Coronavirus Hub

The Partners and staff at Humphrey & Co hope that all our clients and contacts are keeping well and staying safe. We would like to reassure you that Humphrey & Co continue to support you in this very unsettling time.

How Humphrey & Co are continuing to support our clients and our staff

Following the latest announcement from the Government regarding the move into the next phase of managing the Coronavirus pandemic, we would like to update you as to how we at Humphrey & Co are continuing to support our clients and our staff, including adapting our working practices to accord with the Government guidelines.

Safety is paramount so our offices remain closed to client meetings but we continue to assist our clients and deal with new enquiries whilst working from home over secure connections. Also, since 18 May, following a comprehensive risk assessment of our offices in respect of the threat of Covid-19 in our workplace, we have a reception team member who will facilitate the delivery of records and documents. If clients would like papers delivered to the office, please liaise with your usual Humphrey & Co contact who will arrange for access at an agreed time, so papers can be safely and securely dropped off. If records need to be returned to clients whilst the office is closed to the public again please request this via your usual contact.

Where we would usually meet with you face to face we can arrange a meeting via video link using either Zoom or Skype. Rest assured that our reception team are taking calls as normal and we all have access to our emails so if you have any questions or concerns please either call the office during our office hours of 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday on 01323 730631 or email your usual contact.

All members of our technical team continue to keep abreast of the updates issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in relation to financial support and initiatives; key updates with web links can be found below. Again, if clients wish to discuss how specific changes affect them or if assistance is required in claiming financial support (and agents are allowed to submit such claims to HMRC on behalf of clients) we are of course here to help.

We aim to provide more direct access to our offices and our team only when it is safe to do so. We will provide further updates once further Government guidance is issued.

Key dates for Coronavirus Business Support Schemes

For good cash-flow planning it’s important to know when applications for schemes open and close and the postponed payment dates for deferred taxes.

A summary of the key dates are listed below for the following:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
Plus VAT and income tax payments.

Date

Scheme

Action

30 June 2020

CJRS

The furlough period for the first CJRS ends. Separate claims must be issued for the months of July to October.

VAT

The VAT payment holiday ends.

  • Unless you have a time to pay agreement with HMRC in place all VAT due after this date must be paid on the due dates.
  • Businesses must ensure they reinstate their direct debit mandates.

1 July 2020

CJRS

Start date for the revised furlough scheme, the following restrictions apply:

  1. The employees must have already been furloughed for 3 weeks prior to 30 June 2020
  2. Employers cannot claim for more than the number of employees claimed for in the original CJRS period (March - June).

The scheme will cover 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work.

CJRS

Flexible Furloughing

  • Employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked.
  • When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

8 July 2020

Economic Update

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will deliver an economic update. This will set out the next stage in the UK’s plan to ‘secure the recovery’.

 

Stamp Duty

From today until 31 March 2021, buyers will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £500k when they move home.

13 July 2020

SEISS

Deadline for applications for the first SEISS grant to be submitted to HMRC.

14 July 2020

SEISS

  • If your business was adversely affected by Coronavirus on or after this date you will be eligible for the second SEISS grant.  
  • Applications for the second grant will open in August.
  • Individuals will be able to claim a second taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
15 July 2020

VAT

The Government will cut the rate of VAT applied on tourism and hospitality related activities from 20% to 5% for six months.

31 July 2020

CJRS

Employers have until this date to make any claims to HMRC in respect of the furlough period to 30 June.

Self Assessment (SA) Payment on Account (POA)

  • Usually the due date for the second SA POA of income tax and Class 4 NIC for 2019/20 tax year.
  • HMRC have deferred this payment to 31 January 2021.
  • Taxpayers may pay the tax and NIC due by this date if they wish, so as not to have two payments to make on 31 January 2021.

1 August 2020

CJRS

  • The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours the employee does not work - employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for furloughed employees.
  • This also applies to employees that are furloughed part-time.

Date TBA August 2020

SEISS

  • Applications for the second grant will open in August.
  • An individual does not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant: for example, they may only have been adversely affected by COVID-19 in this later phase.

