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Business Services  •  Business Tax  •  Personal tax

When does a holiday job for your child amount to profit extraction?

By RJP LLP on 10 July, 2018

The school holidays are upon us and those with a family business may well be considering the viability of offering their own children some paid work. Given the younger generation’s skills with social media and digital technology in general, this could be an attractive proposition for many business owners. It is entirely legitimate and can be an excellent way for them to develop some professional skills and work experience for the future whilst earning their pocket money.

What are the rules concerning employing children?

During the school holidays, 14-year-olds can work up to 25 hours a week, including a maximum of five hours on weekdays or Saturdays and two hours on Sundays. 15 and 16-year-olds can work up to 35 hours a week, with a maximum of eight hours on weekdays and Saturdays and two hours on Sundays.

Once a child is over school-leaving age but under 18, they are classed as a "young worker" and have different employment rights; those aged 16 and 17 may not work more than eight hours a day, or 40 hours a week, nor usually at night between 10pm and 6am. They cannot opt-out of the 40-hour limit, but there are exceptions.

 

What if you employ your own children?

As some recent HMRC cases have shown, anyone who employs a younger family member should carefully follow a strict procedure and ensure offspring are undertaking legitimate activities that warrant payment.

For example, in the Nicholson vs HMRC case, the father, a sole trader, claimed on his tax return that he had been paying his university student son regular wages of £150 a week. HMRC queried this and ultimately denied that the claim was tax deductible, because no evidence existed to prove the payments were made ‘wholly and exclusively for the purposes of trade’. In fact, the son was delivering leaflets promoting the father’s business and his dad was making ad-hoc payments and helping with food and drink expenditure. However, because there were no records to prove this and no entries showing on bank statements, the claim was disallowed.  Nicholson tried to appeal, but the right to appeal was rejected.

If you are considering employing one of your children over the summer, ensure the following:

  • Create a detailed job description outlining exactly what they are expected to be doing and the timeframes they are employed for;
  • Ensure you are paying the legal minimum wage and are following average market rates and not excessively remunerating them. Work according to the principle of ‘equal pay for equal value’;
  • Ensure there is a direct link between the PAYE records, the business bank account and theirs, so that payments to them can be traced and understood in the event of a query;
  • Ensure they are an appropriate age to be doing the work; it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 13.

Follow these basic ground rules and there is no reason why you cannot offer some work to your children over the holidays, to quite a significant mutual benefit.

partners@rjp.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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