Organisations employing former UK military personnel can claim relief on secondary national insurance contributions (NIC) for the first 12 months of a veteran’s civilian employment.
The relief is available for any former member of the regular armed service (Army, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force). Guidance states that a veteran is defined as anyone who has completed one day of employment in the armed services and includes those who completed at least one day of basic training.
The 12-month relief period starts on the veteran’s first day of civilian employment and subsequent employers will have to confirm this date to make their claim. The onus is on the employer to check whether an employee qualifies for the relief and to keep records proving this, as well as the start date of the veteran’s first civilian employment.
The guidance confirms that the relief only applies to earnings up to the secondary threshold and for earnings over this threshold, NIC will have to be paid as normal.
Employers should also note that the relief is not an exemption of secondary NIC but a zero rating, which means it is included in calculations for the apprenticeship levy.
From 6 April 2022, the relief has operated automatically via payroll software. However, employers claiming the relief for 2021/22 had to pay the secondary NIC and then manually claim repayment from HMRC.
The relief is also available where a veteran has concurrent employments, (ie, more than one job at any one time), as well as for consecutive jobs within the 12-month timeframe.
Businesses can claim this relief retrospectively for any qualifying employees who joined their business in the last 12 months.
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