Do you understand how new pension laws affect your business?

In a recent press release The Pensions Regulator urged small and micro employers to check how auto enrolment affects them. It comes at a time when quarterly figures show a rise in the number of non compliance penalties being issued.

The penalties for non compliance are sizeable and can include a fixed £400 penalty and an escalating penalty of £50 to £10,000 per day depending on number of staff.

The Pensions Regulator detailed two employers who were fined £400 when they did not comply with their duties after failing to understand how the law affected them:

  • A garage owner failed to complete a declaration of compliance as they thought a staff member had done it.
  • A travel agent with no staff eligible for automatic enrolment failed to complete other duties such as completing their declaration of compliance after wrongly assuming the law did not apply to them.

The good news is that Grant & Co can help. Whether you need just a little assistance to meet your new duties, or a fully comprehensive service, our value for money solution can be tailored to meet your exact needs. We can:

  • Introduce you to our experienced payroll team who will ensure the smooth transfer of your payroll scheme to our systems
  • Assist with choice & set up of a compliant pension scheme
  • Assess your workforce
  • Calculate your costs
  • Handle statutory staff communications
  • Enrol your staff into your chosen pension scheme
  • Calculate & report pensions contributions
  • Complete The Pensions Regulator declaration of compliance
  • Manage your ongoing employer duties

Call us today for a free, initial consultation.

PSC register and the new CS01 forms

From April 2016 new rules were introduced which require companies to keep a register of people with significant control (PSC register).  From 30 June 2016 details of these PSCs have to be filed with Companies House as part of the new annual Confirmation Statement (CS01), formerly the Annual Return (AR01).

This means that an officer of the company is required to:

  • identify the PSCs and confirm their details
  • record the details of the PSCs on the company’s own PSC register
  • file the PSC information with the central public register at Companies House
  • update the information both on the company’s own PSC register and with Companies House when the next Confirmation Statement is due.

A PSC is an individual who meets one or more of the following conditions (with additional conditions applying in some circumstances):

  1. holds more than 25% of shares in the company
  2. holds more than 25% of voting rights in the company
  3. holds the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors of the company

Failure to comply with the new rules is a criminal offence and could result in a fine or a prison sentence of up to 2 years.

More information on the new PSC requirements is available here, or please contact us for more guidance.



Trivial Benefits

From 6 April 2015 there will be a statutory exemption for certain non-cash benefits in kind costing up to £50.

Currently, there is no minimum cost threshold below which benefits are disregarded for tax purposes, but from 6 April employers who provides certain low value benefits-in-kind to their employees will, in some circumstances, become exempt from income tax.  This will remove the need for annual reporting of such benefits via P11Ds or PAYE settlement agreements (PSAs).
A trivial benefit will be exempt from income tax, provided that:

  • the benefit is not cash or cash vouchers per s75 ITEPA 2003
  • the cost of providing the benefit, or its average cost per person does not exceed £50
  • the benefit is not provided pursuant to a salary sacrifice scheme or any other contractual obligation
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of the employee’s service.

The following are examples of items that may be regarded as trivial benefits:

  • a gift of flowers on birthdays, anniversaries or special events.
  • workplace drinks eg. tea, coffee available to all employees.
  • a Christmas turkey.
  • a bottle of ‘ordinary’ wine.
  • a box of chocolates.

Input VAT is reclaimable by the employer on the cost of trivial benefits made to staff.

An annual cap of £300 will be introduced for office holders of close companies and employees who are family members of those office holders. Those affected by this cap will be able to receive a maximum of £300 worth of trivial benefits in kind each year exempt from tax.

If you would like further clarification or advice on this subject, please do get in touch.

Growth Vouchers programme

Do you want professional advice to help grow your business, but worry about the cost? Grant & Co is an accredited Adviser for the Growth Vouchers programme and can help you take your business to the next level.  If you run a small business and are looking for professional advice in any of the following areas, the Growth Vouchers programme could help by giving you up to £2,000 to cover half the cost:
• Finance and cash flow
• Recruiting and developing staff
• Improving leadership and management skills
• Marketing, attracting and keeping customers
• Making the most of digital technology
Find out how you can get access to expert knowledge from an accredited Adviser through the Growth Vouchers programme by visiting for more info and to check if you are eligible.

Here are two examples of business owners who have taken advantage of professional advice and seen the benefits:
Find out how Marcus Whittington used the support from Growth Vouchers to double his profits:
Read more about how Derbyshire-based catering company Saffron Catering used Adviser knowledge to expand their

Contact us today to arrange your consultation.

Voluntary payrolling of benefits in kind

As the 6 July deadline for filing forms P11D, P9D and P11D(b) passes for this year, HMRC is consulting on the introduction of a voluntary system of payrolling benefits in kind.