1 September 2020

CJRS

  • The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total, up to a cap of £2,500.
  • This also applies to employees that are furloughed part-time.

1 October 2020

CJRS

  • For the final month of the scheme, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total, up to a cap of £2,500.
  • This also applies to employees that are furloughed part-time.

31 October 2020

CJRS

CJRS ends for all furloughed employees.

Mortgage

If you have not taken a mortgage payment holiday you have until this date to apply.

4 November 2020

CBILS, CLBILS & BBLS

The application window for these loans is open until this date, but the government have the option to extend beyond this date.

30 November 2020

CJRS

All CJRS claims for the period July-October must be submitted to HMRC.

12 January 2021

VAT

The 6 month period when the rate of VAT applied on tourism and hospitality related activities was cut from 20% to 5% comes to an end.

31 January 2021

Self Assessment

  • Deadline for filing electronic self assessment personal tax returns for 2019/20.
  • The deferred POA from 31 July (along with the balancing payment for 2019/20) is now due plus the first POA for 2020/21 is due.
 

CJRS

Employers will receive a £1,000 bonus for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.

1 March 2021

VAT

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the domestic reverse charge for VAT relating to certain construction services was postponed, it comes into effect on this date.

31 March 2021

VAT

If you deferred March – June 2020 VAT payment, it must be paid by this date.

 

Stamp Duty

No Stamp Duty on the first £500k ends today.

March/April 2021

CBILS & CLBILS

You will need to start repayments of the loan and interest 12 months from the date you took out the loan.

May 2021

BBLS

You will need to start repayments of the loan and interest 12 months from the date you took out the loan.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Contributions July – October 2020

The table shows Government contribution, required employer contribution and amount employee receives where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time.

Wage caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

  July August September October
Government contribution: employer NICs and pension contributions Yes No No No
Government contribution: wages 80% up to £2,500 80% up to £2,500 70% up to £2,187.50 60% up to £1,875
Employer contribution: employer NICs and pension contributions No Yes Yes Yes
Employer contribution: wages - - 10% up to £312.50 20% up to £625
Employee receives 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month

LATEST RESOURCES

Wednesday 5 August 2020

New Grants to Boost Recovery of Small Businesses

Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20 million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced.

Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.

The support will be fully funded by the Government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially and the support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through local enterprise partnerships (LEP) Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.

LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses, set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area.

Activities supported through the £20 million can include:

• One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to Coronavirus,
• Grants (£1,000 - £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.

More information on the grant can be found here.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Ask HMRC to verify you had a new child which affected your eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership, and having a new child affected the trading profits or total income you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019, use this form to ask HMRC to verify that you had a new child.

Job Retention Bonus

Click here for more information about the eligibility requirements and what employers need to do now to claim the bonus. Full guidance will be published by the end of September. 

Thursday 30 July 2020

What to Do If You Have Claimed Too Much or Not Enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If you have claimed too much or if you want to delete a claim in the online service, you must do this within 72 hours.

If you have made an error in a claim that means you have received too much, you must pay this back to HMRC. You can either:

• tell HMRC as part of your next online claim (your new claim will be reduced, and you’ll need to keep a record of the adjustment for 6 years)
• contact HMRC to pay the money back (you should only do this if you’re not submitting another claim)

If you’ve over claimed a grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC by the latest of either:

• 90 days after the date you received the grant you were not entitled to
• 90 days after the date you received the grant that you were no longer entitled to keep because your circumstances changed
• 20 October 2020

If you do not do this, you may have to pay a penalty. If you do repay any over claimed grant, this will prevent any potential tax liability in respect of the over payment of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. HMRC will not be actively looking for innocent errors in their compliance approach.

Find out more about when you may have to pay a penalty and other information, including:
• how HMRC decides how much the penalty will be
• when HMRC will not charge a penalty
• how to appeal against a penalty

For more information click here.

If You Have Not Claimed Enough

If you have made an error that has resulted in receiving too little money, you will still need to ensure you pay your employees the correct amount. You should contact HMRC to amend your claim. As you are increasing the amount of your claim, they may need to conduct additional checks.

