COVID UPDATE

August 6th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

I’ve had an email from HMRC about the job retention bonus, basically a £1,000 bribe not to bin your staff before January. Also there are changes to the CJRS as they start to wind it down, you have to contribute more to the payroll bill.

If you claimed the Self Employed Income Support, and are still affected by COVID, you can claim a second payment, using the same login that you had to make before, from 17 August. Last time you got 80% of 3 months income, this time its 70%, so you get 7/8 of what you received last time. It will be taxed as income when the year’s Self Assessment goes in. I can’t do it for you, but ring me if you are stuck.

Full text of HMRC’s email below:

We’re writing to let you know that we have published additional information on the Job Retention Bonus, including details on how to check which employers and employees are eligible and what you or your clients need to do now to get ready to claim.

You can find this by going to GOV‌.UK and searching ‘Job Retention Bonus – Policy Statement’.

Job Retention Bonus

Employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee they have previously received a grant for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and who remains continuously employed through to the end of Ja‌nu‌ar‌y 2021.

To be eligible, the employee must have received earnings in November, December and January, and must have been paid an average of at least £520 per month, and a total of at least £1,560 across the three months.

As the employer, you or your clients will be able to claim the bonus after you have filed PAYE information for Ja‌nu‌ar‌y 2021, and the bonus will be paid from Fe‌br‌ua‌ry 2021. More detailed guidance, including how employers can claim the bonus online will be available by the end of September.

What you or your clients need to do now

If you or your clients intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus, you must:

  • ensure all employee records are up to date
  • accurately report employees’ details and wages on the Full Payment Submission (FPS) through the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system
  • make sure all of your CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told us about any changes needed (for example if you’ve received too much or too little).

Reminder of changes to CJRS

From 1 Au‌gu‌st 2020 CJRS continue to provide grants for furloughed employees but no longer funds employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions. Employers now have to make these payments from their own resources for all employees, whether furloughed or not. Our guidance has been updated to reflect these changes.

Further guidance and live webinars offering more support on changes to the scheme and how they impact you are available to book online – go to GOV‌.UK and search ‘help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus’. 

Please only contact us if you can’t find the information you need from GOV‌.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most. 

Making sure your data is right

It’s important that you or your clients provide the data we need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect. We may be in touch to request employee data if it’s missing from your previous claims.

National Insurance numbers

Employers need to provide a National Insurance number (NINO) for all employees as part of their CJRS claim. The only exception is in the very limited circumstances where an employee genuinely does not have a NINO, for example if they are under 16 years old.

If you are claiming for an employee whose NINO you don’t currently know, you can check their number by searching GOV.UK for ‘Check a National Insurance Number using basic PAYE Tool’.

We can no longer accept claims for fewer than 100 employees by phone where employers do not have all employee NINO’s unless the employees they are claiming for genuinely do not have these.

Claimed too much in error?

If you or your clients have claimed too much for a CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify us and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days after receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days from when circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
  • 20 Oc‌to‌be‌r 2020 if you received CJRS money you’re not entitled to, or if your circumstances changed on or before 22 J‌ul‌y.

If you do not do this, you or your clients may have to pay a penalty. We do understand mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times, and will not seek out innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action. We will act, however, against anyone who deliberately sets out to defraud the system or claims money they aren’t entitled to.

How to let us know about claiming too much

If you or your clients have received more than you are entitled to, you can let us know as part of your next online claim without needing to call us – the system will prompt you to add details on if you have received too much. For more information, search for ‘if you claim too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.UK.

If you or your clients received too much and do not plan to submit further claims – or you have claimed less than you were entitled to – please contact us by searching ‘Contact HMRC’ on GOV‌.UK.

Protect yourself from scams  

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search ‘scams’ on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.  

I hope this information helps you and your business, and we’ll continue to keep you updated on scheme developments over the coming weeks.  

Yours faithfully

jharra

Jim Harra

Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary – HMRC

Capital Gains Tax on homes – 30 days to pay

June 30th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you sell a house you aren’t now living in, such as a home you are letting, and you make a profit, there is potentially capital gains tax to pay. New rules apply from 6 April 2020 – you now have 30 days to report the gain and pay the tax. In the past you just waited until that year’s self assessment return went in.

Apparently the new procedure is a bit of a nightmare – you have to set up or use your personal Government Gateway account (if you claimed SEISS you will have already had to do this), get a claim number, then authorise me to make the report. This could take the whole 30 days, so if you sell a property you need to get on with it!

Considering that the idea was to streamline the payment and get it in quickly, why they have to make it so difficult beats me.

You can do it yourself, in theory, and save time, follow this link for more details.

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/capital-gains-tax-uk-property/start/report-pay-capital-gains-tax-uk-property?

Self Employed Support Scheme and JRS update

June 29th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you are self employed and affected by the dreaded lurgy, you should have claimed the SEISS payment by now, see my earlier posts.

