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Do You Pay Tax on Redundancy Notice Period?

Updated: Feb 23

What is the Redundancy Notice Period?

In the UK, the redundancy notice period refers to the length of time an employer must give an employee before their employment ends due to redundancy. This is a legal requirement and the length of the notice period depends on how long the employee has been working for the company.

Do You Pay Tax on Redundancy Notice Period?

If an employee has been with the company for between one month and two years, the minimum notice period is one week. If they've been with the company for more than two years, the notice period is one week for each year they've been employed, up to a maximum of 12 weeks for those who've been with the company for 12 years or more.

During the notice period, the employee is entitled to their normal pay and benefits, and they may also be allowed time off to look for a new job or arrange training. If an employer doesn't want the employee to work during the notice period, they can offer 'pay in lieu of notice' (PILON), which means the employee receives their full pay and benefits for the notice period, but doesn't have to work.

It's important to note that these are minimum notice periods - some employers may offer longer notice periods as part of the employment contract.

Understanding Redundancy Payments

Redundancy payments are a form of compensation provided to employees who are being let go due to no fault of their own, such as in the event of a company downsizing or restructuring. This payment can include several components such as statutory redundancy pay, holiday pay, unpaid wages, and company benefits like bonuses.

Tax Implications on Redundancy Payments

The tax implications on redundancy payments can be complex and depend on the specific components of your redundancy package. Here's a breakdown of the tax rules:

Statutory Redundancy Pay

Statutory redundancy pay is a legal entitlement for employees who have been working for their employer for at least two years. The amount you receive depends on your age, weekly pay, and length of service. Importantly, statutory redundancy pay under £30,000 is not taxable.

Holiday Pay and Unpaid Wages

Holiday pay and unpaid wages are considered as earnings and are therefore subject to tax and National Insurance contributions. This means that if you receive any outstanding holiday pay or wages as part of your redundancy package, you will need to pay tax on these amounts.

Company Benefits

Company benefits such as bonuses are also considered as earnings and are subject to tax and National Insurance contributions. If these benefits are included in your redundancy package, they will be taxable.

Payment in Lieu of Notice (PILON)

Payment in lieu of notice is a payment made to employees when an employer terminates an employment contract without giving the required notice. All contractual and non-contractual payments in lieu of notice are subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, regardless of whether you worked through your notice period or not.

How Much Tax Will You Pay on Your Redundancy?

Taxation of Redundancy Payments

The first £30,000 of a redundancy settlement is usually untaxed. However, any amount exceeding this threshold is considered as "wages" and is subject to taxation. Depending on your income for the tax year and the size of your redundancy payment, part or all of your redundancy payment above £30,000 could be taxed at the higher rate of 40%.

Using a Pension to Reduce Your Tax Bill

One effective way to reduce the tax on your redundancy payment is to invest the funds into a pension scheme. This strategy allows you to gain back the income tax on the amount invested at the rate paid. For example, if you have a redundancy payment of £116,000, with £30,000 being non-taxable, that leaves £86,000. If this amount is taxed at 40%, you would be left with £51,600. However, if you decide to invest the whole £86,000 into a personal pension, you would immediately gain tax relief at 20%. This means that you would only need to contribute £68,800, but £86,000 would go into the pension. As a higher-rate taxpayer, you could then claim a further 20% tax relief when you complete your tax return, effectively reducing your net outlay to £51,600.

Carrying Forward Pension Contributions

The maximum pension contribution in any tax year is restricted to either the amount you actually earn, or £40,000, whichever is lower. However, you are allowed to carry forward unused pension allowances from the previous three tax years. This means that if you have unused allowances from previous years, you could potentially invest more than £40,000 into your pension in the current tax year, further reducing your tax bill.

Immediate Vesting

If you are over 55, you can take advantage of the "immediate vestment" option. This allows you to "vest" or cash in the pension, taking 25% as a tax-free sum. For example, if you invest £86,000, you could immediately get back £21,500 tax-free. You could then draw an income from the remaining pension fund, which would be subject to income tax.

Other Tax-Efficient Options

If investing in a pension doesn't meet your needs, there are other tax-efficient options you could consider. For example, you could use your full ISA investment allowance for the current tax year, and invest in a way that allows you to utilise your ISA account with each future tax year. You could also consider investments that utilise your Capital Gains Tax allowances.

