Coronavirus Health Crisis - financial advice and guidance
Please be assured that my team and I are here to support and help you make the right decisions at the right time to support you, your families, your investments, businesses and assets.
Whatever your situation, you can bet you will not be alone and we are here to help you get all the support you are entitled to. There is no doubt that we will all need resilience and patience to meet the current challenges and the best way to do that is together.
Detailed emails of new schemes, updates and clarifications are sent out to all our clients as they happen. For headlines and links to further UK Government information please check out this page. If in any doubt, please call us for detail on your particular circumstances.
Sadly, yet predictably, there are a number of fraud and scam warnings being issued. We have heard from clients that have had emails and texts suggesting they are due tax refunds, there are also telephone scammers suggesting that you owe money from a tax investigation and invite you to make a payment on account. Remember, the tax office will NEVER contact you by phone, text or email unless they have been in touch with you previously by letter, and even then it is very rare. They will never ask you to pay money over the phone or online, they will always leave it to you to organise. If in doubt call us and we can check and ensure any offer of support is legitimate. For the latest information on scams visit the UK Government and OfCom websites and please report dubious emails to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) simply by forwarding them on to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
The CJRS has been extended until March 2021.
The Grant will ensure employees receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, employers will be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions.
Employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.
The Government will confirm shortly when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November, but there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension.
The Job Support Scheme (JSS), which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.
Who is eligible to claim the CJRS?
All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
The government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the scheme, as has already been the case for CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers.
- To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020.
As under the current CJRS rules:
- Employees can be on any type of contract. Employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with employees.
- Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Such calculations will broadly follow the same methodology as currently under the CJRS.
- When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
- Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
- For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
- Additional guidance will be set out shortly and we will let you have the necessary information for clients and to make the claim when we receive it.
See the full picture and find out more at: COVID-19 UK Government support for business
Claimed too much in error?
If you have claimed too much for a CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC and repay the money. If you do not do this, you may have to pay a penalty. HMRC do understand mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times, and will not seek out innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action. They will act, however, against anyone who deliberately sets out to defraud the system or claims money they aren’t entitled to.
How to let HMRC know about claiming too much
If you have received more than you are entitled to, you can let HMRC know as part of your next online claim without needing to call us – the system will prompt you to add details on if you have received too much. For more information, search for ‘if you claim too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV.UK.
If you have received too much and do not plan to submit further claims – or you have claimed less than you were entitled to – please contact us by searching ‘Contact HMRC' on GOV.UK.
Employee Holiday Entitlement
If you are unsure how to manage employees holiday entitlement, just give me a call. You can also find information about holiday entitlement on the UK Gov. website here.
If you are a company director that draws a small PAYE wage and takes the rest of your income from dividends, it has been confirmed that you ARE allowed to 'furlough' yourself.
Claiming furlough funding as a company director also means you should not work during the furlough period (minimum 3 weeks). You may only undertake "statutory duties" and "minor directorial duties", e.g. accounts preparation and submission. It would appear that pretty much anything else, such as talking to customers and suppliers, posting on social media, marketing activity and working on systems means you will not be able to make a claim.
You can furlough a number of times, so possibly work for one week and furlough for three, work a week then re-furlough, may be an option for you. Please be careful, if you work AND claim furlough you will, in effect, be committing fraud.
Please talk to me about current guidelines and your options.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Further to the first and second grants the third installment of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) from 55% to 80% of average trading profits for November to January. SEISS grants are calculated over three months and the uplift for November to January, increases the level of the third grant to 80% of trading profits. The maximum grant will be capped at £7,500.
The SEISS grants will also be paid faster than previously planned, with the claims window opening at the end of November rather than the middle of December.
To be eligible for the Grant Extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:
- have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
- declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
- are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
- were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
How to claim
If you’re eligible you’ll be able to make a claim and HMRC will contact you.
It is not available to newly self employed people or those that trade as a limited company, in which they are directors who receive a salary and dividends. For directors, please check the Job Retention Scheme and speak to me.
The scheme only works through HMRC, please be aware of scams. If in any doubt, call us and please make sure you check with us about any figures they give you.
For the latest UK Government guidance to claim a grant through the Coronavirus self employment income support scheme check here.
Self-assessment customers to benefit from enhanced payment plans
Self-assessment taxpayers are now able to benefit from enhanced payment plans and can apply online for additional support to help spread their tax bill into monthly payments.
The online payment plan service was already able to set up instalment arrangements for paying tax liabilities up to £10,000. From 1 October 2020, HMRC increased the threshold to £30,000 for self-assessment customers following Chancellor's Rishi Sunak's announcement on 24 September 2020.
As part of that speech, the Chancellor announced that self-assessment taxpayers could pay their deferred payment on account bill from July 2020, any outstanding tax owed for 2019/20 and their first payment on account for 2020/21 in monthly instalments, up to 12 months, via this self-serve tool.
Taxpayers who wish to set up their own self-serve Time to Pay arrangements must meet the following requirements:
- they have no outstanding tax returns, other tax debts or other HMRC payment plans set up
- the debt needs to be between £32 and £30,000; and
- the payment plan needs to be set up no later than 60 days after the due date of a debt.
Taxpayers using self-serve Time to Pay will be required to pay any interest on any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021.
VAT, tax cuts and deferrals
As part of the package, the government also announced it will extend the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March 2021.
In addition, up to half a million business who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller installments. Rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end March next year, they will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year.
On top of this, around 11 million self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.
Have a look at the current UK Government guidance for deferral of VAT payments due to the Coronavirus health crisis here.
If you were expected to make a personal tax payment on 31st July 2020, you can defer it until 31st January 2021.
You can find the latest Government advice on business rates during COVID-19 crisis here.
Discretionary Grant Fund for Small Business
Check out the Government website for more information on discretionary grant scheme, or call me.
Business Interruption Loans
Updated information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme here.
If in doubt give me a call.
Business 'Bounce Back' Loans
Extended to the end of January 2021. The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.
The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. Top ups are available.
Small Business Grant Funding
Please check here for guidance from the UK Government small business support and grant funding during the Coronavirus health crisis.
If you are unsure if your qualify or how this my benefit you, just give me a call.
Landlords and Tenants Guidance and Advice
Updated advice and information regarding rental properties for the UK Government during Coronavirus health crisis.
Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19.
However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy).
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
Protection from Eviction for Commercial Tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Please be aware, this is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for rent due. Information on extended protection from eviction.
Vehicles and MOTs
Increase to Working Tax Credits
Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end 31 October. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
The FCA will announce further information. Check out the FCA for further detail.
If you want more detail about anything mentioned above, please have a look at the UK Government website offering guidance to employers and businesses about COVID-19 support for businesses.