The Tronc Master!

Quite an impressive title but a ‘Troncmaster’ is a slightly more mundane.  The troncmaster is an employee appointed to over see the distribution of gratuities, ie look after the tips.  The troncmaster cannot be an employer or somebody that can be shown to respond to the employers wishes, the troncmaster must be independent.  There is much more information and advice on the appointment of a troncmaster on the HMRC website.

The gratuities handled in this way are subject to tax, but usually not national insurance.  Not all gratuities are managed by troncmasters and there is a lot of HMRC guidance as to when tax and NIC are applicable for all of the different scheme variations.  What seems simple at the outset can quickly become very complicated, consider the difference between a gratuity and a service charge for instance, but it is probably worthwhile.

We think ‘tronc’ is derived from the French for ‘collecting box’.  So the sun is shining, we are eating and drinking at the bars and cafes, but if you leave a tip will it be managed by a troncmaster?

Transferable Tax Allowance

In the 2014 budget a new transferable tax allowance was proposed to be launched in the 2015/2016 tax year.  The proposal is to transfer £1050 of tax allowance from one partner to another, this includes civil partnerships and marriages.  It would appear that neither partner must be earning above the basic rate to make the transfer, and the transfer will result in altered tax codes.

For us as a payroll provider, we will just process tax code changes in the usual way, and for employers they may well not notice any impact at all.  We do not know how simple it will be for individuals to make this transfer, however, and we will have to wait until the proposals are finalised.  The government has projected an average £197 p.a. saving for married couples on basic rate tax but this will obviously very much depend on individual circumstances.

Holiday Entitlement

This is an area we frequently get asked about.  The answer is more in the realms of a Human Resources department than payroll but we do have people that can offer general guidance regarding the statutory minimum.  A worker working 5 days is entitled to 28 days paid leave, if they work for 6 days this is not increased but working less will see a pro rata reduction.

However, it can be complicated!  There will be contractual considerations.  Irregular hours can make life more awkward, as can sickness or maternity/paternity leave.  For a definitive answer you need your HR department.  If you do not have an HR department consider one of the employer legal helplines.  There is also this web link –

Holiday entitlement should not be difficult but disputes can occur, it is much better to have a proper policy in place before you develop a problem.

Childcare Voucher Scheme Ending Soon?

The current scheme allowing tax free purchase of childcare vouchers may be coming to an end.  Currently we can make up to a £243 per month ‘salary sacrifice’ through the payroll for the purchase of recognised childcare vouchers.  The ‘salary sacrifice’, or ‘salary exchange’, is a deduction made on the gross pay before Tax and National Insurance is calculated and as such is a very efficient method for purchasing child care for most people.

The proposals are not finalised and it appears there will be some form of “tax free” childcare to replace the current scheme but what form that will take we do not know.  It is always possible that nothing will change but….

Manual Payroll

The HMRC website now has the tables for manual calculations for tax and National Insurance, so if you wish to check your payslip you can do so using pen and paper.  There are table and calculator methods, and there will usually be very small differences between the two, but both are accepted by HMRC.

AE Timebomb

We attended an auto-enrolment seminar last week with presentations from financial advisors and pension companies.  There could be trouble approaching, as the number of companies expecting to have auto-enrolment pension provision seems to outstrip the current capacity of the pension industry to provide it.  There was also a statistic presented that 30% of companies that were due to start in April and May failed to do so.

Your company should start to prepare at least 6 – 12 months prior to the staging date.  Look on ‘The Pensions Regulator’ website, and have your PAYE number to hand, and you will find that first piece of information.  Be warned – An existing pension scheme may well not meet the requirements of auto enrolment, and there is no obligation for a current provider to assist you.

As a payroll bureau we can help.  There are lots of steps to set up the pension, and an on going burden, but equally an opportunity to add to your companies employee benefit package and hopefully improve staff retention.  If a contractual pension scheme does not suit, then an auto-enrolment payroll assessment scheme is the answer.

