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|Basic document checks|
According to the Asylum and Immigration Act 2006 all UK employers are required by law to make basic document checks on each person they intend to employ in order to establish that they have a right to work in the UK and are here legally. Failure to make these checks puts the employer at risk of committing a criminal offence.
It is essential that these checks are carried out on all potential employees whether or not you think they have a right to work in the UK by making assumptions based on their appearance or accent. You could face prosecution under the Race Relations Act 1976 and an unlimited fine if you do not ask all potential employees these questions.
Please tick all documents seen, using the Illegal worker’s checklist provided by Stafftax when you subscribe to our services, and take copies and keep them in a safe place. Both the checklist and the copies may be used to help you establish a statutory excuse if the documents later turn out to be fraudulent or the worker is proven not to have the right to work in the UK.
If the person you wish to employ produces a document from List A the “statutory excuse” is provided for the whole of their employment with you. A document from List B indicates that the individual only has limited leave to remain in the UK and therefore you must repeat the document check at least every 12 months until the employee can produce documents from List A.
If they cannot produce documents from List A do not assume that you must automatically dismiss them on the basis that they are an illegal worker. You will need to establish if they are in the process of receiving documents from List A and use that information to inform your decision on the right course of action.
If you knowingly employ someone without the right to work in the UK you are committing an offence that carries a new penalty of up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Failing to establish the statutory excuse by not carrying out the checks also carries a punitive penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.
Please note that for persons recruited before 28 February 2008 the rules are slightly different and the document checks provide employers with a Section 8 defense, rather than a statutory excuse.
|Can domestic staff be self-employed?|
"Can't I just ask my employee to sort out their own tax?" this is a question we're frequently asked by potential employers. Whether someone is employed or self-employed depends on the terms and conditions of their work. It is important for all employees to know their employment status as it affects employment and benefit rights, and how to pay tax and National Insurance Contributions.
It is equally important that you, as the employer, are absolutely certain whether it is your responsibility or theirs to declare tax and NI.
How to determine employment status
A worker is probably considered self-employed if they:
*Please note that these lists are not exhaustive.
The exception to the rule
However in some cases HMRC do grant self-employment status to domestic workers. It is very important to remember that if you take on domestic staff who was previously self-employed they should contact the Revenue and request confirmation in writing that their status still applies in the new position.
|Benefits in kind|
Benefits in kind are sometimes provided by the employer in addition to the employee's salary. They are often taxable benefits and must be reported annually as part of employee's gross earnings.
Who pays the tax?
Tax on benefits in kind is payable in arrears and is not reported until July following the end of the tax year. Sometimes it can take up to two years before payments are claimed by HMRC, and during the interim your employee can have moved from one job to another, leaving the new employer responsible for paying what can in some cases be a very large sum of money. If your employee is on a gross wage, however, then the tax is deduced from their gross income at their current rate of tax.
In addition to tax there may also be a Class 1A NI charge of 12.8% of the value of the benefit to be paid - the employer always pays this charge.
Examples of taxable benefits
NB: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS LIST IS NOT EXHAUSTIVE.
Mobile phones are not considered a taxable benefit
Use of Car
Please note that the information and examples contained on this page are to be used as guidelines only. If you have specific questions please contact Stafftax.