The government believes that payrolling benefits in kind instead of submitting forms P11D can offer substantial administrative savings for some employers and wishes to create a system that will enable employers to do so if they wish.  In particular three priority areas for consultation are:

  • private use contributions for company cars and fuel,
  • private medical and gym membership fees, and
  • one-off large benefits through transfers of assets.

The consultation document can be found here and the consultation closes on 9 September 2014.  HMRC are particularly keen to hear from employers who already have payrolling in place.

After the introduction of RTI and the additional burden of Workplace Pensions and Auto-enrolment we wonder if this move will be welcomed or just add further strain to increasingly stretched payroll departments.

If you would like further information on how to handle expenses and benefits, or would like to know how we can help you with our Payroll and Auto-enrolment service, please do get in touch.




KEY CHANGES for the 2014 / 2015 TAX YEAR

 Income Tax Allowances

 The basic personal allowance for 2014-15 increases to £10,000 and the tax code for emergency use will be 1000L.

 Income Tax bands and rates

 The tax bandwidths for 2014-15 are as follows:

 Basic rate = 20%                           £1 to £31,865

 Higher rate = 40%                £31,866 to £150,000

 Additional rate = 45%          £150,001 & above


 The Lower Earnings Limit, the amount of earnings which allow an employee to qualify for certain state benefits, increases to £111 per    week (£5772 per annum). 

 The Primary Threshold, above which employees begin to pay National Insurance, increases to £153 per week.  The main rate of    Class1 NIC’s due on earnings above this threshold and up to the Upper Earnings Limit remains unchanged at 12%.

 The Upper Earnings Limit increases to £805 per week.  The additional rate of employee Class 1 NIC’s on earnings above this point  remains unchanged at 2%.

 The Secondary Threshold, above which employers Class 1 NIC’s become due, increases to £153 per week.

 The Class 1 employer rate of NIC’s remains unchanged at 13.8%.

 Statutory Payments

 The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rate increases to £87.55 per week. 

 From 6 April 2014 employers are no longer able to recover any SSP from HMRC.

 The weekly rate for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (OSPP), Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (ASPP) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) increases to £138.18.


 From 6 April 2013 it became compulsory for the large majority of employers to begin reporting PAYE information to HMRC in real time – known as Real Time Information or RTI.  The system hasn’t been without its teething problems with HMRC admitting glitches that required fixing. 

 Payroll year end will feel a bit different this year, with employers no longer required to file a P35 Employer Annual Return and associated P14s.  Instead generally it should be as simple as marking your final RTI return for 2013/14 as being the ‘Final Return’, completing the end of year questions and declarations and providing P60’s for your employees.  Further guidance can be found at

 Changes in RTI reporting for the 2014/15 tax year include the addition of an extra banding in reporting the hours worked by your employees and the introduction of a field for indicating the reason for any late reporting of RTI.

 Under RTI employers are no longer required to submit new starter forms P46 or P45 Part 3.  Instead HMRC have introduced Starter Checklists to help employers gather the information required to be reported the first time you pay your employee, which is done via the FPS.  These can be found  at


 New in-year penalties for late filing of RTI and late payment of PAYE/NI were due to be introduced from this April, however HMRC announced that, to allow more time to adapt to reporting in real time, employers won’t be charged late filing penalties as long as they bring themselves fully up to date by 5 October 2014 and that automatic late-payment penalties won’t be introduced until April 2015.  However, from April 2014 HMRC will charge interest on any in-year payments not made by the due date.

 NICs Employment Allowance

 In the Budget 2013 the Chancellor announced the creation of a new Employment Allowance, allowing the majority of businesses and charities a reduction of up to £2000 in their employer Class 1 NIC liability each year.  The allowance will be claimed as part of the normal payroll process via RTI reporting.  The Employment Allowance will be offset against employers Class 1 NICs when they become due, until either the full £2000 allowance is used up or the tax year ends, whichever is soonest.


You will no doubt have read in the Press and seen on the TV news about Workplace Pensions and Auto-enrolment.  This change in law will see every employer in the UK required to help more of their workers save for retirement.  It will involve new legal duties including the auto-enrolment of eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme and paying a minimum contribution into that scheme.  The changes, which for larger employers began in 2012, are being phased in over a number of years, with each employer being allocated a ‘staging date’ from when their duties will begin.  

If you are a payroll client of ours, we will already have contacted you if this legislation is relevant to you.  Alternatively please visit the Payroll News section of our website for more details.  Grant & Co will be offering a complete Auto-enrolment service to our payroll clients, which will include workforce assessment and communication and management of pension contributions making compliance simple and hassle free.

If you would like further information or advice, please do get in touch.

 A Greener Service

 As part of our effort to be as green as possible, please note it is possible for us to upload payslips / payroll summaries to the secure Clientzone area of our website for you to download at your convenience.  If you would like to take advantage of this service, please let our Payroll Department know. 

If you would like further advice or information on any of the above issues, then we’d be pleased to help. 

