CIPP Policy Update - August

7 August 2017

Adviser Finance Bill measures back on track

The Finance Bill introduced in March 2017 provided for a number of changes to tax legislation that were withdrawn from the Bill after the calling of the general election. The then-Financial Secretary to the Treasury confirmed at the point they were withdrawn that there was no policy change and that these provisions would be legislated for at the first opportunity in the new Parliament.

Ministers have confirmed that the second 2017 Finance Bill will be introduced as soon as possible after the summer recess and it will legislate for all policies that were included in the pre-election Finance Bill. All policies originally announced to start from April 2017 will be effective from that date. The government published a list of provisions that will apply from the start of the 2017/18 tax year or other point before the introduction of the forthcoming Finance Bill. Included in the list are:

  • Taxable benefits: time limit for making good
  • Pensions advice
  • Legal expenses etc.
  • Money purchase annual allowance

This is good news for those employers who had worked on the assumption that legislation would be passed early in the next Parliament and therefore any new guidance applied.

Role of employers in Tax-Free Childcare

"When a parent in receipt of Employer-Supported Childcare (childcare vouchers) opts to come onto Tax-Free Childcare, they will need to provide their employer with a Childcare Account Notice (CAN). This is a written document (which can be an email) stating that they wish to leave their employer's voucher scheme and use Tax-Free Childcare. A parent will have 90 days from opening their Tax-Free Childcare account to give their CAN to their employer. At this point the employer will need to terminate their access to Employer-Supported Childcare."

This is an excerpt from the latest Employer Bulletin and the prescriptive text about an exit strategy from ESC raises some questions which we put to HMRC's TFC implementation team. 90 day window - this provides an employee with effectively three months of both ESC and TFC? Does that impact on their ability to return to ESC before April 2018 if TFC doesn't work for them?

HMRC told us that it is intended that the CAN process will be as light touch as possible and will allow employees a 90 day period to exit ESC after claiming TFC. The CAN notice is simply a written document (letter or email) informing the employer that they no longer want to receive ESC. The parent is informed of this process through an output when they sign up to TFC. Once a parent provides a CAN notification to their employer, they will not be able to return to ESC. Voucher providers have been highlighting this to parents on their schemes.

Issues with Childcare Service

We have also been hearing from members at our National Forums that early experiences of using the Childcare Service have thrown up many challenges and frustrations. As with any new digital service the Childcare Service has been launched in Beta mode (trial mode) and is being updated with system fixes, solutions and improvements on a regular basis. If you don't instantly get a connection when you follow the link, give it a moment or two and then refresh the page in your web browser – not a guaranteed solution but it may remove the need for you to call the helpline on 0300 123 4097.

NMW compliance poll

With so many household names in the media for failing to pay minimum wages to employees, we thought it would be interesting to ask how confident you are about your calculations, processes and record keeping to ensure your compliance in paying the minimum wage. Through the month of June we ran a quick poll and received 548 responses in total. 65% said they were 'very confident', 22% said 'fairly confident' (so an element of doubt in there which is all it takes). 8% responded with 'confident', 3% with 'not very confident' and the final 2% opted for 'not at all confident'.

As ever our polls are a snapshot in time but these results do indicate that some employers are taking risks and there could very well be areas of weakness in their processes through lack of knowledge or training. We have all seen the 'naming and shaming' that has put companies such as Tesco and John Lewis into the spotlight. Not having 100% confidence in minimum wage compliance is not only a potential cost financially but a big reputational risk.

All published information on our polls and surveys can be found in the CIPP's Policy News Journal a benefit reserved exclusively for CIPP members.

  • Author Profile
    • Sp avatar Diana Bruce

      Diana is CIPP Senior Policy Liaison Officer and Guest Author for Smart Pension.