Behind the headlines: HMRC’s latest Employer Bulletin and student loans

Issue 65 of the Employer Bulletin was published on 11th April. The Bulletin is the main conduit of information for employers even though it’s only published six times a year. If you don’t normally receive it direct to your inbox, sign up here.

Since the last Bulletin in February we’ve had a Budget and the start of a new tax year, so there was plenty for HMRC to cover. Read on to find out more about what this means for student loans – the final focus of this series of blogs.

Student Loans

An example of ‘not being in the real world’ is the instruction to ignore student loan start notices for off-payroll workers in the public sector:

  1. Start notices are uploaded automatically so can’t be ignored
  2. This is Ni’able pay so the law requires deductions to be made (isn’t it great to be able to write the law, then ignore it?)
  3. If only a deemed worker marker had been designed-in to the process by HMRC this would all have been so much easier.

There is also a mysterious paragraph about variable interest rates for plan 2 repayers. This all stems from these regulations: The Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2012. They allow the government to start charging variable rates of interest dependent on income; with income over £41,000 p.a. attracting higher rates of interest. Data on income will of course be obtained from the FPS. I’ve no idea why HMRC think ‘some employees may ask you to check and confirm the information you have sent to HMRC’. The data we send to HMRC is as on the employee’s payslip, of course it may well not be the data that HMRC is holding – need I say more!