Tax & Benefits

If you have lost your job you really want to hang onto every penny that you have received from your former employer. This means you need to be well informed about the tax and state benefit situation - the more you know the less chance that you will be handing over more money than necessary to the tax man.

  • The first £30,000 of any compensation payment made to you has no tax deducted from it. This tax exemption also applies if the payment has been made as a result of an unfair dismissal claim. However, if within your contract it stated that you would receive compensation when you ceased to be employed, then the lump sum is taxable.
  • When you are negotiating the terms of your compensation if you have other payments due such as those in lieu of notice or holiday and expenses claims, have these separated out. Otherwise you could lose your entitlement to state benefits. You should also consider consulting a tax advisor who can advise on terms and timing.
  • You may be able to get your employer to make additional payments into your pension instead of making a lump sum payment. This will enhance your pension and help you avoid paying tax on payments above £30,000.
  • Keep the tax man informed. You need to send your P45 to the local tax office or hand it in when you sign on. You could well be entitled to a tax rebate but the tax office needs to be kept informed to ensure you receive any rebate due.
  • If you have lost your job through unfair dismissal or redundancy you normally qualify for Jobseekers Allowance. Although you cannot claim Income Support or Income based Jobseekers Allowance if your personal resources (including redundancy pay or unfair dismissal compensation) exceed £8,000, you may qualify for Contribution based allowance.
  • It is important that you go to the Job Centre Plus or the benefit office as soon as you can, otherwise you could lose out on your credited National Insurance contributions and this affects your entitlement to state pensions and future benefits.
  • The other benefit to signing on, even if you aren't entitled to benefits at the time is that you get free advice on job hunting and future benefits that you may be entitled to. Assistance with mortgage contributions is available after nine months to people on income support and income-based Jobseekers Allowance.

The final thing to remember is that when you get a new job, tell the Job Centre, Benefits Office and Inland Revenue. Make sure your new employer gets your P45 or you will be paying emergency tax. If you want further information then go to the JobCentre and HMRC or look here for local tax advisors.

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