We can help process the assessment, provide data for you and provide data for the pension company.  We hope we can be part of the solution and make life a little less complicated, while still allowing your company to comply with the most recent set of legislation.  Contact us if you need further information

PAYE Penalty Charges

HMRC has announce changes to penalties for late filing of PAYE information that will effect both 2013 and 2014 tax years.  Companies not filing their returns could face fixed penalties.

The good news is that these steps are to avoid confusion with the new ‘in-year’ penalty system to be introduced in October 2014.  The moral of this story is to not make late submissions!

The penalties were always planned and it is all part of the PAYE real time information system.  We make the submissions on our clients behalf using their PAYE and tax office reference numbers.

There is further information available on the HMRC website


P46 forms – RIP

The P46 forms were used when an employee arrived without a P45, this was amended to a ‘shorter’ P46 and now is no longer used at all.  It is not possible to submit a P46 to HMRC and all they need is the starter declaration information that we have included on the ‘New Starter Forms‘.  It is also possible to use an HMRC new starter declaration but the information is the same and our form keeps everything we need in one place.

The new starter form includes basic information, such as National Insurance Number, but it is the answers to the questions that have the influence on the tax code an employee will start with.  Please try and answer A, B or C as a ‘not known’ results in a 0T wk1/mth1 tax code and the employee may have an initially higher amount of tax deducted than necessary.  The following are the bands given depending on the answers (valid 2.6.14) –

A – 1000L cumulative
B – 1000L wk1/mth1
C – BR cumulative

Auto-Enrolment Newsletter – Update

Workplace pension law has changed. Every employer in the UK will eventually be required to help their workers to save for their retirement. Employers will need to automatically enrol certain workers into a pension scheme and contribute towards it.

In very simplistic terms all of your existing employees and any new employees will be required to be a member of a compliant pension scheme, with the employer making a minimum contribution. There are exceptions based upon age and how much your employee is paid. An employee can opt-out from the pension scheme. Please be aware however that this is a very simplistic view of Auto-Enrolment and in practice it is far more complex.

When will this affect me? – Staging Dates

The Pensions Regulator has assigned all organisations a staging date for when they need to start Auto-Enrolment. The staging date is dependent on what the size of your organisation was in April 2012. To establish the staging date for your organisation please visit (you will require your PAYE reference number from the front page of your reports)

Once you know your organisation’s staging date it is then time to start preparing for Auto-Enrolment


How should I prepare for Auto-Enrolment?

The process of Auto-Enrolment is complex and as such there is a great deal of information available via The Pensions Regulator website ( If you already have a pension provider consider discussing Auto-Enrolment with them.


Can I get help?

We are working alongside a firm of independent financial advisers, NLP Financial Management who will ensure that you meet your Auto Enrolment obligations whilst removing the complexities involved. NLPFM can assist with all aspects of the process including explaining your obligation and the financial impact it will have on your business, sourcing and setting up the pension scheme and providing you with the necessary communication that you will need to issue to your employees. By working alongside Payroll Options, NLPFM will ensure that the process is as simple and easy for you as possible. In recognition of NLPFM’s range of services and client care, they have recently been named the Citywire ‘New Model Adviser Firm of the Year’ for Greater London.

To discuss Auto-Enrolment with NLPFM contact Chad Atwal, Tel: 0207 472 5541 Email:


How can Payroll Options help?

Payroll Options have developed a number of tools to assist you with Auto-Enrolment.


  • Once your staging date has arrived we are able to perform the complex task of Auto-Enrolment Assessment of your employees with every payroll thereafter to see who should be added to the pension scheme.
  • Employees will be added to the Auto-Enrolment Pension scheme at the appropriate time once any postponement periods have passed and have contributions calculated.
  • We are able to provide to you with data containing details of employees and their pension contributions that your pension company will require you to provide to them.


Our charges will increase by 5% from your Staging Date to cover the ongoing increase in time required to prepare your payroll and the additional systems required for Auto-Enrolment.

Please remember Auto-Enrolment is not something that can be ignored –start your preparations now.