October 2020

Technical and Client Update

In this issue

Winter Economy Plan

New Job Support Scheme announced (JSS)

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

VAT cut for hospitality sector continues

Deferral of VAT bills

Self-Assessment taxpayers – time to pay extension

Bounce Back loans - flexibility given to pay back amounts borrowed

Key dates for coronavirus business support schemes

Keeping your data secure when working remotely

Winter Economy Plan

Following on from the announcements by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on 23rd September we have detailed the series of measures announced to help jobs and businesses below.

New Job Support Scheme announced (JSS)

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses that are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The employer must continue to pay workers for hours worked, but support through the new JSS is available for the cost of the hours not worked.

The new job scheme starts 1 November 2020 and will replace the current Job retention (“furlough”) scheme which ends 31 October 2020.

All small and medium-sized businesses are eligible, larger businesses must show their turnover has fallen during the pandemic. Employers can use the new scheme even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme. 

The new Government scheme will last for six months to 30 April 2021 and to be eligible employees will need to be working a minimum of 33% of their hours. For the remaining hours not worked the Government and employer will pay one third of wages each. This means:

  • Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work - but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary.
  • Employees who can only go back to work on shorter time will still be paid two thirds of the hours for those hours they can’t work.
  • The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.

By way of an example an employee working 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their pay, 22% paid by the Government and 55% paid by their employer (the “worked” 33% plus 22%).

Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days.

Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.

Grants reimbursing employers for the government’s contribution will be paid in arrears, on a monthly basis. The claims portal on gov.uk will open in December 2020.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

The existing self-employed grant (SEISS) will also be extended on the same basis as the job support scheme. 

An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.

An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.

To be eligible for the further grants, taxpayers must meet the following criteria:

  • Be currently eligible for the SEISS (although it is not necessary to have claimed the previous grants).
  • Be actively trading at the time the grant is claimed and intend to continue to trade.
  • Be impacted by reduced demand due to COVID-19 in the qualifying period.

The requirements to be “actively trading” and to be “impacted by reduced demand” are new and HMRC is expected to publish further guidance to clarify the meaning of these terms.

The requirement to be actively trading will mean that businesses that have had to close during the pandemic will not be able to claim if they have not restarted during the qualifying period.

This is designed to ensure that only viable businesses are supported and to align the scheme with the Job Support Scheme which will require employees to be working at least of a third of their usual hours.

HMRC will provide full details about how to claim on gov.uk and we will publish more information as it becomes available.

VAT cut for hospitality sector continues

The reduction in VAT to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sector will be extended until 31 March 2021.

Deferral of VAT bills

Up to half a million businesses 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 instalments. 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.

Self-Assessment taxpayers – time to pay extension

Approximately 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, to help those who are unable to make the 2019/20 Self-Assessment tax payment deadline by 31 January 2021.

Specifically, taxpayers with liabilities of up to £30,000 can make use of HMRC’s ‘self-serve time to pay’ facility to secure a payment plan over an additional 12 months. This means that liabilities ordinarily due by 31 January 2021 can be deferred up until 31 January 2022. This also means that payments due by 31 July 2020 that were previously deferred until 31 January 2021 can be further deferred up to 31 January 2022.

The self-serve time to pay scheme will be available through HMRC’s website and eligible taxpayers will receive automatic and immediate approval.

Customers who wish to set up their own self-serve Time to Pay arrangements must meet the following requirements:

  • they need to have no:
    • outstanding tax returns
    • other tax debts
    • other HMRC payment plans set up
  • the debt needs to be between £32 and £30,000
  • the payment plan needs to be set up no later than 60 days after the due date of a debt

Customers using self-serve Time to Pay will be required to pay any interest on the tax owed. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021.

Self Assessment customers can set up their own online payment plan to help spread the cost of their tax bill. Please click here for further details.

HMRC’s normal time to pay self-assessment helpline (details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc) is still available to taxpayers unable to use the online service, whose debts exceed £30,000 or require more than a year to repay their tax debts.

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 their payments on time.

Bounce Back loans - flexibility given to pay back amounts borrowed

More than a million businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will get more repayment time through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system.

This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, which will cut monthly repayments by nearly half. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.

The Government also intends to give Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

The chancellor also announced an extension in applications for the government’s coronavirus loan schemes until the end of November.

Key dates for coronavirus business support schemes

Updated dates to include the latest announcements above.




1 October 2020


  • 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.

19 October 2020


Claims for the second grant must be made on or before this date.

31 October 2020


CJRS ends for all furloughed employees.



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

1 November 2020


Job Support Scheme replaces CJRS scheme until 30 April 2021.


Extension of the SEISS will cover the period from November to the end of January next year.

30 November 2020


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


CBILS, CLBILS, BBL & Future Fund

The application window for these loans are open until this date. 

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. These payments can be deferred until January 2022.


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

1 March 2021


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


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

Stamp Duty

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

March/April 2021


You will need to start repayments of the loan and interest 12 months from the date you took out the loan. Lenders have the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

April 2021-March 2022


Deferred VAT bills can be paid back in 11 smaller instalments, interest-free, during the 2021-22 financial year.

30 April 2021


Job Support Scheme ends.

May 2021


You will need to start repayments of the loan and interest 12 months from the date you took out the loan. The length of the loan has been extended from six years to ten. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses. 

January 2022

Self Assessment

Any payments deferred in 2020/21 are now due

Keeping your data secure when working remotely

With many of us now working from home, making video conference calls, uploading documents and conducting business online, how can firms ensure that their data and systems are secure?

Update your network security

While you should really do this on a regular, ongoing basis, making sure your devices are completely up to date with the most recent security patches and upgrades can make a huge difference in securing your data.

Things like your operating system, antivirus and antimalware programs, and your router are just some of the things you should immediately shore up and protect since those are generally your first and last defence against external threats. If some of your staff are using their own, personal devices when working remotely, your firm can roll out secure platforms such as Mobile Iron, which can be installed on those devices, in order to keep company data secure.

Encrypt home WiFi

If your team is working from home, ensure that their WiFi network is encrypted. A good start is to change the router’s default password as it’s susceptible to attack from a hacker.

The default passwords tend to be weaker. ‘Admin’, for example. Note that this is not the password you use to access the network; it’s the one you use to protect your settings and configuration.

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

2FA requires two forms of identification to gain access, such as a password and a PIN code. This makes it harder for hackers to guess user login details. If you don’t want to rely on set numbers and codes, you can also use apps like Microsoft/Google Authenticator - this will send an approval notification to your phone which you can either approve or deny.


Having the right training in place is central to working remotely. Assign appropriate training courses to your team and ensure that they all complete it. Reinforce staff responsibilities, including when to report cyber security issues.

Remind employees that while they work remotely, they have to maintain the same level of professionalism when it comes to secure and sensitive data as they do in the office. That includes reminding people that personal email is not to be used in an official capacity and that any physical documents kept at home must either be disposed of properly with a shredder or set aside securely (in a locked cabinet) to be shredded or securely filed at a later date.