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What is BIK (Benefit in Kind) in the UK?

Updated: May 1, 2023


In the United Kingdom, Benefit in Kind (BIK) refers to any non-cash benefits provided by an employer to their employees that have a monetary value. These benefits are usually enjoyed in addition to the employee's salary and can range from company cars to private medical insurance. It is crucial for both employers and employees to understand how BIK operates within the UK tax system, as it affects their tax liabilities and responsibilities. This article will explore the concept of BIK, its implications, and how it is calculated.



What is BIK (Benefit in Kind) in the UK


An Example of How the BIK (Benefit in Kind) System Works

Let's say that an employer provides an employee with a company car that they can use for both business and personal use. The list price of the car is £20,000, and the employee is also provided with fuel for personal use.


Under the BIK system, the value of the benefit is calculated as follows:


  1. The list price of the car: £20,000

  2. Multiply by the appropriate percentage rate based on the car's CO2 emissions and fuel type: let's say it's 25% for this car, so 25% of £20,000 is £5,000

  3. Subtract any amount contributed by the employee towards the car: let's say the employee contributes £1,000 towards the car, so the resulting BIK value is £4,000

  4. Add the value of the fuel benefit: let's say the employer provides the employee with £1,000 worth of fuel for personal use, so the total BIK value is £5,000

  5. This means that the employee would be liable to pay income tax on the BIK value of £5,000, which would be added to their taxable income for the year. The employer would also need to pay Class 1A National Insurance contributions (NICs) on the BIK value.


The exact amount of income tax and NICs payable would depend on the employee's tax code, their overall income for the year, and whether they have any other BIKs or deductions to take into account.


It's important to note that the BIK system applies to a wide range of non-cash benefits, not just company cars. Other examples of BIKs include private medical insurance, gym memberships, low-interest loans, and accommodation provided by an employer. The exact tax treatment of each benefit will depend on its value and how it is provided to the employee.


Types of Benefits in Kind

BIK covers a wide variety of non-cash benefits provided by employers. These benefits are typically classified into the following categories:


  1. Company Cars and Fuel: Employees, who use a company car for private purposes, including commuting, are subject to BIK taxation. This also applies to any fuel provided by the employer for personal use.

  2. Loans: If an employer provides a low-interest or interest-free loan to an employee, it may be considered a BIK.

  3. Accommodation: BIK applies to accommodation provided by the employer, such as a house or flat, when it is not a necessary part of the employee's job.

  4. Private Medical Insurance: Employers who offer private medical insurance as part of their employees' remuneration packages may trigger BIK liabilities.

  5. Childcare: BIK taxation may apply to employer-provided childcare vouchers or facilities.

  6. Other Benefits: This includes various benefits such as gym memberships, company credit cards, and professional subscriptions.


What are the Pros and Cons of BIK (Benefit in Kind)?

Benefit in Kind (BIK) refers to non-cash benefits provided by employers to their employees in addition to their regular salaries. In the UK, BIK is subject to tax and National Insurance contributions. Here, we'll discuss some of the pros and cons of BIK in the UK.


Pros:


  • Employee motivation and satisfaction: BIK can boost employee morale and job satisfaction by providing additional perks that enhance their overall compensation packages, such as private health insurance, company cars, or gym memberships.

  • Flexibility: BIK can be tailored to individual employees' needs and preferences, allowing employers to provide benefits that are most valued by their workforce.

  • Tax efficiency: Some BIKs are tax-exempt or receive preferential tax treatment, which can result in reduced tax liabilities for both the employer and employee. Examples include childcare vouchers, workplace pension contributions, and cycle-to-work schemes.

  • Recruitment and retention: Offering BIK can make a company more attractive to potential employees and help retain existing staff by demonstrating the employer's commitment to their well-being and work-life balance.

  • Enhanced productivity: Providing benefits that contribute to employees' overall health and well-being can lead to increased productivity, as healthier, happier employees are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work.


Cons:

  • Tax complexity: BIK can add complexity to an employee's tax affairs, as it affects their income tax and National Insurance contributions. Employees may need to understand the tax implications of their benefits and potentially complete a self-assessment tax return.

  • Administrative burden: Employers are responsible for reporting BIKs to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and managing the associated tax and National Insurance contributions. This can increase administrative costs and complexity for businesses.

  • Perceived inequality: If not managed carefully, BIK can create perceived inequalities among employees who may feel they are not receiving the same level of benefits as their colleagues, potentially leading to decreased morale and workplace conflict.

  • Cost to employers: Providing BIKs can be expensive for employers, particularly for small businesses that may have limited resources to allocate to employee benefits.