After 31 July, you will no longer be able to amend a claim relating to the period up to 30 June to add an employee that should have been included on a claim submitted before that date. You must make sure that any remaining claims still to be made for the period to 30 June include all of your eligible employees. Amendments for any other errors you made that resulted in you not claiming enough will still be permitted after 31 July.

For the full details click here.

Claim money back through the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Find out how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. You cannot make a claim yet. The claims service will be available from 7 August to 30 September. Full details can be found here.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Remotely Witnessed Wills Officially Declared Valid in England and Wales

The Ministry of Justice have succumbed to pressure, as a result of the current pandemic, for Wills to be witnessed remotely. Please click here for further information.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

VAT: Reduced Rate for Hospitality, Holiday Accommodation and Attractions

The government has updated its guidance on reduced rate VAT. A new section about Retail Schemes has been added to the guide. Its original announcement was on 8 July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to:

• hospitality
• hotel and holiday accommodation
• admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

Retail schemes

Catering businesses using retail schemes may have to alter their accounting systems for the period 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021.

If you have a bespoke retail scheme agreement, you should review it and if you think an alteration is needed, contact your large business Customer Compliance Manager. If you are not a large business customer you should contact: Kamran.Hussain@hmrc.gov.uk

Further information can be found here.

Thursday 16 July 2020

VAT Flat Rate Percentages Reduced

HMRC have updated their flat rate percentages for the businesses mostly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Reduced rates will apply from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021.

• Catering services including restaurants and takeaways rate changed from 12.5% to 4.5%
• Hotel or holiday accommodation from 10% to 0%
• Pubs from 6.5% to 1%

The guidance can be found here.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Summer Economic Update

On 8th July, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak made a speech entitled “Summer Economic Update” where he unveiled further Government supports and he unveiled the Government’s plan for jobs which he described as the “Second phase in the Government’s economic response to the crisis.”

Please see our July e-news for the highlights on the following announcements:

• Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Job Retention Bonus
• Kickstart Scheme and Measures to Help People Find Work
• Value Added Tax Reduced Rate for Hospitality and Tourism Sectors
• Eat Out To Help Out Scheme
• Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday
• Residential Rates on Purchases from 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme will provide a discount of 50 per cent of up to £10 a person on eat-in meals, including non-alcoholic drinks, at participating establishments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the month of August.

Restaurants, cafes and pubs can register their establishment here. HMRC have also provided a range of promotional materials, you can download free assets to help you promote the scheme here.

Reporting of Capital Gains on UK Property – the Practicalities

The change in reporting requirements for the sale of UK residential property by UK residents from 6 April 2020 requires the taxpayer, or their agent, to report the gain to HMRC online within 30 days of the completion of the property sale. A payment of the capital gains tax is also required within this 30 day window.

For non-UK residents the requirement to report within 30 days is the same but the reporting is for all UK property sales, not just residential, and a report is required even if there is no capital gains tax payable.

The reporting can be done by the taxpayer or their accountant, on their behalf. Either way it is necessary for the taxpayer to use their Government Gateway account to report the gain or to authorise their accountant to report the gain on their behalf. Therefore if a Government Gateway account does not exist for that taxpayer it is important to create one online; ideally in advance of the completion of the sale of the property so there is sufficient time for us as accountants, if requested, to be authorised to report on behalf of clients.

For further information please get in touch with your usual Humphrey & Co contact.

Please note the late filing penalty for late submission of property reporting to HMRC since 6 April was waived for all transaction up to 30 June due to Coronavirus. Therefore from 1 July all such property disposals must be reported within 30 days to avoid a late filing penalty.

Making and Registering a Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA) During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The Pandemic has led to a lot of soul searching and worry about “what if?” for many of us, not only physically but also mentally. An LPA is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) choose trusted people (‘attorneys’) to make financial decisions or health and care decisions on your behalf if you cannot.

Our Trust and Estate Support Services team can provide advice and attend to the preparation of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Please click here for further information.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Economic Update

Today the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set out plans for the next stage of our economic recovery. Important announcements:

• Companies will receive a £1,000 bonus for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
• From today until 31 March 2021, buyers will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £500k when they move home. Nearly 9 out of 10 people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no Stamp Duty at all.
• The Government will cut the rate of VAT applied on tourism and hospitality related activities from 20% to 5% for six months.

