HMRC accused of “jumping the gun” over sleep-in guidance

VODG has described HMRC’s expected update on the Social Care Compliance Scheme as “adding confusion and raising more unanswered questions”.

Commenting on the proposals, VODG chair Steve Scown said: “The sector is waiting for official guidance from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We have worked with officials to inform the development of policy options yet are today surprised to learn that providers are opening a confusing communication from HMRC. Providers expect clarity not uncertainty from HMRC. We are calling on government to explain why HMRC have jumped the gun and acted before BEIS have issued official guidance.”

The HRMC communication seen by VODG includes the following points:

  • HMRC have decided that it is appropriate to continue to operate the Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS) allowing participating employers to complete a self-review, taking the judgement into consideration, and make a declaration to HMRC.
  • All original timeframes and requirements of the scheme remain in place:
    – employers must complete their self-review and submit their declarations to HMRC by no later than 12 months of their application to the SCCS or 31 December 2018, whichever is sooner
    – all non-sleeping time arrears must be paid before employers return their declaration
    – any sleeping time arrears must be paid to workers within three months of returning the declaration or by 31 March 2019, whichever is sooner.
  • Failure to adhere to the terms or timeframes of the SCCS, or withdrawing from the SCCS may result in HMRC opening an investigation into your pay practices.
  • Department for Business, Energy & industrial Strategy (BEIS) are currently reviewing their guidance in Calculating the Minimum Wage and this will be published in due course. Employers will be issued with an updated SCCS Employer guide once the revised Calculating the Minimum Wage is available.
  • If, during the course of your review you assess there has been an underpayment of National Minimum Wage, either for any sleep-in-shifts or for other reasons, HMRC will continue to allow Social Care sector employers to deal with the tax implications of these arrears using the Alternative PAYE Arrangement (APA). 

For more information on the Social Care Compliance Scheme, visit HMRC online. 

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