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News and updates from HMRC

Posted By HMRC, 21 September 2020

This Stakeholder Digest provides a round-up of both the steps HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is taking to help support the UK economy during the Coronavirus outbreak and an update on other HMRC business. We want to ensure everyone knows about the support available and any updates to our programmes so we’d be grateful if you could share these messages with your clients, customers or members.

The government has set up a dedicated support page where businesses can find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of Coronavirus.
  • Important updated information for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Eat Out to Help Out Scheme – claim by 30 September
  • Self Employed Income Support Scheme – new parents may now be eligible
  • Helping businesses get ready for changes to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021
  • Landmark Kickstart Scheme Opens to All Employers
  • Venues required to enforce rule of 6, NHS QR code posters and contact logs
  • Test and Trace Update from the Department of Health and Social Care

Important updated information for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Changes to CJRS from 1 October

From 1 October, HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.

Employers will need to continue to pay furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant themselves. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if an employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in October, employers are entitled to claim 60% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work up to £937.50 (50% of the £1,875 cap). Employers will also continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions from their own funds. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Claimed too much? Report it online

Employers can let us know if they’ve claimed too much Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant as part of their next online claim without needing to call us, and avoid a penalty for not repaying.

If an employer has claimed too much and does not plan to submit further claims, they can now let us know - and find out how to make a repayment - through our new online voluntary disclosure service. The system will prompt them to add details if they have received too much. More information is available on GOV.UK.


Eat Out to Help Out Scheme – claim by 30 September

Businesses who registered for Eat Out to Help Out have until the end of September to claim for the days they operated the scheme. Claiming is quick and easy, and money will be paid out within five working days. 


Self Employed Income Support Scheme – new parents may now be eligible

A reminder that, if someone’s responsibilities as a new parent meant they did not submit a tax return for 2018/2019, or their trading profits in 2018/19 were less than their other income (and they were therefore ineligible for SEISS), they may now be able to claim.

Eligibility includes:

  • caring for a child within 12 months of birth, or adoption placement  
  • pregnancy or childbirth, within 26 weeks of the date of giving birth  
  • a stillbirth after more than 24 weeks of pregnancy

For new parents, their 2017-18 or both 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment returns can now be used to asses eligibility and grant calculation. If these changes mean someone could now be eligible, they need to confirm to HMRC that being a new parent affected their trading profits or total income in the tax year 2018 to 2019. These changes mean new parents may now be able to claim for the first SEISS grant, the second SEISS grant, or both (depending on when their businesses may have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic) when applications open for the second grant.

More information is available on GOV.UK.  


Helping businesses get ready for changes to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021

We’re contacting businesses in Great Britain who move goods between Great Britain and the EU, to explain what they need to do to be able to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021.

Businesses who import and export between Great Britain and the EU need to prepare now for new processes for moving goods to and from the EU from January, including:

  • making sure they have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  • deciding how they will make customs declarations and contacting a customs intermediary to help move their goods
  • checking if their imported goods are eligible for staged import controls

These actions are vital for businesses to be able to keep trading with the EU – they will not change regardless of the outcome of the government's negotiations with the EU.

The letter we’ve sent to over 200,000 VAT registered businesses is published on GOV.UK.

We have also launched a short video explaining how a customs intermediary can help businesses manage customs processes. Businesses that move goods in and out of the UK and are new to the customs processes may find this video helpful.

All our recent videos about importing and exporting can be viewed here.


Landmark Kickstart Scheme Opens to All Employers

The Kickstart Scheme, a ground-breaking initiative to support 16-24 year olds into work is now available for employers to apply.

Any size and type of organisation that employs people can offer young people, claiming Universal Credit, a six-month work placement that will be paid for by government. The Kickstart Scheme will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions and will initially be open until December 2021, with the option of being extended.

Kickstart Scheme jobs must be new and of good quality. Government will pay 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

Employers will be able to top up this wage, while the Government will also pay employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart Scheme placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs. 


Venues required to enforce rule of 6, NHS QR code posters and contact logs

Hospitality venues in England are from today (18 September) legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000.

Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law ahead of the NHS COVID-19 app being rolled out nationally next week.

A majority of businesses and organisations have been playing their part in tackling the virus by putting in place COVID-secure measures in their venues, but new legal requirements will make it compulsory for them to do so or risk facing a fine:

  • from today, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England will now need to take bookings of no more than 6 people, ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than 6 people on their premises, and make sure there is sufficient space between tables
  • it will be also mandatory for a wider range of businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues to collect customer, visitor and staff contact detail logs from today, Friday 18 September. This is vital for the NHS Test and Trace service in England to contact the necessary people if coronavirus outbreaks are identified in venue.
  • from Thursday 24 September, these businesses will also need to display the official NHS QR code posters to make it easier for people to check-in at different premises once the app is rolled out nationally. If individuals choose to check-in using the QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route

The regulations will be enforced by Local Authorities, who will have the power to issue fines of up to £1,000 for venues that are failing to comply, or the police as a last resort. Fines will rise to up to £4,000 for repeat offenders

The government will be supporting businesses and venues to display the QR codes, which can be downloaded via a website to display as posters in premises.