More information on all the Chancellors announcements can be found here.

Monday 6 July 2020

How different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Government has updated the guidance for self-employed or member of a partnership to explain how certain circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme. Please click here for further information.

Avoid Pension Scams

In these tough times savers might increasingly look to transfer their pension, prompted by the instability of their employer or the financial markets.

Savers could be increasingly targeted by scammers attempting to lure them to 'safe havens'.
Fraudsters promise high returns and low risk, but in reality, pension savers that are scammed can be left with nothing.

When savers realise they have been scammed, it can be devastating – many lose their life savings. Once the money is gone, it is almost impossible to get it back.

How pension scams work

Anyone can be the victim of a pension scam, no matter how savvy they think they are. It is important that everyone can spot the warning signs.

Scammers try to persuade pension savers to transfer their entire pension savings, or to release funds from it, by making attractive sounding promises they have no intention of keeping.

The pension money is often invested in unusual, high risk investments like:

• overseas property and hotels
• renewable energy bonds
• forestry
• parking
• storage units
Or it can be simply stolen outright.

Warning signs of a pension scam

Scammers often cold call people via phone, email or text – this is illegal, and a likely sign of a scam. They often advertise online and can have websites that look official or government backed.

Other common signs of pension scams:

• phrases like ‘free pension review’, ‘pension liberation’, 'loan’, ‘loophole’, ‘savings advance’, ‘one-off investment’, ‘cashback’
• higher returns – guarantees they can get better returns on pension savings
• help to release cash from a pension before the age of 55, with no mention of the HMRC tax bill that can arise
• high pressure sales tactics – time limited offers to get the best deal; using couriers to send documents, who wait until they are signed
• unusual high-risk investments, which tend to be overseas, unregulated, with no consumer protections
• complicated investment structures
• long-term pension investments

See the FCA and Pensions Regulator ScamSmart guidance on “Four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams“ here.

If you are an employer or trustee of a pension scheme you can support the ScamSmart campaign by downloading the Pensions Regulator awareness toolkit and help by:

• Sharing The Pensions Regulator social posts
• Promoting articles in your blogs, intranets or newsletters
• Sending The Pensions Regulator leaflets and posters to your audience

However you choose to support is hugely appreciated by the Regulator and goes a long way in helping to protect consumers from harm to their pension pots.

Monday 29 June 2020

Tax payments due 31 July 2020 – do you really need to defer? - Additional text in bold below

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, HMRC announced that taxpayers required to make a second payment on account towards their 2019/20 income tax liability by 31 July 2020 can defer their payment until 31 January 2021. The deferral is automatic, so there is no need to inform HMRC and no interest or penalties will be charged during the deferral period.

However, it must be appreciated that this is a measure to assist those suffering financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic. HMRC expect taxpayers who have not suffered financial hardship and have sufficient funds available to make the payment on time and this remains the case despite the fact that the statements they are currently issuing show a due date of 31 January 2021 for the second payment on account.

Limited Companies and LLP’s - How to apply for breathing space to consider a rescue plan for your company, under measures to support companies and other types of business in financial difficulty.

If your business has or is really struggling, you can get “formal” breathing space to consider a rescue plan for your company.

A moratorium gives struggling businesses formal breathing space in which to explore rescue and restructuring options, free from creditor action.

Except in certain circumstances, no insolvency proceedings can be instigated against the company during the moratorium period. It also prevents legal action being taken against a company without permission from the court - with the exception of employment tribunal proceedings, or proceedings between an employer and a worker, which do not require permission of the court to commence or continue.

Directors remain in control of the company and will still need to meet their filing obligations with Companies House. Late filing penalties will still be applied where accounts are filed late.

How to get a moratorium

The directors must file for or apply to court for a moratorium. It will give the company 20 business days to consider rescue options.

The moratorium will be managed by a monitor, who is a licensed insolvency practitioner.

Extending a moratorium

The moratorium can be extended for a further 20 business days without creditor consent, or for a longer period with creditor consent, by filing relevant statements with the court. It can also be extended further on application to the court.

Any extension must be made before the current expiry of the moratorium.

What to send to Companies House

To make sure the company’s record is accurate and up to date, any notices must be delivered to Companies House as quickly as possible.

The monitor must deliver notice of the commencement of a moratorium to Companies House.

They also need to receive a notice if:

  • the moratorium is extended
  • the moratorium is terminated early
  • the monitor is replaced, or an additional monitor is appointed
  • the court makes an order giving permission for the disposal of property

The moratorium will expire at the end of the initial 20 business day period or any extended period.

The monitor is not required to deliver a notice stating that the moratorium has ended if it has expired by time.

The monitor must deliver a notice if it has ended for another reason, such as:

  • it has been terminated early by the monitor
  • the company has entered an insolvency procedure

Who it applies to:

A moratorium can be applied for by companies and LLPs registered in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Please click here for further information.

If you are in difficulty, please talk to us and we will do our best to help you review all available options.

Friday 19 June 2020

CJRS Update

Please note that HMRCs online calculator can only be used for furlough claims ending on or before 30 June. After this date, you will need to work this out. This means that for any employees who you are flexibly furloughing, you’ll need to do a series of calculations to work out what the furlough pay will be for the usual hours that your employee is not working during your claim period. Further guidance on how to calculate what you can claim can be found in the links below.

Example of how to calculate the amount you should claim for an employee who is flexibly furloughed

Examples of how to calculate your employees' wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions

HMRC have provided a webinar on how the scheme is changing please click here to book your place.

Businesses Need to Reinstate VAT Direct Debits

The deferral of VAT payments due to Coronavirus comes to an end on 30 June and businesses need to take action to reinstate their direct debit mandates.

The VAT payment deferral means that all UK VAT-registered businesses have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 until 31 March 2021.

However, businesses need to take steps to reinstate their direct debit mandates so that they are in place in time for payments due in July 2020 onwards. Any outstanding returns should be filed, and three working days should be allowed to elapse before reinstating the direct debit mandate.

HMRC will issue guidance on the end of the VAT deferral period very soon but, to be effective, direct debit mandates usually need to be set up three working days before a VAT return is filed.

We cannot set up direct debit mandates on behalf of our clients; the business needs to set up the mandate through their business tax account.

HMRC has confirmed that it will not collect the outstanding balance of deferred VAT when the direct debit mandate is reinstated. HMRC has made the necessary systems change to avoid this happening for businesses in MTD for VAT.

Please click here for further information from HMRC.

Thursday 18 June 2020

Tax payments due 31 July 2020 – do you really need to defer?

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, HMRC announced that taxpayers required to make a second payment on account towards their 2019/20 income tax liability by 31 July 2020 can defer their payment until 31 January 2021. The deferral is automatic, so there is no need to inform HMRC and no interest or penalties will be charged during the deferral period.

However, it must be appreciated that this is a measure to assist those suffering financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic. HMRC expect taxpayers who have not suffered financial hardship and have sufficient funds available to make the payment on time.

Thursday 11 June 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Updates

For periods starting on or after the 1 July, the maximum number of employees you can claim for in any period cannot be higher than the maximum number you have claimed for in a previous period. For example, if your highest single claim for periods up to 30 June was for 100 people, you can’t claim for more than this number in later periods.

Parents Returning to Work after Extended Leave Eligible for Furlough

People on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the government’s furlough scheme, HM Treasury announced 9 June.

In essence:

  • Parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for furlough scheme even after 10 June cut-off date
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants at the end of June as new flexibilities are introduced to support economy
  • This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees
  • This also applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave.

Making Changes to Your Claims If You Have Over-Claimed

If you’ve made an error in a CJRS claim that means you received too much money, you must pay this back to HMRC.

HMRC have updated the application system so you can tell them if you have over-claimed in a previous claim – when you apply you’ll be asked if you need to reduce the amount to take account of a previous error. Your new claim amount will be reduced to reflect this. You should then keep a record of this adjustment for six years.

