“Salary sacrifice” – it sounds a bit self-defeating, after all, why go out and earn a salary to then go and sacrifice it? It just doesn’t make sense. But salary sacrificing has been going on for years and it costs the government around £15 billion a year in lost tax – so they’ve decided to do something about it – but what?
All salary sacrifice means is that you give up part of your salary for a benefit or perk – such as a car, health insurance or pension contributions. It also means you and your employer won’t have to pay as much National Insurance and it also means you get taxed on a lower salary – so it’s a win-win for everyone (except the government).
So, to make sure they’re still in the game, the government have decided to clamp down on some ‘sacrifices for benefits’ schemes, and companies won’t be able to do all of them anymore.
But not all salary sacrifices will be culled. The core ones that make a real impact on people’s lives such as childcare vouchers and pension contributions are not affected. Neither are environmental benefits such as cycle to work schemes and ultra-low emission cars, so you’ll still be able to nurture the eco warrior in you.
It’s not good news for everyone – true – but the government does hope it’ll claw back the billions it loses out on every year. Salary sacrifice schemes won’t be phased out for a couple of years though so you’ve got until at least 2018 to enjoy your perks if you’re lucky enough to currently have some.
It’s also a tough call for organisations that do promote salary sacrifice schemes – they’ll either have to meet the cost of these schemes head on and suffer a dent in profits; or they’ll have to withdraw such schemes (and face some very disgruntled employees).
But seeing as the government is taking a step to protect and grow their assets – shouldn’t you do too? Don’t underestimate the value of having a savings account or cash ISA Even putting just a few pounds away every month can add up, and if you choose an account with instant access, you can still dip into it for those ‘treat yourself’ moments; there’s nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain – so comparethemarket.com and start saving.