There are a few COVID scheme and provisions that have or are coming to end over the next few weeks. Here are some of the most relevant that might affect you:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – Paying and claiming COVID related sick pay from the first day of absence ends today and final claims need to be made by 24th March. From now on we revert to the normal rules of eligibility for SSP starting on day four.
Employees’ home-office expenses — end of temporary easement on 5th April now that there is no legal requirement to work from home. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-expenses-are-taxable-if-your-employee-works-from-home-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19
Tax on UK income if you live abroad — easement ends on 5 April 2022. In 2020, HMRC introduced guidance for non-UK resident employees stuck in the UK because of coronavirus travel restrictions. This stated that those employees would not be taxed on earnings for duties performed in the UK after their planned departure date, provided they were taxed in their home state.
Cycle to work. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, in December 2020, the UK government announced a time-limited easement. This was for employees who had joined an employer-provided cycling scheme and received a cycle or cycling safety equipment on or before 20 December 2020. Employees who joined a scheme from 21 December 2020 would need to meet all the normal conditions of the Cycle to Work scheme. Where eligible, employees would not have to meet the ’qualifying journeys’ condition until after 5 April 2022. The rules of the scheme have not changed. From 5 April 2022, all employees on an existing cycling scheme will need to meet the normal conditions, including the ’qualifying journeys’ condition.
Check if your business is eligible for a coronavirus grant due to national restrictions (for closed businesses)
Businesses that were open as usual, but then required to close due to national restrictions imposed by government may be eligible for the LRSG (Closed) Addendum schemes:
from 5 January 2021 onwards
between 5 November and 2 December 2020
Eligible businesses may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each period under national restrictions.
The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the Furlough scheme – will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ended on 31st October. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.
In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly. Make sure you look at your Local Authority website to see what might be available for your business.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
HMRC will start contacting self-employed businesses from this week who may be eligible for support.
The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.
If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.
Who can claim
You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and:
- you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus
- you traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
- you traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
- you intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
Your business could be adversely affected by coronavirus, for example if:
- you’re unable to work because you:
- are shielding
- are self-isolating
- are on sick leave because of coronavirus
- have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus
- you’ve had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:
- your supply chain has been interrupted
- you have fewer or no customers or clients
- your staff are unable to come in to work
How to claim
There have been a number of updates recently regarding various provisions that the Government have put in place to help businesses.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
For those of you that have employees (including sole directors) who are or have been furloughed, the CJRS portal for claims will be open as of Monday 20th April.
A Step-By-Step guide is available for making claims. If you have employees being furloughed, please read the guide even if we will be making the claim on your behalf. There are HR procedures (Not Accounting) that must be followed and that you must have in place for each employee being furloughed.
The latest guidance on the scheme can be found on the Government website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
How to calculate the amount you can claim is set out in detail at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Small Business Grants
This scheme is now open and many local authorities have written to eligible rate payers with details of how to access the scheme. This has typically been done through providing details to your local authority by means of a portal on their respective websites. If you have not yet received any communication from your local authority and you believe you are eligible for the grant, please check their website and contact them directly.
For Deferred VAT and self assessment payments in July you do not need to do anything to communicate to HYMRC that you are deferring the payment but you must still submit your returns on time. Please remember though to cancel any direct debit mandate you may have in place otherwise payment will be taken.
For time to pay for other taxes, you must agree these directly with HMRC. It is important to do this rather than just not pay. You could incur penalties.
Self Employment Scheme
This scheme is not yet open for claims but the latest details of how the scheme will work can be found on the Government website
These are very challenging times for everyone. We hope you are all keeping safe and well and are coping with your new routines.
Guidance has just been published with answers to many of the questions surrounding this scheme. There will not be a portal open for claims until late April so you can’t access it yet.
The Government website has been updated and provides answers to questions raised such as what constitutes wages. This is particularly important for those paid irregular amounts and commissions.
Many local authorities are writing to the registered ratepayers now for small business premises to advise them of their eligibility for the grants.
They are requesting that you go to their respective websites to provide bank details with some looking to make payment this month.
Please be mindful of scams. Check the sources of any communication and who you are providing bank details to!
The Chancellor announced a VAT payments deferral on 20 March to support businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This means that all businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June.
You therefore have until 31 March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement.
You do not need to inform HMRC if you wish to defer payment. You can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period. If you pay by Direct Debit you should cancel this with your bank. You should do so in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.
Should you wish, you can continue to make payments as normal during the deferral period. HMRC will also continue to pay repayment claims as normal. You must continue to submit VAT returns as normal.
Companies House have announced that companies can apply for a 3 month extension to file accounts to avoid penalties.