Tax Clinic


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I’m a small business owner and concerned about the changes to pensions coming next year. What is coming, and how will this affect the pensions I have to provide for my employees?

— Brian MacDonald, Chichester

The reforms next year will affect people planning for their retirement as there have been changes to how people can access their pensions. As a small business owner, the key change you need to know about is how and when the ongoing roll out of automatic enrolment workplace pensions will affect your business. All employers…

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I have been notified by the pensions regulator that my staging date is June 2015.

However at the present time the only employees of my company are myself as director and my wife as part time employee (not director). We own 100% of the company.
We now have no other employees and nor will we soon. We now pay ourselves a salary of £6,000 each and take the balance of monies to us by means of dividends.

We both have our own SIPPS outside of the company and contribute from other income and from other employments. So we DO NOT wish to be auto-enrolled into a pension scheme from our own company.

However, I understand I have to go through the impracticalities of setting up a scheme and opting out within 30 days to comply with the regulations. Is this correct, or can I just write to the pension regulator and advise them of the situation? I assume if I did nothing I would be fined? Is there a practical way around this wasted bureaucracy of time and effort?

— Malcolm

Malcolm will need to meet some of his new employer obligations, but, for the time being does not have to set up a new workplace pension scheme to deal with auto-enrolment. From his note, Malcolm has identified that he has 2 ‘workers’. He must therefore register with The Pensions Regulator. In this instance, both ‘workers’…

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I’ve received a letter from the HMRC about child benefit tax. What do I need to do?

— Julian Fielding, Surry

You have probably received the ‘red letter’ from HMRC regarding the claw-back of Child Benefit payments. Many individuals have received these letters who have claimed Child Benefit (or their partner is claiming Child Benefit), and either the individual or their partner has income over £50,000. Since 7 January 2013, Child Benefit payments are clawed back…

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