Internet searches for PAYE information April 2011

April 28, 2011 2011

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Away from the normal tedium of tax technical updates, we take a look at what searches have landed on the Optimum PAYE website of late.

Of the more sensible searches, certain subjects come up almost on a daily basis, the current flavours of the month including:

Total People Ltd v HMRC - there is a huge amount of interest in this case involving the potential opportunity to reclaim NI contributions on car allowances. As we reported earlier this month, this case will be back at the Tax Tribunal in October so there will be nothing further to report until at least then.

Per Diems - Probably due to our recent article on per diems there has been many searches on this subject over the last few weeks ranging from trying to establish the tax-free rates in various locations to how to agree these with HMRC.

P11D Penalties - again lots of searches around this, e.g. "P11D penalties 2011", "mistake on P11D benefits employer liability" and "penalties for late submission of P11Ds" amongst many others. Clearly, many employers out there are making mistakes or not doing things properly around P11Ds. These employers should be picking up the phone (to us preferably) not Googling !

Salary sacrifice- always a popular search term and this month is no different. What is surprising is the amount of searches that come up relating to MBAs ! In our experience, salary sacrifice involving work related training is one of those opportunities that employers usually dismiss almost straight away so we are not sure why this comes near the top of the tree when employers are looking for salary sacrifice information on our site.

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Although there are some unusual searches in the midst, it is fair to say that these are not as mad or as plentiful as most months - maybe finance people are too swamped with year-end stuff to be doing mad internet searches at the moment ?! Here is a small sample of some mad/interesting/worrying ones we have noted:

"getting around IR35" - hmmm, we wonder if this is in relation to arrangements that would definitely fall foul of IR35 and the searcher is looking for 'dodgy' ways to avoid this or whether this is more genuine consultancy arrangements and searcher is just wanting to check that IR35 isn't inadvertently in play. Either way, advice is needed we think. 

"pensions salary sacrifice implementation process" - we cannot believe that the searcher genuinely thought that either the answer would be contained anywhere on the internet or that implementation is that easy. In truth, implementation varies from employer to employer and depends on things such as type(s) of pension scheme, type of employee, shift patterns, internal policies/procedures, resources, locations, etc etc etc.

"how to introduce a salary sacrifice scheme"  see above. Madness !

"cancelled holiday payments" - this came up 3 separate times. The answer is such a payment is almost always taxable even if there is a business reason for the cancellation.

"how much is a company car worth" - answer: "how long is a piece of string". Clearly this is an employee who has never had a company car before. Did they really expect an answer to this ???

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Enough for now anyway. The moral of the story to take away is - for "easy" PAYE related stuff, e.g. filing dates, forms, straight forward rules, etc then yes, search away, the internet is great for that type of information. But if you have a more complex PAYE issue that needs to be looked at, speak to someone don't go online, a penny (well, a few pounds really) spent now could be worth thousands later on.

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