Your tax obligations when hiring UK employees

The UK tax system works very differently from some other countries. Most UK workers have very little direct interaction with the tax system, instead their employer deducts their taxes from their wages before they even arrive in their bank account. This shifts a great amount of responsibility onto the employer and if you’re not familiar with the regulations it can be easy to slip up. Here are a few of the major things that you should keep in mind when you’re hiring UK employees on pay as you earn (PAYE) tax arrangements.

Income tax and National Insurance

Despite the different names, National Insurance broadly functions as a second form of income tax. It is deducted from all employees who earn over £113 a week (known as the lower earnings limit). These limits are generally raised slightly every year to keep up with growing wages.

Income tax works in a similar way, although there are multiple bands of tax. Very high earners will end up paying 45% tax on all of their income over £150,000. They will also lose the personal allowance that reduces the amount of tax paid by low and medium earners. The system is generally complex and it’s important to get advice from a qualified professional before you start up. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) is not known for being forgiving in situations where people have made mistakes.

Other deductions

The other main deduction that you will have to take into account is student loans. If your employees have taken on student finance, then you’re obliged to pay 9% of their salary over a certain threshold to the Student Loans Company. Again, this is a legal obligation and a mistake could cause serious problems for you and your employee.

You’re also required to pay a certain amount of your employee’s wages into a pension scheme and also make your own employer’s contribution. The amount that both you and your employee have to contribute is scheduled to go up over the coming years.

It’s well worth making sure that you’re across your obligations before starting up in the UK. A little time taken can save enormous problems at a later date. Goodwille are experts on the legal and financial obligations when setting up in the UK, and we are here to help your through the maze. Contact one of our team members for advice.

Who need to submit self-assessment tax returns in the UK?

We’re fast approaching the deadline for UK taxpayers to submit their tax returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the 2015/16 financial year. Failure to do so by 31st January will result in an immediate £100 late filing penalty from the tax authority.

For some people doing business in the UK, self-assessment tax returns may be a completely new concept; particularly those new to commerce on these shores. But HMRC is clamping down hard on tax evaders i.e. those who fail to pay the tax they owe to the UK’s Treasury for generating significant revenue in the UK.

Aside from the instant £100 late filing penalty, tax returns filed more than three months late will incur additional fines, leaving many disorganised entrepreneurs significantly out of pocket. In terms of business accountancy, a self-assessment tax return needn’t cause such problems. Providing you can list every single penny of income earnt in the UK during the 2015/16 financial year, it should only take a matter of minutes to file with the guidance of a qualified accountant.

So who is eligible to submit a self-assessment tax return?
You’ll be legally required to file a tax return with HMRC for the 2015/16 financial year if any of the following is applicable to you:

– You regarded yourself as self-employed at any point
– You earned £2,500+ in untaxed income (such as property rental income)
– Your revenue (or your partner’s) exceeded £50,000 and one of you claimed child benefit
– Your investment or savings income amounted to £10,000+ before tax
– You made money from selling shares or a second property and subsequently need to pay Capital Gains Tax
– You benefitted from shares dividends and you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer
– Your income totalled more than £100,000
– You were a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme.

If you ticked one or more of the above scenarios, you’ll need to submit a self-assessment tax return for the first time. Those submitting for the first time must enrol for HMRC’s Self Assessment Online Services as soon as possible to give yourself the chance to submit your return ahead of the deadline.

Be aware that it can take up to 10 working days for HMRC to process and activate your account – providing you with a 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).

If you’ve only been working in the UK a short time and you’re concerned you may not be paying the tax you owe, at Goodwille we can work with you all the way to ensure you’re up-to-date with your tax liabilities every financial year. We understand the UK business climate better than most and you can put your trust in us to tailor our services to meet your business’ accountancy and financial needs.