If you have made an error in a CJRS claim and do not plan to submit further claims, HMRC are working on a process that will allow you to let them know about your error and pay back any amounts that you have over-claimed. We will update guidance and keep you informed when this is available.

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund Launched

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes opened on the 8 June.

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.

What you get

You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.

Eligibility

You may be eligible if your business:

  • is based in England
  • has relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • occupies property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000
  • was trading on 11 March 2020

You will need to show that your business has suffered a significant fall in income due to Coronavirus.

The Government has asked local councils to prioritise businesses such as:

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators
  • regular market traders
  • bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates
  • charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief

Local councils have discretion about how to prioritise this funding. Please check with your council for details of their scheme.

You cannot apply if your business is in administration, insolvent or has received a striking-off notice.

If you are already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you are already claiming under another government grant scheme, such as:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
  • Zoos Support Fund
  • Dairy Hardship Fund

Businesses that apply for the discretionary grants scheme can still apply for Coronavirus-related loans if they are eligible.

You are still eligible if you have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

For the full report click here.

Thursday 4 June 2020

How to Treat Certain Expenses and Benefits Provided to Employees during Coronavirus (Covid-19)

To find out about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of Coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC please click here.

This guidance is about Income Tax treatment only. National Insurance contributions treatment may vary depending on the individual benefit or expense.

Please talk to us if you need clarification in any of these areas.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Job Retention Scheme - Flexible Furloughing and Important Dates

The Chancellor has announced major changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). HMRC have outlined the details below; see how you might be affected.

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Employer contributions

From August, the government grant will be tapered as follows:

  • For June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work (applicable from 1 July).
  • In August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions.
  • From 1 September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • For the final month of the scheme in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • The cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

Important dates

It is important to note that the scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, you will only be able to furlough employees that you have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date that you can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

The Chancellor has confirmed that the CJRS will close on 31 October.

Guidance and support

Further support on how to calculate claims with the extra flexibility will be available by 12 June and we will keep you informed about the details and your written requirements in due course. If you have any questions please contact us. See more details here.

Chancellor Extends Self-Employment Support Scheme

The government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570. This will give more security to individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by Coronavirus in the coming months. You do not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant, for example, if your business has only recently been affected by Coronavirus.

  • Individuals can continue to apply for the first SEISS grant until 13 July. Under the first grant, eligible individuals can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total. Those eligible have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of completing a claim.
  • Applications for the second grant will open in August. Individuals will be able to claim a second taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
  • The eligibility criteria are the same for both grants, and individuals will need to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by Coronavirus. An individual does not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant: for example, they may only have been adversely affected by COVID-19 in this later phase.

Further guidance on the second grant will be published on Friday 12 June and we will keep you up to date with the details when we know them. See more details here.

No announcement or Grant was made at the daily press conference regarding Company Directors and those who became self-employed after April 2019.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Please click here to access the SEISS portal for applications. This scheme is available if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). If you haven’t already, please check if you are eligible to claim a grant by clicking here.

Please note that for a small number of cases, the checker is giving an incorrect not-eligible result. In most cases this as a result of late filing of the 2018/19 Tax Return. HMRC is updating the system and those who may be in this situation should keep trying the checker.

The eligibility checker includes an option to request a review of not-eligible results. The review can be requested by the taxpayer or their agent. HMRC will start to consider review cases later in May, after the bulk of the claims have been made.

The level of grant will be automatically calculated by HMRC, individuals will not need to enter any figures or information about past income. Therefore a review should also be requested if you believe the grant calculated by HMRC to be incorrect, please note that reviews of this nature can only be requested by the individual making the claim, agents are currently unable to make these requests. Clients of Humphrey & Co should speak to their usual contact if they would like calculations checked for them.

Those who are digitally excluded and unable to claim online are expected to be able to make claims by phoning HMRCs SEISS helpline. HMRC recommend that, where possible, the webchat facility be used in preference to phoning, to help manage demand.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Chancellor Extends Furlough Scheme Until October

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, the key points announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak are:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
  • furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
  • new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy

The Government stated as we reopen the economy, we need to support people to get back to work. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

New statistics published today revealed the job retention scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses.

The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August.

More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.