Telephone – 01242 223160

Email –


You will no doubt have read in the Press and seen on the TV news about Workplace Pensions and Auto-enrolment.  This change in law will see every employer in the UK required to help more of their workers save for retirement.  It will involve new duties including the auto-enrolment of eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme and paying a minimum contribution into that scheme.  The changes, which for larger employers began in 2012,  are being phased in over a number of years, with each employer being allocated a ‘staging date’ from when their duties will begin.   Your staging date is can be found out here: .  There are some key steps to preparing for Auto-enrolment:


  • Nominate a point of contact – someone who will manage / implement the scheme in your business. 
  • Know your staging date and develop a plan of action.


  • Assess your workforce so that you understand how many (if any) of your employees are affected.   There are 3 different categories of workers to be considered:
  1. Eligible jobholders:  Aged between 22 and state pension age (SPA), working in UK, earning above the earnings trigger for auto-  enrolment (currently £9440).  Members of this category of worker must be automatically enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme and you must make employer contributions.
  2. Non-eligible jobholders:  Aged 16-21 or SPA-74, working in UK, earning above the earnings trigger for auto-enrolment OR Aged 16-74, working in UK, earning above the Lower Earnings Limit (£5668 for 13/14) but below the earnings trigger for auto-enrolment.  Members of this category of worker have a right to opt in to a qualifying pension scheme.  If they choose to do so you must make employer contributions.
  3. Entitled workers: Aged 16-74, working in UK, earning below the Lower Earnings Limit (£5668 for 13/14).  Members of this category of worker have a right to join a qualifying pension scheme; however there is no requirement to make employer contributions. 

Once completed, this initial assessment can be used to help you calculate the probable administrative impact and employer contribution costs to your business.  

  • Choose a qualifying pension scheme.  You may have an existing scheme that you could use for auto-enrolment but you will need to check that it is suitable, or you may need to set up a new one.  Further information on the minimum features required for a UK pension scheme to qualify can be found on The Pensions Regulator’s website.  We are delighted to be partnering with independent financial advisors Noble James Associates Ltd who can help you choose and administer a pension scheme that is right for your employees and your business needs.  Alternatively you might want to use the NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) scheme, which is open to all employers and was created as part of the Government’s pension reforms.  It is advisable to start the process of looking for the right pensions solution for your business at least 12 months in advance of your staging, as some pension providers are being reported to be unwilling to assist SME’s with qualifying pension schemes due to the anticipated high administrative burden involved. 
  • Communicate the changes.  Employers are required by law to write to all workers (except those aged under 16, or 75 and over) explaining what automatic enrolment into a workplace pension means for them. There are different information requirements for each category of worker.


  • Automatically enrol all eligible jobholders’ who are not already a member of a qualifying pension scheme into your scheme.
  • Facilitate ‘opt outs’.  Workers may ‘opt-out’ of this new kind of pension saving by obtaining an opt-out notice from the pension scheme into which they are enrolled.  The opt-out period lasts for one month and any deductions made from the worker’s salary during this time must be refunded.  After this opt-out period workers can still cease membership of the scheme in accordance with the normal rules of the scheme, with any refund of contributions being determined by those rules.  The workplace pensions reform includes safeguards that employers must adhere to to ensure jobholders are not penalised in any way for being a member of a workplace pension scheme or dissuaded from joining one and that recruitment practices are not affected. 
  • Inform ‘non-eligible jobholders’ and ‘entitled workers’ that they can join / opt-in to your scheme.
  • Continually assess your workforce and enrol new employees on the date they join your employment and existing employees when they become old enough or earn enough to be enrolled for the first time.  You will also need to re-enrol employees who opt- of pension saving, known as re-enrolment, broadly every three years.  As part of your plan of action you should consider whether your current administration / HR / payroll systems are able to handle this adequately?
  • Register with The Pensions Regulator and keep records.  You will need to register with The Pensions Regulator within 4 months of your staging date.  This will be a straightforward online process, completed via the Government Gateway.  If you don’t have an existing Government Gateway User ID then you will need to register for one.   There will also be records you will be required to keep under law in relation to your workers and your pension scheme.
  • Contribute to your workers’ pensions.  Except in the case of ‘entitled workers’, you will be required to make on-going employer contributions to your worker’s pension scheme.  The minimum contribution rates will be introduced gradually under ‘phasing’.  The minimum contributions are currently a total contribution of 2% (made up of employee and employer contributions, plus tax relief) with at least 1% employer contribution, which will apply from your staging date until 30 September 2017.  The contribution rates are then set to rise to a total contribution of 5% with at least 2% employer contribution from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018, then to 8% with a 3% minimum employer contribution from 1 October 2018.


We will be offering a complete Auto-enrolment service to our payroll clients, which will include workforce assessment and communication, making compliance simple and hassle free. 

If you would like further advice or information please do get in touch. Tel: 01242 223160 or email

We’re here to help.