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Amending a PSA for COVID-19 benefits

You can use a PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA) if you wish to settle the tax liability arising on the provision of a benefit-in-kind or an expense on an employee’s behalf. This can be useful if you wish to preserve the goodwill nature of a particular benefit.

Nature of a PSA

Where a PSA is in place, the employer pays tax and Class 1B National Insurance contributions on the items included within the PSA, while the employee enjoys the benefit free of tax and National Insurance.

A PSA is not suitable for all benefits-in-kind. To qualify for inclusion, the benefit must fall within one of the following categories:

  • it is minor;
  • it is provided irregularly; or
  • it is provided in circumstances where it is impractical to apply PAYE or to apportion the value of a shared benefit.

As payment of tax on an employee’s behalf is itself a taxable benefit, the amount of tax that you must pay on items included within your PSA is grossed up to reflect the marginal rates of tax of the employees to whom the benefits are provided. The relevant Scottish and Welsh rates are used for employees who are Scottish and Welsh taxpayers.

You must also pay Class 1B National Insurance contributions at 13.8% on items included within your PSA in place of the Class 1 or Class 1A liability that would otherwise arise, and also on the tax due under the PSA. The tax and Class 1B National Insurance must be paid by 22 October if you make the payment electronically, or by 19 October if you pay by cheque.

Setting up a new PSA

If you do not already have a PSA in place and want to set one up for 2020/21, you need to do this before 6 July 2021. Guidance available on the website explains what you need to do.

An enduring agreement

Once you have set up a PSA, it remains in place until it is cancelled or amended by you or by HMRC. Therefore, if you already have a PSA set up, you should review it to make sure that it is still valid. This should be done in sufficient time for any changes to be made before 6 July 2021.

Adding in COVID-19 benefits

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way in which many employees worked, and you may have changed the benefits that you provided to your employees during the 2020/21 tax year as a result. If you have provided taxable benefits as a result of the pandemic, and you want to include them within your PSA, you will need to do this by 6 July 2021.

To amend your PSA, you will need to send details of the changes that you would like to make to the HMRC office that issued your PSA. Normally, HMRC will send you a revised P626 (the PSA). However, where the changes relate only to benefits provided as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they will instead add an appendix to your existing PSA.

Remember, you do not need to include exempt benefits within your PSA. There are a number of time-limited exemptions for Coronavirus-related benefits, such as those for employer-provided and reimbursed antigen tests.

Speak to us

Talk to us about whether a PSA is for you, and about what you need to do if you want to meet the tax liability on benefits provided to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.