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.

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 in our Eastbourne office which will facilitate the delivery of records and documents. If clients would like papers delivered to the Eastbourne 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 via the office entrance at the rear of the building (in Avenue Lane). 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.

LATEST RESOURCES

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:

• click on the following link - https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/bas-gateway/sign-in?continue_url=/account&origin=
• click “Continue to your account” at the bottom of the page
• click “Create sign in details” on the next page (underneath the green 'sign in' button)

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.