Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

21 January 2019

Guidance on pension allowances published 

HMRC have published online guidance to help taxpayers understand when the pensions money purchase annual allowance (MPAA) applies, and whether tax is payable on pension savings.

The guidance will be help individuals who have flexibly accessed pension savings.

Amendments to pensions age discrimination provisions

The draft Equality Act (Age Exception for Pension Schemes) (Amendment) Order 2019 enables integrated pension schemes to take account of the member’s State Pension when calculating pension payable, without breaching age related equality obligations.

Welsh income tax to track England for 2019/20

Using its devolved powers for the first time, the National Assembly for Wales has agreed the proposed Welsh rates of income tax for 2019-20. It has been confirmed that there will be no change to overall income tax rates for taxpayers in Wales in the coming financial year; i.e. rates for Welsh tax payers will be as per English tax payers.

HMRC RAS Newsletter

Contents of the January 2019 newsletter are – 
1. Scottish Budget 
2. Relief at source for Welsh taxpayers 
3. Notification of residency status report for 2019 to 2020 
4. Excess relief

Lords Committee call for single inflation measure

The economics affairs committee published its report on measuring inflation this week. It recommended a single measure of general inflation to prevent the Government from 'index shopping' - where indices are chosen because of their impact on the public finances rather than their merits as measures of inflation. When the Government gives money to people it generally uses CPI, but when it takes money from people, it generally uses RPI. The committee also said the UK Statistics Authority is at risk of being in breach of its statutory duties on the publication of statistics, by refusing to correct an error that it openly admits exists in RPI. 

Brexit update

Theresa May lost a vote in Parliament on a motion setting out her preferred Brexit model, by a majority of 230 MPs. However, the Government won a No Confidence vote, tabled by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Prime Minister will now try to begin talks with opposition parties to find a solution that is “negotiable and command sufficient support” in Parliament.

VAT (Finance) (EU Exit) Order

The Value Added Tax (Finance) (EU Exit) Order 2019 (SI 2019/43) was made on 15 January 2019. The purpose of the order is to ensure that the VAT treatment of pension fund management and certain other investment funds reflects the scope of the exemption as provided for in EU law.

A-E Thresholds

The draft Automatic Enrolment (Earnings Trigger and Qualifying Earnings Band) Order 2019 was published on 16 January 2019. From 6 April 2019, the lower end of the qualifying earnings band will rise from £6,032 to £6,136 for a 12-month pay reference period, while the upper end of the band will rise from £46,350 to £50,000 for such a period. The draft Order also sets out revised rounded figures for qualifying earnings received by jobholders in shorter pay reference periods ranging from one week to six months.

Social Security rates, limits and thresholds

The Social Security (Contributions) (Rates, Limits and Thresholds Amendments and National Insurance Funds Payments) Regulations 2019 increase a number of weekly earnings limits and thresholds for determining liability to Class 1 NICs and entitlement to associated state benefits: 
(i) the lower earnings limit, on or above which an earner gains access to certain state benefits, increases from £116 to £118; 
(ii) the upper earnings limit, above which primary Class 1 NICs are payable at the additional primary percentage, increases from £892 to £962; 
(iii) the primary threshold, above which primary Class 1 NICs are payable at the main primary percentage, increases from £162 to £166; 
(iv) the secondary threshold, above which secondary Class 1 NICs are payable, increases from £162 to £166; 
(v) the upper secondary threshold for the Under 21 age group, below which secondary Class 1 NICs are payable at zero-rate, increases from £892 to £962; and 
(vi) the upper secondary threshold for relevant apprentices, below which secondary Class 1 NICs are payable at a zero-rate, increases from £892 to £962.




John W. Wilson LLB(Hons) FPMI ACII, Head of Research| Email: