Salary sacrifice is something you may have come across before but not fully understood. After all, why would anyone want to voluntarily give up some of their salary? The reality is that, in some instances, using salary sacrifice to get alternative benefits can reduce your tax bill considerably and make buying the things you would buy anyway much cheaper.
Employers have the ability to arrange large discounts if they know a number of employees will take up a specific benefit, because the provider will be able to sell a larger number in one go if the product or service is being paid for through a company payroll.
What can it be used for?
There are many things employers can offer to their employees through a salary sacrifice scheme. Bicycles, bus passes or other transport payments, gym membership and even car parking or laptops can all be offered via salary sacrifice. People can also make pension payments this way.
The main benefit is that by purchasing goods and services through the payroll, the payment is taken from your salary at source which means you don’t pay tax or National Insurance on the amount of money used to pay for these items. For example, a higher-rate taxpayer would save 40% and 2% NI on the amount of money they sacrifice to make the purchase, while a basic rate taxpayer would save 20% and 12% on NI.
If you are keen to get an electric vehicle, using salary sacrifice can be one of the most cost-effective ways to achieve this. Although this is seen as a ‘benefit in kind’, the value applied to electric cars is just 2%, while for petrol and diesel cars it can be as much as 37%.
As the salary isn’t being ‘paid’ to the employee, employers will be able to reduce their NI contributions too, making it a win-win for all.
We can help you meet your obligations
If you are interested in offering salary sacrifice for your employees, or approaching your employer to see if it will offer you a salary sacrifice scheme, then please discuss this with us and we will advise you on how to do this.