  • Changing tax regulations: Tax laws and regulations related to BIK can change over time, which may affect the tax efficiency of certain benefits or require employers to adjust their benefits offerings.

Overall, BIK can provide valuable perks to employees and help employers attract and retain talent. However, it's important to consider the tax implications, administrative burden, and potential issues related to perceived inequality when implementing a BIK program.


Taxation of Benefits in Kind

Employees are required to pay tax on the value of the BIK they receive. The tax rate depends on the employee's income tax bracket and the type and value of the BIK. Employers are also responsible for paying National Insurance contributions (NICs) on the value of the BIK provided to their employees.


Benefits in kind are subject to taxation in the UK, which means that you may need to pay tax on the value of the benefit that you receive from your employer. The way in which benefits in kind are taxed depends on the type of benefit.

Some benefits in kind are taxed through your Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax code. This means that the value of the benefit is added to your taxable income and you will pay tax on it at your marginal rate. The amount of tax you pay will depend on your total income, including the value of the benefit.

Other benefits in kind are taxed differently. For example, if you receive a company car, the amount of tax you pay will depend on the value of the car, the fuel type, and the level of carbon emissions. There are also specific rules for calculating the taxable value of other benefits, such as accommodation.

It is worth noting that there are some benefits in kind that are exempt from tax, such as:

  • Workplace nurseries

  • Certain types of travel expenses

  • Employer-provided pension schemes

  • Annual staff parties

How is the Value of Benefits in Kind Calculated?

The value of benefits in kind is calculated differently depending on the type of benefit. For example:

  • The value of a company car is based on the list price of the car when it was first registered, the level of CO2 emissions, and the fuel type.

  • The value of private medical insurance is based on the cost of the policy.

  • The value of accommodation is based on the market rent of the property.

Your employer should be able to tell you the value of the benefit that you are receiving and how it has been calculated.

What Happens if I Opt Out of a Benefit in Kind?

If you opt out of a benefit in kind, you will not have to pay tax on it. However, you should consider the impact that opting out might have on your overall compensation package. For example, if you opt out of private health insurance, you may have to pay for medical treatment yourself.



What is the Use of Benefits in Kind in the UK?


Benefits in kind are non-cash benefits that an employer provides to an employee in addition to their salary. These benefits can be a valuable part of an employee's compensation package, and they can be used in a variety of ways.


Recruitment and Retention

One of the main uses of benefits in kind is for recruitment and retention. Employers can use benefits to attract new talent to their company and retain existing employees. Benefits like private health insurance, gym memberships, and childcare vouchers can be very attractive to employees, and they can help to differentiate one employer from another.


Employee Satisfaction and Engagement

Another use of benefits in kind is to increase employee satisfaction and engagement. When employees feel valued and appreciated by their employer, they are more likely to be happy and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity, better customer service, and lower turnover rates. Benefits like flexible working arrangements, extra vacation days, and paid time off for volunteering can all contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement.


Improved Health and Wellbeing

Benefits in kind can also be used to improve employee health and well-being. For example, providing free or subsidized gym memberships or healthy food options in the workplace can encourage employees to make healthier choices. This can lead to reduced absenteeism, better mental health, and improved overall well-being.


Tax Benefits

Providing benefits in kind can also have tax benefits for both the employer and the employee. Some benefits are exempt from tax, which means that they are not subject to income tax or national insurance contributions. This can make benefits in kind a cost-effective way for employers to provide additional compensation to their employees.


Calculating BIK Value

The method used to calculate the value of a BIK varies depending on the type of benefit. Some common methods include:


  1. Company cars: The taxable value of a company car is determined by the car's list price, its CO2 emissions, and the employee's income tax rate. A percentage, based on the CO2 emissions, is applied to the list price of the car, and the resulting value is then subject to the employee's income tax rate.

  2. Fuel: The taxable value of fuel for a company car is calculated using a fixed sum, which is multiplied by the car's CO2 emissions-based percentage. This sum is then subject to the employee's income tax rate.

  3. Loans: The taxable value of a low-interest or interest-free loan is calculated by taking the difference between the interest paid on the loan and the interest that would have been paid at the official rate set by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

  4. Accommodation: The taxable value of employer-provided accommodation is calculated based on the annual rental value of the property, or a fixed sum if the property is owned by the employer.

  5. Other benefits: For other BIKs, the taxable value is generally determined by the cost to the employer or the market value of the benefit.


