We’ve put together a taster of the new things we’ll have to deal with in 2024.
The government is preparing a raft of accounting and tax changes in a bid to fill the Treasury coffers. It’s even taking a swipe at employee benefits, which until now have seemed untouchable. It is debating what to tax and what not to tax, and, for example, the extent to which it will allow exempt benefits to be paid to employees, such as family recreation allowances or cultural or sporting events for the whole family. In the context of discussions on the tax regime, the concept of ‘small refreshments in the workplace’ arises. Fortunately, it seems that if we provide employees with fruit, biscuits or coffee, we do not have to tax them. 😊
We are also all eagerly awaiting the final amendments to the Labour Code, which are due to come into force in January 2024, especially the new amendments relating to employment agreements and performance agreements. These will have a major impact on company economies. The Labour Code contains paragraph 74, which states that an employer should mainly provide its activities to employees on the basis of a concluded employment contract. And the amendment aims to achieve this. However, behind everything, of course, is the European Union and its directive on ‘transparent and predictable working conditions in the EU’, which we are obliged to comply with. So what are we likely to see? Employees working under an agreement will be able to ask their employer for a contract of employment under certain conditions, ‘agreement workers’ will be entitled to holiday pay, sick pay, allowances and so on. The 15-day notice period will continue to be maintained, but the employer will have to give written reasons for this at the employee’s request.
There should be significant changes in the area of auditing. The government is considering two options:
- only large and medium-sized enterprises would be subject to mandatory audits,
- the thresholds for statutory audit would be increased.
However, the Chamber of Auditors does not like this and has given several reasons against the government’s proposal. If the limits were raised, more than 5,000 companies would no longer be subject to the audit obligation. The Chamber fears that this will increase unfair practices by companies and reduce tax collection. Audited financial statements are published in the Collection of Deeds, which allows business partners to identify any problems of the companies they do business with early on. If they lose this information, the Chamber is concerned about the instability of the business environment. Currently, money laundering and terrorist financing is a big issue. The Chamber believes that this area would be significantly disrupted by the change.
As an alternative, the Chamber proposes the introduction of so-called ‘vetting’. These are smaller in scope than audits but should reveal significant irregularities in companies’ accounts.
The government’s proposed package of tax changes, dubbed by the government as a “recovery”, also includes a cut in civil servants’ salaries, an increase in corporation tax from 19% to 21%, an increase in the rate of health insurance for employees, a reduction in the spouse discount, the abolition of tuition fees, the abolition of the student discount and much more.
We’ll tell you more about these proposals in our next post. As always, we will provide you with a full list of the changes and their exact wording once they are approved.