Salary sacrifice could ‘dampen increased NICs costs’



Salary-sacrifice arrangements could help employees negate the National Insurance contributions (NICs) rise during 2022/23.


NICs will rise by 1.25% for employees, employers and the self-employed from April 2022 to fund the Government’s new health and social care levy.


In some scenarios, employees and employers can get around this by striking a salary sacrifice deal to reduce an employee’s gross pay in return for certain non-cash benefits, such as pension contributions.


This is a tax-efficient way to pay or boost pension contributions up to a limit, as the amount of salary exchanged is not liable for income tax or class 1 NICs.


Effectively, the non-cash benefit could become an employer pension contribution while reducing an employee’s NICs liability and also the employer’s NIC liability.


However, going down this route might lead to a reduction in some state benefits and could affect mortgage applications and employee benefits.


Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said:


“The 1.25% increase in NICs from next April increases employers’ payroll costs and will reduce employees’ take-home pay, making salary sacrifice even more attractive to dampen the increased costs.

“One way to offset the increased cost and to maintain current take-home pay, or increase pension contributions, is to use salary-sacrifice arrangements, although it may not be possible from April 2023.”

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