A new relief has been introduced for employers of armed forces veterans which allows them to benefit from a zero rate of secondary National Insurance contributions on the earnings of the veteran up to a new upper secondary threshold. However, while the relief applies from 6 April 2021, for 2021/22 employers must pay secondary contributions as normal and claim the relief retrospectively from 6 April 2022.
To encourage employers to employ armed forces veterans, no secondary Class 1 National Insurance contributions are payable on the veteran’s earnings during the first 12 months of their first civilian employment since leaving the armed forces, unless their earnings exceed a new upper secondary threshold. The new upper secondary threshold for veterans will be set at the same level as the existing upper secondary thresholds for employees under the age of 21 and apprentices under the age of 25. For 2021/22, this is £967 per week, £4,189 per month and £50,270 per year. The threshold is also aligned with the upper earnings limit applying for primary (employee’s) Class 1 National Insurance purposes.
If earnings exceed the new upper secondary threshold, employer’s contributions are payable as normal on the excess at the usual rate of 13.8%.
The relief applies from 6 April 2021. Where the veteran’s first civilian employment after leaving the armed forces started after 6 April 2020 but before 6 April 2021, the relief will apply from 6 April 2021 until the first anniversary of the start date.
Subsequent and concurrent employers will also be able to benefit from the relief during the relief period.
For the purposes of the relief, an armed forces veteran is someone who has served at least one day in the regular armed forces. This includes someone who has undertaken at least one day of basic training.
The relief is available from 6 April 2021 and applies for 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24 (although the Treasury have the power to extend the relief to later tax years). However, the way in which the relief is given depends on the tax year. HMRC have published guidance for employers who hire armed forces veterans explaining how the relief works.
For 2021/22 only, employers who take on an armed forces veteran in the first year of their first civilian employment since leaving the armed forces will need to pay secondary Class 1 National Insurance on the veteran’s earnings as usual to the extent that they exceed the secondary threshold (set at £170 per week, £737 per month and £8,840 per year for 2021/22). Employers will be able to claim the relief retrospectively from 6 April 2022.
For 2022/23 and 2023/24, employers will be able to apply the relief in real time through the payroll, as is the case for the reliefs available to employers of employees under the age of 21 and employers of apprentices under the age of 25.
Talk to us to find out whether you are able to benefit from the relief, and how much it is worth to you.