Changes to taxable benefits from April 2017

The good news, the way in which benefits in kind are taxed – company cars, mobile phones, etc. – is unchanged for the tax year just ended, to 5 April 2017. Consequently, you can expect your tax position regarding any benefits you enjoy to be unchanged for 2016-17; as long as the benefits themselves have not changed.

Unfortunately, from April 2017, the taxman is tightening his grip, and many tax-free benefits will be taxed as if they were part of your salary – this will increase the combined income tax and National Insurance charges in many cases.

A number of benefits are not affected, and will continue to be classified as tax exempt. They are:

  • Cars with emissions between 0 and 75g CO2 per kilometre.
  • Childcare vouchers.
  • Workplace nurseries.
  • Employer pension contributions and pensions advice.
  • Cycles and safety equipment under the cycle to work scheme.
  • Intangible benefits that are not taxed, such as additional annual leave or flexible working hours.
  • Counselling and other outplacement services on termination.
  • Retraining courses.

It is fine for employers to continue providing other benefits after 5 April 2017, but there will no longer be any tax or National Insurance benefit in doing so – in other words, the benefits will be treated as if they were part of salary.

As always, when these changes occur there are transitional arrangements, a delay in the date on which the full tax and National Insurance charges will apply from. Where an arrangement is already in place on 6 April 2017, existing legislation will continue until the sooner of:

  • When the arrangements are varied, renegotiated, revised or renewed (including auto-renewal), and
  • 6 April 2021 for cars, vans, fuel, accommodation or school fees, or
  • 6 April 2018 for any other benefit.
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