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Gigantic stealth tax? – Government take from National Insurance set to rise by £40bn in next five years

24th November 2016

Tina Riches, national tax partner at Smith & Williamson, the accountancy, investment management and tax group looks at what is really happening with National Insurance.

Despite no increases in NIC rates being announced in today’s Autumn Statement, there are changes on the horizon that will see an increase in overall levels of NIC paid by some employees and employers alike.

The government is anticipating a close to £40bn increase in the amount received via national insurance over the next five years. This sounds like a cunning plan to cope with the Conservative party promise that national insurance rates wouldn’t be increased.”

On a positive note, the chancellor did announce a small change in the alignment of NIC, and although this does move towards simplifying the payment of NIC, it’s a long way from aligning with the tax personal allowance!” says Tina.

The NIC threshold for employers and employees will be changed to £157 per week from April 2017.  It is intended that this move would cost employees no extra and that businesses would see a maximum additional NIC cost of only £7.18 per employee annually.

Bigger changes to how termination payments and many benefits received under salary sacrifice arrangements are to be taxed will mean a hike in NIC payments to HMRC,”  Says Tina.

In addition, from April 2018 termination payments above the £30,000 tax free threshold will be subject to employer’s NIC.

From April 2017 benefits provided under salary sacrifice such as company cars and accommodation will be taxed, generally on the higher of the old style benefit calculation or the salary given up in order to receive that benefit.  In many cases employees could find themselves with a higher tax and NIC bill.

The Chancellor did mention some kind of protection for certain benefits in place before April 2017, we will have to wait and see how generous, or not, these protections are.

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