Pensions: USS interpretation of incapacity

In Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd v Scragg & Anor [2019] EWHC 51 (Ch), the High Court considered a provision in the scheme rules for the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which allows members to retire before the normal retirement age if they are suffering from ill health or incapacity. In this case, the member was an employee of an HEI.  Prior to his dismissal on grounds of ill health in December 2016, the HEI had assisted the member in an application for ill health early retirement pension.  This included a signed declaration by the HEI that the member was unable to carry out the duties involved in his post ‘due to disability and ill-health’. A medical report completed by the Deputy Director of Human Resources was also provided, which explained that in light of recommendations from an occupational health physician, the HEI was unable to offer any suitable alternative roles for the member.  However, the scheme Trustee rejected the application based on the opinion of a medical panel, which suggested that redundancy/capability/non-medical early retirement were more suitable options in the absence of alternative roles, and that there was scope for improvement in the member’s condition. The member was unsuccessful on appeal, after which he complained to the Pensions Ombudsman.  The question arose as to the construction of rule 15 of the scheme Read Full Article…

Consultation on salary sacrifice for the provision of benefits-in-kind

On 10 August 2016, HMRC published a consultation on benefits-in-kind that attract Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions advantages when provided as part of salary sacrifice arrangements. The government’s intention is to introduce any changes to legislation through the Finance Bill 2017 which would take effect from 6 April 2017. The consultation closes on 19 October 2016.

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BIS guidance on the apprenticeship levy

On 18 March 2016, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published guidance on the apprenticeship levy, which is due to be introduced in April 2017. On 21 April 2016, the guidance was updated to reflect an amendment to provisions in the Finance Bill 2016. The levy applies to the whole of the UK but, as education and training is a devolved function, this guidance from BIS specifically addresses the position in England.

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HMRC travel and subsistence discussion paper

On 23 September 2015, HMRC published a discussion paper (‘the Paper’) setting out ‘the case for change to the current rules for tax relief on travel and subsistence’. The Paper is part of a wider review of employee expenses and remuneration which was launched as a result of the Office of Tax Simplification’s January 2014 report on the tax treatment of employee benefits and expenses: ‘Review of employee benefits and expenses: second report’.

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