Last time the grant was 80% of your average earnings over the last three years. HMRC are going to make a second payment if you are still affected, you can apply in August. This payment is 70% of earnings for 3 months. So whatever you got last time (worked out by HMRC’s computer) this time you should get 7/8 of that. How you apply and log in etc will be the same, just hope that your computer saved the log in details!

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 installment 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.

Job Retention Scheme:

For the JRS if you are already furloughing employees you can continue to claim, but the support will taper off. First to go, in August is the employer’s NIC relief, however if you don’t pay that anyway that won’t affect you. You can bring furloughed employees back part time, and claim for the hours they still don’t work. You pay them yourself for the hours they do work.

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

  • 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 pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
  • August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

Update on CJRS & SEISS 29/5/20

June 3rd, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

The following is from an email I received from HMRC:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Chancellor has announced three changes to the job retention scheme:

  1. From 1‌‌ July 2020, the scheme will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back part time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working.
  2. From 1‌‌ August 2020, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.
  3. The scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June.

1. Part time furloughing

From 1‌‌ July 2020, businesses using the scheme will have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.

Employers will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, and will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as the business needs, with no minimum time that they can furlough staff for.

Any working hours arrangement agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, they will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. They can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if preferred. Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.

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

2. Employer contributions

From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered.

  • in 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 pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • 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 – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • in 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
  • 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.

Many smaller employers have some or all of their employer NIC bills covered by the Employment Allowance so will not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.

Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

3. Important dates

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

This means that the final date by which an employer 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.

Guidance and support

Further support for employers and agents on how to calculate claims with this extra flexibility will be available by 12‌‌ June, including webinars and detailed online guidance. For information about how to claim, go to GOV‌.‌‌UK and search ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. Please do not call us for more information, everything you need to know about this scheme will be published online on GOV‌.‌‌UK.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Chancellor also announced plans to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for those people whose trade continues to be, or is newly, adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Eligible self-employed people will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August; this will be a taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits for three months, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.

The eligibility criteria for the second grant will be the same as for the first grant. People do not need to have claimed the first grant to claim the second grant: for example, their business may have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) more recently.

Claims for the first SEISS grant, which opened on 13‌‌ May, must be made no later than 13‌‌ July. Eligible self-employed people must make a claim before that date to receive the first SEISS grant (a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total). So far, we’ve seen over 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion.

It’s really important to note that as with the first SEISS grant, the eligible individual must make the claim themselves. If agents attempt to make a claim on behalf of your client, this will trigger a fraud alert and will result in significant delays to payment. However, agents can help to prepare your clients by ensuring they have the relevant information ready. The claims process is simple: we will calculate the amount of self-employment support individuals will receive, they don’t need to do this themselves.

More information about the second SEISS grant will be available on GOV.‌‌UK on 12‌‌ June.

Protect yourself from scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search ‘scams’ on GOV.‌‌UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

SME ‘Bounceback’ Loan Scheme

May 8th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

The new, 100% government guaranteed, SME Bounce Back Loan Scheme went live Monday, May 4 2020.

The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

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
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’re already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). However, If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

The British Business Bank have prepared an FAQ to help businesses with the accessing the scheme.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

May 5th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

HMRC have now published information about who can apply for this relief, if they have been financially hit by the Covid-19 crisis and how to go about it.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

As they have done this in a hurry, I’m disappointed to tell you that I cannot apply for you as an agent, they won’t even let me apply for myself as they see me as my own client! You couldn’t make it up.

The scheme will go live between 13 and 18 May 2020. HMRC should contact you to tell you that you are eligible, in the meantime you can use the link above to check.

Remember you are not signing up for self assessment from scratch. If you were, you wouldn’t be eligible for this scheme anyway. You’ll need your 10 digit UTR number, which will be on any correspondence you have with HMRC, and your NI number. You will be able to apply for the gateway access when you apply for the grant, apparently they are dispensing with the usual shenanigans where they send you a code through the post within 10 days.

Once you have your gateway access, you should be able to log in and, after the start date, apply for the financial help. You’ll need to tell them which bank account you want it paying to, and yes, it will be treated as taxable income when we do your accounts!

Be warned, there are scammers out there, so don’t respond with your bank details to an email or text out of the blue, even if it does appear to come from HMRC, use the procedure outlined above. You may get a text or email from HMRC genuinely, but it will NOT include an active link. If it does, it will be from the Crown Prince of Nigeria or his barrister.

If in doubt, ask me.

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus

April 3rd, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

Find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to reclaim employee’s coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Advice from HMRC, updated 3 April 2020

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

The online service you’ll use to reclaim SSP is not available yet. HMRC will announce when the service is available and this guidance will be updated.

COVID-19: Rate Rebates & Furlough Scheme

March 27th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-that-pay-little-or-no-business-rates

This link has what you need to know about the Job Retention scheme, also the grants for business rate payers, and those who get business rate relief.

