April 21, 2016

PILON payment taxable as termination payment

This decision contrasts with that of a differently constituted First Tier Tribunal in 2010 in the case of Goldberg v HMRC, where the Tribunal held that a payment which was described as a PILON and was made where the contractual notice terms were unclear, was instead taxable as earnings. While Tribunals will look behind labels, to describe a non-contractual PILON clause as compensation or damages for lack of notice more accurately reflects their tax treatment.

It appears that HMRC did not consider how the payments should be taxed because if it had, it might have applied its published guidance which confirms that, where the employer and employee agree to terminate without proper notice on payment of a PILON (on the assumption that there is no contractual discretion to pay in lieu), as long as this is done as part of the termination process, that payment will not be one made from the employment but instead from the agreed terms for the ending of that employment. As such, it is taxed as a damages payment.

HMRC would not allow the tax payer to spread the payment over 2 years – cash termination payments have to be taxed in the year of receipt.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.

Share on:

Your Comments

Leave a comment

Thank you for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated. Please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name or it will be deleted.