Remember, the rules around pensions and tax can be complicated, so it's always a good idea to seek independent financial advice before making any decisions.

What Happens If I Get a Job During My Redundancy Notice Period?

Understanding Your Redundancy Notice Period

A redundancy notice period is the time between when your employer notifies you of your redundancy and your last working day. The length of this period depends on your length of service with the company. During this period, you are still considered an employee and are entitled to your usual pay and benefits.

Working During Your Redundancy Notice Period

Whether you have to work during your notice period is up to your employer. However, regardless of their decision, you will be paid for this period. If your employer asks you not to come into work during your notice period, you could be given garden leave or receive payment in lieu of notice (PILON).

Garden Leave

Garden leave is when you are asked not to come into work when your notice period begins. However, you are still an employee and are subject to all your contractual obligations. This means you can't start a new job until your garden leave has finished, but you may be called back into work if needed. You are allowed to look for a new job during this period, but you cannot start one until your garden leave has ended.

Payment in Lieu of Notice (PILON)

Payment in lieu of notice is when your employer terminates your employment immediately and gives you a lump sum to cover what you would have earned during your notice period. If you receive PILON, you may be able to start a new job straight away, as long as there are no post-termination restrictions in your contract or outlined in a settlement agreement.

Getting a New Job During Your Redundancy Notice Period

If you secure a new job during your redundancy notice period, you usually need to wait until your notice period ends before starting your new role. If you choose to start your new job before serving the full notice period, your employer may be able to take legal action against you, and it could result in you losing your redundancy pay entitlement.

If you are expected to work your notice period or are put on garden leave, then you won’t be able to start a new role until your notice period comes to an end. However, if you have been given payment in lieu of notice, you are typically able to start a new role straight away, as long as you are not subject to any post-termination restrictions.

Declaring Redundancy on Tax Return

Declaring Redundancy on Tax Return

Taxation of Redundancy Payments

When you receive a redundancy payment, it's important to understand how it will be taxed. According to the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), redundancy payments are taxed using your normal tax code. If your redundancy payment is made after you leave your job, it will be taxed using the basic rate (BR) tax code or the 0T (zero cumulative) against any taxable amounts.

Redundancy Payments and Tax Returns

The GOV.UK website states that if you're made redundant, you may receive a 'termination payment'. This could include statutory redundancy pay, holiday pay, unpaid wages, and company benefits like bonuses. Statutory redundancy pay under £30,000 is not taxable. However, what you'll pay tax and National Insurance on depends on what's included in your termination payment.

Reducing Taxation on Redundancy Payments

Money to the Masses suggests that the best way to reduce the taxation on the settlement is to use the funds to increase your pension benefits in retirement, by investing into a pension scheme. You will automatically gain back the income tax on the amount invested at the rate paid. However, the maximum contribution in any tax year is restricted to either the amount you actually earn, or £40,000, whichever is the lower figure. The £86,000 is regarded as pensionable income for this purpose, but not the £30,000.

2024 Updates on Tax on Redundancy Notice Period

The landscape of taxation on redundancy notice periods in the UK has seen significant updates in 2024, impacting how taxpayers and businesses navigate these changes. Redundancy payments are typically made when an employee is dismissed because their position is no longer required. Understanding the nuances of these payments, especially the tax implications, is crucial for both employers and employees.

Firstly, it's essential to differentiate between the various components of redundancy payments. Generally, these can include statutory redundancy pay, which is tax-free up to £30,000, any additional contractual redundancy pay, payments in lieu of notice (PILON), and other benefits associated with redundancy, such as outplacement services. The £30,000 tax-free allowance has remained unchanged in 2024, continuing to provide some financial relief to those being made redundant.

However, a critical update in 2024 concerns the taxation of PILON. Previously, the tax treatment of these payments varied depending on the contractual terms between the employer and the employee. If the contract did not provide for PILON, any payment made was considered damages and, therefore, not subject to tax up to the £30,000 threshold. The 2024 update has standardized the tax treatment of PILON, making all such payments subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions, regardless of whether they are contractual or non-contractual. This change aims to simplify the tax treatment of these payments but also means that employees might see a reduction in their take-home redundancy package.