Exemptions and Reliefs

In the UK, Benefit in Kind (BIK) refers to non-cash benefits provided by employers to their employees. While these benefits are typically subject to taxation, certain exemptions and reliefs exist to reduce or eliminate the tax burden. This article will delve into the various exemptions and reliefs available for BIK in the UK, helping both employers and employees navigate the tax landscape more effectively. Certain BIKs are exempt from tax, including employer contributions to registered pension schemes, certain business-related expenses, and some work-related training.


Understanding BIK Exemptions

BIK exemptions refer to specific benefits that are not subject to taxation. Employers can provide these benefits without incurring additional tax liabilities for themselves or their employees. Some common BIK exemptions include:


  1. Pension Contributions: Employer contributions to registered pension schemes are exempt from BIK taxation. This encourages employers to contribute towards their employees' retirement savings.

  2. Business-related Expenses: Expenses incurred by employees in the course of performing their job duties, such as business travel and equipment costs, are exempt from BIK taxation when reimbursed by the employer.

  3. Work-related Training: Training courses provided by employers that are directly related to the employee's job or enhance their work-related skills are exempt from BIK taxation.

  4. Mobile Phones: The provision of one mobile phone per employee is exempt from BIK taxation, provided it is primarily used for business purposes.


Exploring BIK Reliefs

BIK reliefs refer to reductions in the taxable value of a BIK, potentially lowering the tax liability for employees. Some common BIK reliefs include:


  1. Company Cars: Employees who use a company car for business purposes may be eligible for a reduction in the taxable value of the car based on their business mileage. The more business miles driven, the greater the potential relief.

  2. Company Vans: If a company van is used primarily for business purposes, and private use is restricted to commuting between home and work, the taxable value of the van may be reduced.

  3. Childcare: Employers can provide tax-free childcare vouchers up to a certain limit per employee, depending on their income tax bracket. This relief encourages employers to support their employees with childcare costs.

  4. Cycle-to-work Schemes: Employers can offer tax-free loans to employees for the purchase of bicycles and related safety equipment as part of a government-approved cycle-to-work scheme. This encourages employees to adopt a healthier and more environmentally-friendly mode of transport for commuting.


BIK Tax Planning Strategies

Both employers and employees can employ various tax planning strategies to minimize BIK liabilities. Some effective strategies include:


Opting for Low-emission Company Cars: Employees can choose company cars with lower CO2 emissions, which typically result in lower BIK tax rates. Employers can also adopt a green fleet policy, encouraging the use of eco-friendly vehicles.


Salary Sacrifice Schemes: Employers can implement salary sacrifice schemes, where employees give up a portion of their salary in exchange for non-taxable benefits, such as pension contributions or childcare vouchers. This can lower the employee's overall tax liability.


Reviewing Benefits Packages: Employers should regularly review their benefits packages to ensure they are offering tax-efficient benefits to their employees. This may include replacing high-tax BIKs with lower-tax alternatives or exempt benefits.


Reporting BIKs, Exemptions, and Reliefs

Employers are required to report BIKs, exemptions, and reliefs to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) through the completion of a P11D form or via payroll reporting. It is essential for employers to maintain accurate records of the benefits provided to employees, as well as any exemptions



How to Calculate the Value of a Company Car for Tax Purposes in the UK

Company cars are a popular employee benefit in the UK, but they also come with a tax liability for both the employee and the employer. The taxable value of a company car is determined by various factors, including the car's list price, CO2 emissions, and the employee's income tax bracket. In this article, we will explore how to calculate the value of a company car for tax purposes in the UK, helping both employers and employees navigate the complex tax system.


Understanding the Taxable Value of a Company Car

The taxable value of a company car is calculated by multiplying the car's list price by a percentage, based on its CO2 emissions. This percentage is determined by the car's emissions level in grams per kilometer (g/km) and its fuel type. The resulting value is then subject to the employee's income tax bracket. Though company car tax rates are adjusted every April in each financial year, the current rates of 2023 are frozen until April 2025.


Determining the Appropriate Percentage

The percentage used to calculate the taxable value of a company car is based on the car's CO2 emissions level. The lower the emissions, the lower the percentage and therefore the lower the tax liability. The percentage is also affected by the fuel type of the car, with diesel cars typically having a higher percentage than petrol cars.


