but is available where employees use their own vehicles to undertake other business-related mileage. 

Employers usually make payments based on a set rate per mile depending on the mode of transport used. There are approved mileage rates published by HMRC. For cars, the approved mileage allowance payment for the first 10,000 business miles is 45p per mile and 25p per mile for every additional business mile. An equivalent payment of 20p per mile is available for bicycle travel and 24p per mile for motorcycle travel. These rates have been fixed for many years and HMRC has recently confirmed that they will continue to apply for the 2024-25 tax year.

If an employee travels with business colleagues, they can claim an additional 5p per passenger per business mile for each qualifying passenger. Where an employer pays less than the published rates, the employee can make a tax relief claim for the shortfall using Mileage Allowance Relief (MAR). There is no equivalent to MAR for passenger payments, which means if the employer pays less than 5p per mile to carry a passenger, the driver cannot claim any tax relief on the difference.

It is important to note that if employees are paid more than the approved mileage rates then the excess is treated as a BiK. Conversely, if employees are paid less than the published rates then they can make a tax claim for the shortfall using MAR. There is no equivalent to the MAR for passenger payments.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 01-04-2024