Employer provided living accommodation – call for evidence
LITRG has responded to a government call for evidence which has been published to find out whether there is a case for making any changes to the current rules on employer provided living accommodation.
‘Living accommodation’ is one of the most complex benefits when it comes to calculating the tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC) position of employees. Despite this, and the fact we run a tax and NIC ‘help’ facility for care and support employers (see: www.disabilitytaxguide.org.uk), we see few queries around living accommodation.
In our submission we tell the Government this and state that this could perhaps be put down to the fact that care and support employers are (incorrectly) understanding that any living accommodation (and extras) they provide is exempt from tax and NIC. We go on to say that while worrying it is not entirely surprising, based on the guidance in GOV.UK which in no way indicates that the ‘job-related’ exemptions are so tightly drawn and, indeed, incorrectly states that if living accommodation is exempt then so are any associated costs such as heating and lighting.
One of the reasons behind this call for evidence is that the Government wishes to ascertain how well understood the rules are. We surmise that the answer is ‘not well’ among this constituency of taxpayers. At the very least we hope that this situation will improve as an outcome of this consultation.
It seems to us however, that another way forward is to take living accommodation and any associated costs provided for carers by their (care and support) employers out of charge entirely. There is a principled case for doing this (which dovetails with other policy aims) and we therefore take the opportunity in our submission to put this recommendation forward.
The LITRG submission can be found