The percentage table used to determine the taxable value of a company car is updated annually by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and can be found on their website. The percentage varies depending on the car's emissions level, as follows:


0-50 g/km: 1%-14%

51-54 g/km: 15%

55-59 g/km: 16%

60-64 g/km: 17%

65-69 g/km: 18%

70-74 g/km: 19%

75-79 g/km: 20%

80-84 g/km: 21%

85-89 g/km: 22%

90-94 g/km: 23%

95-99 g/km: 24%

100-104 g/km: 25%

105-109 g/km: 26%

110-114 g/km: 27%

115-119 g/km: 28%

120-124 g/km: 29%

125-129 g/km: 30%

130-134 g/km: 31%

135-139 g/km: 32%

140-144 g/km: 33%

145-149 g/km: 34%

150-154 g/km: 35%

155-159 g/km: 36%

160-164 g/km: 37%

165-169 g/km: 38%

170 g/km and above: 39%


Accounting for Optional Extras

Optional extras added to a company car, such as metallic paint or a sunroof, are included in the car's list price for tax purposes. However, certain optional extras that have a negligible value, such as floor mats or a spare wheel, may be excluded from the calculation.


Adjusting for the Age of the Car

The taxable value of a company car is based on the car's list price when new. However, the taxable value is adjusted for each year the car has been in use, using a set depreciation scale. The depreciation scale is also updated from time to time.



What is the Depreciation Scale for Company Cars in the UK?


The Importance of Depreciation in Calculating Company Car Tax

Calculating the taxable value of a company car in the UK involves taking into account several factors, including the car's list price, CO2 emissions, and the employee's income tax bracket. However, one critical factor that is often overlooked is the age of the car, which is accounted for using a depreciation scale. In this article, we will explore the depreciation scale used to calculate the value of a company car for tax purposes in the UK.


Understanding the Depreciation Scale

The depreciation scale is used to adjust the taxable value of a company car based on the number of years it has been in use. The scale takes into account the car's list price when new, its CO2 emissions, and the age of the car, as follows:


Year 1: 100% of the car's list price is used to calculate the taxable value.

Year 2: 19% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Year 3: 15% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Year 4: 12% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Year 5: 10% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Years 6 and beyond: 6% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value for each subsequent year.

For example, suppose a company car has a list price of £30,000 and is four years old. In that case, the taxable value of the car would be calculated as follows:


Year 1: £30,000 (100%) = £30,000 taxable value.

Year 2: £5,700 (19% of £30,000) = £24,300 taxable value.

Year 3: £4,500 (15% of £30,000) = £19,800 taxable value.

Year 4: £3,600 (12% of £30,000) = £16,200 taxable value.

Total taxable value = £90,300.

Heading 2: Adjusting for Low-emission Cars


For low-emission company cars, defined as those with CO2 emissions of 50g/km or less, the depreciation scale is different. These cars receive a 100% first-year allowance, meaning that the entire cost of the car can be deducted from taxable profits in the year of purchase. For subsequent years, the depreciation scale is as follows:


Year 2: 18% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Year 3: 13% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Year 4: 8% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Year 5: 5% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value.

Years 6 and beyond 3% of the car's list price is subtracted from the taxable value for each subsequent year.


Impact of the Depreciation Scale on Company Car Tax

The depreciation scale can have a significant impact on the taxable value of a company car, particularly in the first few years of the car's life. For example, a new company car with a list price of £30,000 may have a taxable value of £15,000 in its second year, representing a significant reduction in tax liability. However, as the car gets older, the impact of the depreciation scale on the taxable value.



Why Is It a Good Idea To Get Professional Help For BIK (Benefit In Kind) In The UK?


It can be a good idea to seek professional help when dealing with Benefit in Kind (BIK) in the UK, as the tax rules and regulations can be complex and difficult to navigate without expertise in the field. Here are some reasons why:


Reduce The Risk Of Errors: The BIK system involves a lot of calculations, and mistakes can easily be made. Professional advisers who specialize in BIK can help ensure that calculations are accurate, reducing the risk of errors that could result in penalties and fines from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


Save Time And Effort: Managing BIK can be time-consuming and require significant effort, particularly for small business owners who may not have in-house expertise or resources to handle it. Professional advisers can help manage the administrative burden of BIK and allow business owners to focus on other important aspects of their business.


Stay Up-To-Date With Changing Regulations: Tax laws and regulations related to BIK can change over time, making it difficult for businesses to keep up with the latest requirements. Professional advisers are well-versed in the latest tax rules and can help ensure that businesses remain compliant with regulatory changes.


Optimize BIK Offerings: Professional advisers can help businesses determine which BIKs are most valuable to their employees and provide guidance on how to optimize their benefits offerings to attract and retain talent.


Minimize Tax Liabilities: Professional advisers can help businesses structure their BIK offerings in a tax-efficient way, potentially reducing tax liabilities for both the employer and employee.


Overall, seeking professional help for BIK in the UK can help businesses stay compliant with tax regulations, reduce the risk of errors, and optimize their benefits offerings to attract and retain talent. By working with a knowledgeable adviser, businesses can ensure that their BIK program is designed to meet their specific needs and goals.

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