The government will explore ways through which furloughed workers who wish to do additional training or learn new skills are supported during this period. It will also continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure the scheme supports people across the Union.

The Chancellor’s decision to extend the scheme, which will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, comes after the government outlined its plan for the next phase of its response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Thursday 7 May 2020

Business Bounce Back Loan – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The British Business Bank has released FAQs for Small Businesses regarding the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, these can be found here.

Business Rates Revaluation Postponed

A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of Coronavirus.

Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021 but following the recent economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic ministers want to ensure businesses have more certainty during this difficult time. Read more here.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Update

Following our update yesterday on SEISS, if you do not yet have a Government Gateway account, rather than applying for it separately, we suggest you wait until you apply for the grant. You should be invited to apply for such an account as part of the first step of the SEISS grant process.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Further guidance has now been issued by the Government in respect of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (“SEISS”).

HMRC will begin contacting individuals who may be eligible to receive a grant under the SEISS from 4 May. You may, therefore, have already received correspondence from HMRC. Once you have received confirmation from HMRC that you may be eligible to receive a grant you will be entitled to make a claim when the online system opens on 13 May. We understand, however, that HMRC are trying to stagger claim applications so the date you can claim from may be later.

It is important to note that we, as your agent, are unable to make the claim on your behalf.

We will, of course, be happy to assist with any queries you may have when making the claim or in assessing your eligibility for a grant.

What you will need to make a claim

The current guidance suggests that you will require the following:

  1. Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) (can be found on the front on your Tax Return)
  2. Your National Insurance Number (can be found on the front of your Tax Return)
  3. Your Government Gateway ID and Password
  4. Bank account number and sort code for payment

As you will see from point 3, it is important that you have a Government Gateway account setup in order to make the claim application yourself. If you do not already have a Government Gateway account you will need to register for one as soon as possible. To do this, please:

Eligibility

Ahead of receiving correspondence from HMRC in connection with the SEISS they are also inviting you to check your eligibility for a grant as follows - https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference.

You will be required to enter your UTR and National Insurance Number and will then be prompted to ensure your contact details are correct by logging into your Government Gateway account. This is also a good opportunity to create a new account if you do not already have one. Should you be entitled to claim a grant we understand that it will be paid into your chosen bank account within 6 working days from the date of the claim.

If you have any queries in connection with your eligibility for a grant under the SEISS following the completion of the above online check please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thursday 30 April 2020

Government announces “bounce back” loans for small businesses

The Government has announced a new 100% Government backed loan scheme for small businesses.

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.

Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

• Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
• Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
• Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
• No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

 The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Businesses will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan:

ELIGIBILITY

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

WHO CANNOT APPLY

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools
  • if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

More information about the scheme will be published shortly. Click here for further details.

Find out if your business is eligible to receive government support

You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. Use the business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

Coronavirus Business Support Finder

Friday 24 April 2020

High-earners should reconsider their child benefit claims

Many households with the highest earner having annual income of £60,000 or more have not been claiming child benefit as it would have been effectively withdrawn in full by the High Income Child Benefit Charge (“HICBC”). However, should the highest earner’s annual income fall below £60,000 as a result of the Coronavirus, a claim for child benefit should be made as it will not be fully withdrawn by the HICBC. Should the highest earner’s income fall below £50,000, there will be no HICBC and thus no withdrawal of child benefit.

Please note that retrospective claims for child benefit can only be backdated by three months, so it important that claims are made as soon as possible.

Guidance on how to claim child benefit can be found here.

If we can be of any assistance, please contact your usual partner.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Help following the death of a loved one

In these unprecedented times we would like to reach out to our clients, colleagues and friends of Humphrey & Co in the event that any of you are faced with dealing with formalities following the passing of a friend or relation whether Covid-19 related or not.

Losing a loved one is never easy but we are able to provide assistance and support to those left trying to handle probate applications or estate administrations regardless of the size or complexity of the estate. Our TESS team are all STEP qualified and would be happy to help you through this difficult time.

If we can be of assistance please email tess@humph.co.uk and either Sue or Amanda will be in contact with you.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

HMRCs Coronavirus job retention scheme portal is now live

HMRCs online portal for furlough claims opened yesterday (20th April), click here to make a claim online.

