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Understanding the 2024 UK Budget: An Overview for Payroll and Recruitment

Understanding the 2024 UK Budget: An Overview for Payroll and Recruitment

by on March 13, 2024

The 2024 UK Budget has introduced several measures that will significantly impact the payroll and recruitment industries. From National Insurance cuts to changes in VAT registration thresholds, these measures are poised to affect employers, umbrella companies, the recruitment sector, and contract and freelance workers in various ways. 

Here's a comprehensive breakdown of the fundamental changes and how they might influence these groups.


National Insurance (NI) Cuts

  • Impact on Payroll and Employers

The reduction of the NI rate for employees from 10% to 8% represents a significant saving for both employees and employers. Employers may see this as an opportunity to review compensation packages, potentially offering more competitive salaries or benefits. Adjusting to these changes will be crucial for payroll departments to ensure compliance by the 6th April 2024 deadline.

  • Impact on Umbrella Companies and Contract Workers

The cut in Class 4 NICs for the self-employed from 9% to 6% is a welcome change for freelancers and contractors. Umbrella companies will need to adjust their payroll systems accordingly and may be able to offer more attractive terms to contractors, enhancing their competitiveness in the market.


Abolishing the Class 2 NICs Requirement

This move could benefit many self-employed individuals by reducing their tax burden. It also simplifies the tax system for freelancers and contractors, potentially making self-employment more appealing.


VAT Registration Threshold Increase

Raising the VAT registration threshold from £85,000 to £90,000 helps SMEs ease tax pressures and foster growth. Recruitment agencies working with SMEs may find their clients in a better financial position to invest in growth and talent acquisition.


NHS Agency Staffing Cost Reduction

Efforts to lower NHS agency staffing costs and cease using off-framework agencies could have a mixed impact. While it aims to reduce expenditure, recruitment agencies specialising in healthcare might need to adjust their strategies to align with these new regulations.


Clamping Down on Tax Avoidance

The government is clamping down on tax avoidance promoters by making it harder to provide harmful tax advice. It is currently consulting on options to strengthen the regulatory framework for tax advice and on requiring tax advisers to register with HMRC if they wish to interact with them on a client's behalf.

It has long been on the government's agenda, and they have now set out the next steps for tackling non-compliance in the umbrella market at 'Tax Administration and Maintenance Day'. In summer 2024, the government will also publish new guidance to support workers and other businesses who use umbrella companies.


Modernising and Strengthening the Tax Regime

The replacement of the tax regime for non-UK domiciled individuals and the introduction of metrics to simplify the tax system signifies a move towards a more streamlined, modern tax framework. For the payroll and recruitment industries, staying informed and adapting to these changes will be vital for seamless operations.


Digital Services for Income Tax Self-Assessment

The simplification of digital services for Income Tax Self-Assessment aims to make tax compliance more manageable. For freelance and contract workers, this could mean a more straightforward process for managing their taxes.


Investing in HMRC Debt Management and Combatting Fraud

With additional funding to enhance HMRC's debt management capabilities and to combat fraud, we may see a more efficient process for resolving tax debts and a stronger stance against fraud. This could lead to a more trustworthy business environment for all parties in the recruitment and payroll sectors.


Starting Rate for Savings and Furnished Holiday Lettings Tax Regime

Maintaining the 0% band for savings income could benefit individuals with lower incomes, including part-time workers or those between contracts. The abolition of tax advantages for furnished holiday lettings might impact those in the recruitment industry who rely on these properties for short-term accommodation.

In conclusion, the 2024 UK Budget introduces significant changes that payroll professionals, recruitment agencies, umbrella companies, and freelance and contract workers must understand and prepare for. By staying informed and proactive, stakeholders can navigate these changes effectively to leverage opportunities and mitigate challenges.


For more information and advice, contact Payme.