Casual wages for beaters on shoots

Thomas Bell

Running a shoot can be very enjoyable, although it does come with a number of pressures. Making sure that there is enough healthy game and praying for the right weather conditions are just a couple of worries faced, and then there are the financial commitments…

Minimum wages

The national living (minimum) wage for casual beaters is the same as for any other standard employee, rising in various intervals from £4.05 per hour for under 18s, to £7.50 per hour for employees aged 25 and over (correct at the time of writing).

This sounds straightforward but there are other payroll considerations to think about. For example, have you thought about the reporting requirements under the Real Time Information (RTI) system?

Before you get there however, you need to be comfortable that the prospective employee has the right to work in the UK – assuming there are no issues here then it’s time to think about the reporting requirements.

Reporting requirements

  • Starting with the simplest first, you aren’t required to deduct any tax where the casual beater is only taken on for one day or less, they are paid at the end of that work, there is no contract in place for any future employment, and they are not a member of your family
  • Family members should be paid through PAYE irrespective of the length of time that they have worked for you.
  • When paying through PAYE you must keep a record of each person you have paid and hold on to these records for a minimum of three years from the end of the current tax year. The information you need to keep will be their name, date of birth, gender, address and national insurance number, along with details of how much they were paid.

Tax deductions?

  • Providing that none of the shoot employees are required to have tax deducted on their shoot earnings, you don’t need to report to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
  • If any shoot employee is liable to have tax and/or national insurance deducted, then all of the wages at that shoot should be reported through the RTI Full Payment Submissions (FPS).
  • When including an employee in the FPS report who hasn’t had any tax deducted, these payments must be highlighted as either a ‘one-off’, or ‘irregular’ payment with a tax code of NT to highlight the fact that no tax has been deducted. If they’ve worked for you for less than two weeks and haven’t been employed by you under PAYE for that period, then the situation is the same. No tax deductions are required and you’ll just have to keep records, potentially reporting on who you have paid through your payroll as above.
  • If an employee works for you for more than two weeks or does other work in addition to beating, then the situation changes. They must then be paid through PAYE with tax being deducted as it would be for any other employee.

National Insurance

Turning to national insurance, for casual beaters, this is always calculated in the usual way through your payroll software.

This may seem complicated, however, with the shoot season now in full swing it is something that really does need thinking about. As always, there are additional rules that can apply so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to speak to your usual contact at Larking Gowen on 0330 024 088 or email the agriculture team at agriculture@larking-gowen.co.uk