Update 30 March – The link below has guidance for employees (including Directors) about who is eligible to be furloughed.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

If you need to clarify anything, give me a call.

IMPORTANT

Whatever happens, HMRC will NOT be contacting you via text or email. This is a golden opportunity for the type of scammer who appears every year claiming to be HMRC trying to give you a refund. Really, they are after your bank details, so they can empty your account. For the self employed scheme, HMRC will work out what you are entitled to, and write to you. For the furlough scheme, it will be done through PAYE. If you aren’t sure, get in touch with me before replying.

Update 9 April:

You’ll need to provide the following to make a claim:

  1. The bank account number and sort code you’d like us to use when HMRC pay your claim.
  2. The name and phone number of the person in your business for HMRC to call with any questions.
  3. Your Self-Assessment UTR (Unique Tax Reference), Company UTR or CRN (Company Registration Number) – Usually I’ll have these.
  4. The name, employee number and National Insurance number for each of your furloughed employees. If I do your payroll, I’ll have this already.
  5. The total amount being claimed for all employees and the total furlough period. If I already do your payroll, I’ll have this information, just let me know who’s been furloughed and for what period.

HMRC Update 11 May

I’m writing to share the latest information about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme with you, including updates to guidance and the online service based on your feedback, and how to avoid common mistakes that can lead to a wrong or delayed payment.

Save and return option now added

In response to feedback from customers using the service, we’ve added a ‘save and return’ option. This means that you can now return to a partially completed claim, rather than having to do it all in one go.

Avoiding common mistakes

When you make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you will receive the funds within six working days after you apply, provided your claim matches records that we hold for your PAYE scheme. Making sure that you submit your claim correctly will reduce the chance of any delayed or wrong payments.

These steps should help keep the process as simple as possible:

  • read the guidance before you apply, to find this go to GOV‌.UK and search for ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, there’s a step-by-step guide to applying and a calculator
  • check your employees are eligible, by looking at the guidance on GOV‌.UK
  • check your calculations each time you submit a claim, in case any details have changed
  • only submit one claim per pay period – you can’t submit another claim for overlapping periods; this means that in each claim you should include all furloughed employees paid during that period
  • if you have missing National Insurance numbers for employees, do try and find them so it doesn’t delay your claim; if an employee doesn’t have a National Insurance number yet, you should contact HMRC in order to complete your claim; go to GOV‌.UK and search for ‘get help with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ to find out how to contact us
  • double check all of the information in the claim before you submit it, including your bank details.

We understand that sometimes you might make an error in your claim, and we’re working on a process to enable you to amend a claim. In the meantime, please don’t amend your next claim to reflect any errors that you may have made in a previous one, as this could delay payment. If we spot an error then, where possible, we’ll contact you or your agent to correct the claim.

After you make a claim – reporting employees’ wages to HMRC

If you’ve claimed a grant through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you should check if you need to report payments on the PAYE Real Time Information system. This will depend on whether you are using the grant to pay wages or to reimburse wages that you’ve already paid. To find guidance on this, go to GOV‌.UK and search for ‘report wages Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’.

Find out more in our recorded webinars

Want more information? There are two HMRC webinars about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on our YouTube channel ‘HMRCgovuk’ – an overview of the scheme and a detailed session about how to make a claim.

A note about scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search ‘scams’ on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

March 27th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

Use this scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

UPDATE 9 April

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#what-youll-need-to-make-a-claim

IMPORTANT

Whatever happens, HMRC will NOT be contacting you via text or email. This is a golden opportunity for the type of scammer who appears every year claiming to be HMRC trying to give you a refund. Really, they are after your bank details, so they can empty your account. HMRC will work out what you are entitled to, and write to you. If you aren’t sure, get in touch with me before replying.

‘HMRC’ bogus calls and email scams. Again.

February 6th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized

Ive posted about this before, but having just paid your tax, you’d love a refund, right? Or not having paid your tax you’re worried that HMRC will be on your case any day now.

So far this week I’ve had calls from two worried clients that HMRC has emailed to repay them some random and unexpected amount, but are asking for their card details to facilitate the repayment. One I had forwarded to me tells you to make sure you have your bank card ready when you click on the link or call the number.

If it sounds too good to be true, then, yes it is, these are scammers, probably overseas, with convincing(ish) ‘HMRC’ web addresses – once they have your card details they will be off to spend your money or empty your bank account ASAP. DON’T reply or open any links on the email.

One I’m getting myself is a robotic voice on the landline, telling me the HMRC have a warrant out for my arrest, and I should press 1 to talk to my case officer. No doubt he has a script to help him get my card details so I can pay some notional amount to clear my account.

If you get this just hang up, these people really are the scum of the earth. If there really is any surplus or shortfall on your account, be sure that the real HMRC will WRITE to you about it. In reality I find it almost impossible to engage with the real HMRC by email at all, they’re just not that modern.