Optional remuneration arrangements

Produced by Tolley in association with Robert Woodward
Optional remuneration arrangements

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Robert Woodward provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Optional remuneration arrangements
  • Overview
  • Benefit value
  • Exemptions
  • Transitional provisions
  • Factors to consider

Overview

For more information and guidance from HMRC in this area in relation to coronavirus, see the Optional remuneration arrangements and coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance note.

Effective from 6 April 2017 new legislation on optional remuneration arrangements (OpRA) adds a further consideration to the taxation of benefits provided through salary sacrifice. It builds upon the removal of tax advantages for canteens, home computers and travel payments provided through salary sacrifice which were already in place before the OpRA rules.

The salary sacrifice agreement conditions are set out in the Salary sacrifice arrangements ― overview guidance note and are unaffected by the OpRA rules.

The OpRA rules apply to two types of situation:

  1. sacrificing current salary in favour of a benefit (‘traditional’ salary sacrifice) ― ‘Type A arrangements’

  2. foregoing future salary / earnings (this is harder to ascertain) ― ‘Type B arrangements’

Whilst the first is generally understood, a question remains over to what extent “agrees to be provided with a benefit” as part of benefits package negotiations and to the extent they would be caught by Type B arrangements, for example what happens if an employee is offered benefits / cash equivalent (eg company car or car allowance) when promoted. HMRC guidance on this does not shed much light and it remains to be seen how it is enforced by HMRC in practice. However, it is worth remembering that a benefit must be provided in order for the legislation to apply, therefore, if no benefit is actually provided, the default is the receipt of salary which will be subjec

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