Kyle Newton, employment tax director and UK NMW lead at Azets. Kyle is based in Leeds, Yorkshire

Azets appoints UK lead for national minimum wage

Experienced employment tax specialist joins top ten firm as a director in the Leeds office to support clients across the UK in ensuring their compliance with National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation

Top ten accountancy and advisory firm Azets has appointed a new employment tax director who will lead its National Minimum Wage (NMW) service line from Yorkshire.

Leeds-based Kyle Newton will help clients nationwide implement NMW processes and controls to proactively manage compliance and navigate complex HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) enquiries.

Kyle, who is a qualified chartered accountant, brings a wealth of experience over 15 years from a variety of roles at BDO, Deloitte and PwC.

With his experience including internal audit, one of Kyle’s focuses is supporting businesses with implementing robust controls in a practical manner to reduce impact on day-to-day business.

He has joined Azets’ as new NMW rate changes, including increases and an extension of the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 and over, came into force at the start of April.

Kyle Newton, employment tax director and national NMW lead, said: “The National Minimum Wage is commonly misunderstood. It is much more complex than a simple hourly rate and is made up of a number of components.

“With an unprecedented increase to the NMW age rates and business budgets stretched, many businesses are faced with a difficult challenge of balancing cost and maintaining day to day business. HMRC enforcement activity continues to increase, for example with its most recent regional enforcement campaign targeting 10 geographic regions and the most recent naming and shaming round (round 20) highlighting HMRC’s continued focus to enforce to the full extent of the law.

“Many employers remain unaware of the potential pitfalls where they could be underpaying workers and with the likelihood of HMRC knocking at their door increasing, they could be faced with a 200% penalty and public naming and shaming, on top of paying the arrears, additional employer pension contributions and additional employer National Insurance Contributions.

“Now more than ever it’s really important to consider taking proactive steps. With Azets accelerated growth and the firm supporting more and more SMEs, which is HMRC’s current enforcement focus, this is a perfect time to join Azets and I am looking forward to supporting clients across Yorkshire and the UK.”

Partner Richard Whitelock, who heads up employer solutions services in Yorkshire, said: “Kyle has a proven track record in both employment taxes and NMW advisory matters. He comes with impressive experience and a deep technical understanding of the NMW regulations and employment tax legislation.

“He will be a valuable addition to our team providing employment tax advice support in Yorkshire and leading on our newly launched National Minimum Wage service line nationwide.”

Changes to the NMW effective from April 1 included an increase to the National Living Wage from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour. Employees aged 21 and over will be entitled to the new rate, with their hourly rate increasing from £10.18. Previously, the qualifying age was 23.

The National Minimum Wage also increased for younger employees with different rates for those aged 16 or 17 year olds and those aged 18-20.

However, managing compliance with NMW is much more complicated than increasing the rates applicable in the payroll system.

As demonstrated in HMRC’s round 20 naming list, the following areas were enforced upon by HMRC and lead to employers underpaying workers:

  • Reductions/deductions taken from a worker, or payments from the worker to the employer. For example, canteen deductions, uniform/clothing costs, salary sacrifice etc…
  • Unpaid working time.  For example, work before or after a shift which is not recorded in the time system, travel time outside normal working hours, rounding in the payroll system to the nearest 5/10/15 mins due to late or early arrival etc…
  • Failure to pay apprentices the correct age rate, or failure to pay for all working time such as study time.
  • Failure to identify the worker type (there are four types) which drives how the NMW calculation should be performed.
  • Incorrect operation of flexible time policies and time off in lieu.

Businesses who breach NMW rules face a potential penalty of 200% of the underpayment and being listed on a public register.

Azets has three offices In Yorkshire –  in Bradford, Leeds and York. It employs 334 people in the county.