Another significant aspect of the 2024 updates is the emphasis on the tax treatment of non-monetary benefits provided during the redundancy process. For instance, if an employer offers outplacement services (support in finding new employment), the cost of these services is not counted towards the £30,000 exemption if they are made available to all employees being made redundant.

Do I Need Professional Help from a Tax Advisor for Paying Tax on Redundancy?

In the labyrinth of tax laws and regulations, navigating the complexities of paying tax on redundancy packages can be a daunting task for individuals. This is where the expertise of a professional tax advisor becomes invaluable. Their knowledge and experience can safeguard against common pitfalls, ensuring that individuals receive the most beneficial treatment under current UK tax laws.

Understanding the Tax Implications of Redundancy Payments

Redundancy payments, while often a lifeline during times of career transition, come with their own set of tax implications. The first £30,000 of a genuine redundancy payment is tax-free in the UK. However, amounts exceeding this threshold are subject to income tax. The distinction between what constitutes a tax-exempt redundancy payment and what does not can be nuanced, involving factors such as the nature of the payment and its contractual obligations.

A professional tax advisor can clarify these nuances, ensuring that payments are structured in a way that maximizes the tax-free allowance. Moreover, elements such as outstanding bonuses, holiday pay, or any contractual payments in lieu of notice (PILON) may be taxed differently. A tax advisor's role includes demystifying these elements, providing clarity and peace of mind for their clients.

Strategic Financial Planning and Tax Efficiency

Redundancy can significantly impact an individual's financial landscape. A tax advisor can offer strategic advice on how to manage the redundancy payment efficiently. This might include investment strategies for the tax-liable portion of the payment or guidance on pension contributions to optimize tax relief. For individuals nearing retirement, advice on how redundancy payments affect pension pots and lifetime allowance can be crucial.

Tax efficiency extends beyond merely understanding the immediate tax implications. It involves a holistic approach to financial planning, considering future tax years, potential changes in income, and long-term financial goals. Tax advisors can tailor their advice to each individual's circumstances, ensuring that decisions made today do not inadvertently lead to higher tax liabilities in the future.

Legislative Changes and Compliance

Tax legislation is constantly evolving, with changes that can directly impact how redundancy payments are taxed. Staying abreast of these changes is a full-time job – one that tax advisors undertake diligently. Their expertise can be pivotal in navigating new regulations, ensuring compliance while optimizing tax positions.

For instance, changes to the taxation of PILON or shifts in the tax-free allowance threshold can significantly alter the tax landscape. A professional advisor can provide insights into these changes, advising on the best course of action in light of new legislation. This proactive approach can prevent costly mistakes and ensure that individuals remain compliant with current tax laws.

Dispute Resolution and HMRC Negotiations

Should disputes arise with HMRC regarding the tax treatment of redundancy payments, having a tax advisor by one's side can be a game-changer. Their understanding of tax law and HMRC processes allows them to advocate effectively on behalf of their clients. Whether it's challenging an HMRC decision or negotiating a settlement, professional representation can make a substantial difference in the outcome.

Tax advisors possess the skills to navigate the complexities of dispute resolution, from drafting persuasive arguments to representing clients in discussions with HMRC. This level of support can alleviate the stress and uncertainty that tax disputes often bring.

The Human Element

Beyond the technical and legislative facets of tax advice, the human element cannot be understated. Redundancy is a challenging period, marked by uncertainty and change. A tax advisor provides not just expert guidance but also reassurance and support during these times. They can break down complex tax jargon into understandable language, empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their redundancy payments.

This personal touch, combined with professional expertise, underscores the value of seeking professional help from a tax advisor. It's about more than just numbers; it's about providing peace of mind, understanding, and strategic guidance tailored to each individual's unique situation.

The role of a professional tax advisor in the context of redundancy payments is multifaceted. They offer clarity on tax implications, strategic financial planning, legislative insight, dispute resolution, and a human touch during uncertain times. In the intricate world of tax law, where every decision can have significant financial implications, the expertise of a tax advisor can be the key to navigating redundancy with confidence and security.

For individuals facing redundancy, the importance of professional tax advice cannot be overstated. It ensures compliance, optimizes tax efficiency, and provides a strategic framework for managing redundancy payments. In essence, it equips individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to turn a challenging life event into an opportunity for thoughtful financial planning and decision-making.



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