CIPP response to consultation on employer provided living accommodation
27 January 2016
The CIPP has submitted its response to the government’s consultation on employer provided living accommodation.
When setting out its consultation the government said that the world of work has changed significantly since the current rules on living accommodation were introduced. The population has become more mobile and the development of modern technology has meant that there are increased options for mobile working, and employees have more freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they work.
The government is seeking to understand what impact this change has had on the provision of accommodation by employers and the reason why it is provided.
An electronic survey was issued to CIPP members. The number of employers offering living accommodation is more limited and as a consequence we received 16 replies to the survey which form the basis of the response.
Summary of key findings
- Sectors which reported significant use of living accommodation included education, ministers of religion, agriculture and carers and nannies.
- One quarter of respondents who provide living accommodation are in the education sector.
- Almost 85% of respondents stated that the accommodation provided reflects what is needed to undertake the role.
- The majority of respondents (82%) agreed that the current categories of accommodation cover the circumstances of employers and employees today.
- Calculating the taxable value of accommodation provided proved very difficult for 10% of respondents, however a further 10% of respondents found it very easy.
- Most respondents reported that their employees are not expected to pay rent for their accommodation.
- 100% of respondents agreed that using market rental value would provide a simplification to the tax rules on provided living accommodation.
- 80% of respondents agreed that it was still appropriate for certain accommodation to be completely exempt from tax, despite the fact that others may see it as a benefit.
With most respondents stating that living accommodation is provided because it is necessary to enable the worker to do the job, the majority of respondents also state that the current categories of accommodation are still relevant for their workers. A view supported by results which show that most respondents provide accommodation for those in education, agriculture, care work or as ministers of religion.
However the survey shows that respondents experience varying degrees of difficulty when trying to establish the taxable value of accommodation, and obtaining advice from the District Valuer has also proved difficult for several respondents. And whilst few respondents expect employees to pay rent for their accommodation, there is unanimous agreement that the tax rules for living accommodation could be simplified by using the market rental value.
In light of these results the CIPP recommends that the government does not make wholesale changes to the system when one is not called for, but instead introduces genuine simplifications such as to the process for calculating the taxable value of accommodation, with advice from the District Valuer being much more accessible than would currently appear to be the case.
The full response is available through the link below.