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January Question and Answer Section

Newsletter issue - January 2011.

Q. My employees earn an average of £490 per week, how much more NI will I have to pay for each employee from April 2011?

A. For an employee on average earnings of £490 per week you currently pay employer's NIC of £48.64 per week in 2010/11, but from 6 April 2011 this NIC bill increases to £48.85 per week. That adjustment appears small but it amounts to £10.92 per year per employee. The increase in NIC costs will be much larger for higher paid employees, but smaller for lower paid employees. For an employee on £210 per week, you pay employer's NICs of £12.80 per week in 2010/11, but this will drop to only £10.21 per week in 2011/12.

Q. I had taxable income of about £60,000 in 2009/10, made up entirely of dividends and bank interest. I also pay £2,400 per year into a personal pension. Will I get 40% tax relief on that pension contribution?

A. You will receive higher rate tax relief on your pension contribution if you make the claim on your tax return for 2009/10. A contribution of £2,400 is worth £3,000 to your pension fund as the pension scheme trustees reclaim £600 basic rate tax from HMRC. Your basic rate tax limit will be expanded to £40,400 by the gross value of your pension contribution. Which means £3,000 of dividends which would have been taxed at the higher rate applicable to dividends of 32.5%, will be taxed at 10%, saving you an additional 22.5% in tax, or £675.

Q. Our trade body charges a membership fee in advance for each calendar year, but from 1 December 2010 new members who join online can pay the annual fee for 2011 and become a member immediately, effectively receiving the balance of the 2010 membership period for free. The organisation is VAT registered and the membership fee is subject to standard rate VAT. Is it correct to charge new members 20% VAT when they join online in 2010?

A. The organisation should charge VAT at the standard rate in force at the date of the tax point for the membership subscription. This tax point is the earlier of the date the membership fees is received or the VAT invoice is issued. For new memberships paid for before 4 January 2011, the correct rate of VAT to charge is 17.5%, even where the membership covers the whole of the year 2011.