The scheme is now open to employees that were on the payroll prior to 19 March 2020, previously this was 28 February 2020. Please note an RTI submission must have been made prior to 19 March 2020 for those employees to be included.

The government have also extended the scheme to run up to the end of June 2020.

Details of how to calculate the claim can be found here.

Payroll clients of Humphrey & Co can either opt for the calculations and claim to be prepared for them, or they can prepare these themselves. All payroll clients should have received an email over the weekend detailing their options to them.

For those clients enjoying protection under our Tax Investigation Service, our time will be covered in connection with any enquiries HMRC subsequently make.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

To find out how HMRC will work out your income and profits if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost profits due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) click here.

Please note that the online service for accessing this scheme is not yet ready, and that HMRC are planning to contact eligible individuals by mid-May, with payments expected in early June.

If you are a client of Humphrey & Co and require any help with the scheme or would like copies of your last three years Tax Return’s please do get in contact with your usual partner.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Help and support if your business is affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

HMRC have put together a video to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of Coronavirus. Watch the video here and register for the free webinar.

Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts

Please beware of emails and messages pertaining to be from HMRC. Take extra caution at this time and do not click on links or share personal details. Please talk to us if you want to confirm whether any correspondence is genuine. Find out how to recognise when contact from HMRC is genuine, and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages by clicking here.

Thursday 9 April 2020

We continue to receive information and updates regarding the financial packages being offered by the Government and are contacting our affected clients. Please click the link below for a summary of key information released during the last week.

We do hope that our clients and contacts and their loved ones are keeping well and staying safe and are able to have some downtime (at home) over the Easter weekend.

Further Information on Government Funding

Monday 6 April 2020

Signing of Wills

During this time when social distancing is so important, the signing of Wills or other legal documents that require witnesses needs to be considered.

There is currently no authority to witness such documents remotely. So for Wills, where two witnesses are required, they must both be physically present when the person making the Will (the testator) signs it. This can be done by all three individuals being in a sufficiently large space to observe the social distancing rules. Other measures should be taken such as each party using their own pen to sign the Will.

If a testator is not well enough to sign their Will, they can instruct someone else to sign on their behalf; that could be one of the witnesses, who can either sign their own name or write the testator’s name. If such a situation arises then an amendment will be necessary to the attestation clause at the end of the Will next to the space for the signatures. Clear instructions for the signing process in this situation will have to be issued. A record of this should be maintained and, if possible, a video recording made of the signing process.

Please contact either Sue Pocklington or Amanda Eade on 01323 730631 if assistance is required with Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Thursday 2 April 2020

Coronavirus support for Landlords and Furnished Holiday Letting (“FHL”) Businesses

We have prepared this guide to assist our clients in understanding the support measures currently available to landlords and those operating FHL businesses.

The information below is correct as at 2 April 2020 but changes might be made and additional measures introduced as the outbreak progresses. We will continue to monitor these changes and will keep you updated accordingly.

Landlords and Furnished Holiday Letting Businesses

Monday 30 March 2020

Coronavirus support for Sole Traders / Partnerships and Ltd Companies

Financial support measures and related guidance is being created by the Government on an almost constant basis at present. We have therefore tried to summarise the key measures specifically available to you as either a Sole Trader (or Partnership) and for those who operate via a Limited Company. Please click the links below to download the documents.

Sole Trader / PartnershipLimited Company

We hope that you will find the documents useful as it is hard to navigate the Government pages and establish what you might qualify for as a business. Naturally, on a case by case basis we can help to facilitate claims for support, if required. Now is the time to start to take practical steps to protect your position. The full package of measures is listed on the following website if you need to look at further detail:-

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

HOMES AND OUR FAMILIES

If you or your business are likely to be affected by the current situation, now is the time to consider contacting your mortgage provider who may agree a mortgage payment ‘holiday’ for a three month period. Those that are in rented accommodation are encouraged to contact their Landlords to discuss their position.

It is the marginal gains that you can make in good business practices, managing home bills and adapting your business model that will combine to help you through these times.