This is boring but important.
The government is consulting on simplifying the tax treatment of termination payments.
At the moment, the first £30,000 of any non-contractual termination payment is free of tax and national insurance.
The government is considering:-
- removing the distinction between contractual and non-contractual payments (so that, eg, a PILON payment would also attract tax-free status)
- changing the fixed £30,000 tax-free sum to an amount which increases the longer an employee has worked
- introducing a two year qualifying period, so no employee can receive a tax-free termination payment unless they have been working for two years
- making injury to feelings awards (which are arguably - albeit subject to inconsistent caselaw - completely tax free) subject to tax for some or all of the award.
Although the consultation document does not specifically set out amounts or thresholds, a worked hypothetical suggests a £6,000 tax-free sum after two years' employment, increasing by £1,000 for each additional year of employment. If this is the sort of level eventually implemented, it will mean a significantly reduced tax-free sum being available for almost all employees when their employment terminates.