Test and Trace Update from the Department of Health and Social Care

There is now very high demand for coronavirus tests and it is vital we test people with symptoms to help stop the spread of the virus.

If you have covid symptoms, you must get a test.

If you don’t have symptoms, don’t get a test.

We all need to play our part to protect the NHS Test and Trace service for those who really need it.

A recent survey at testing sites found a quarter of people turning up did not have symptoms. If you don’t have coronavirus symptoms, and have not been advised to take a test by a doctor or a public health professional or by your local council, you should not be booking a test. Healthcare professionals will be checking those for symptoms at testing sites.

If you have any coronavirus symptoms you must isolate immediately for 10 days (don’t wait for a test or a test result before doing so)

If you are identified as a contact of a positive case you must isolate for the full 14 days (even if for some reason you got a negative test during that period)

You should NOT get tested:

If you have returned from abroad or are about to travel, you are returning to the workplace, you have been in contact with a confirmed case or if another member of your household has symptoms. You may be advised to isolate if you have been in contact with a confirmed but you should only get a test if you have symptoms.

By following these simple rules, we can ensure people who need a test can get one.

When to get a test or not:

  • Only get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested a doctor or a public health professional or by your local council. The main symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
  • Do not use this service to get a test in order to travel to another country. We do not provide certificates for travel purposes. You can pay for a private test.
  • If your employer, school, or travel company has asked for evidence of a negative coronavirus test result, we are unable to provide this service. You should only get tested if you have symptoms.
  • If someone in your household starts to have symptoms, then they must get tested and the rest of your household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results. If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test – only people with symptoms should get tested. Most people who are tested in person get their results the next day. Full guidance on self-isolation is available on GOV.UK.
  • If you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus you should not get tested unless you have coronavirus symptoms. A negative test result does not change the period of time that you will be required to self-isolate.
  • If you have been abroad and are quarantining, you should not get tested unless you have coronavirus symptoms. A negative test result does not change the period of time that you will be required to quarantine.
  • Do not stockpile tests. If you develop symptoms in future you will be able to book a test. There is no need to order a test in case of future use.
  • If you have symptoms and need to book a test, you can do this online or by ringing 119. Do not call 111 which is an urgent care service and cannot help with tests. 

For organisations and employers:

  • Schools: please follow the official guidance on testing. It is very important that this guidance is followed. Schools should not advise pupils or teachers to take a test unless they exhibit one or more of the listed symptoms. If there is a confirmed case then schools should not advise entire classes or year groups to get tested. Only those with symptoms or those advised by their clinician or Local Authority should get a test. Schools must not require students without symptoms to provide evidence of a negative test before letting them back to school.
  • Employers: you should not be asking members of staff to get tested before they come into the workplace. You can also help by communicating the guidance around testing to your staff. 

Travel companies: you should not be directing clients to NHS Test and Trace to get a test for anything related to overseas travel.

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How Mindfulness can help support Accountants to find calm in a frantic, uncertain world

Posted By Hazel Todd, 11 September 2020

Mindfulness and Accountancy may not be two words that you naturally think of together, but as part of professional and personal development in a world where work life balance is typically out of whack, especially at year end, perhaps they should be.

As an accountant, does any of this sound familiar, especially as the year end pressure pot starts to heat up?
  • There’s never enough time in the day?
  • Everyone wants something from you right now.
  • Your mind is wandering to thoughts, to do’s and worries when in meetings?
  • You rarely have time for lunch, if you do, it’s at your desk and you have no idea how it actually tasted?
  • You feel like you have to be attached to your phone/email for fear of missing something and/or just to keep up?

A Harvard study showed that 47% of the time, the average person is not paying full attention to what we are doing: we are on autopilot, multi-tasking, distracted with a wandering /frantic mind, impacting our overall wellbeing and productivity and contributing to stress.

In Finance environments, this is amplified even more at month end and year end. Living and working in environments where we are constantly busy, responding reactively to the urgent rather than the important, with no space for our own wellbeing, creativity or innovative problem solving is counterproductive.

If that’s not enough, add to this the current pandemic environment. While we may be out of full lockdown, we are by no means ‘normal’ and who knows what the ‘new normal’ will look like. The constant need to ‘stay safe’ and need for social distancing has us all on edge and the effect of all of this has an additional impact on our mental wellbeing.


So, what is Mindfulness and how can it help?

Mindfulness is a form of brain training and is all about learning to pay attention to our experience right here, right now, rather than dwelling on the past or catastrophising about the future.

It helps us to get off autopilot and trains our brain to focus. We often think that multi-tasking is a skill and essential when juggling clients and deadlines, but studies show that multitasking is not helpful, and it actually takes longer to recognise and do new things when we back and forth. We may believe we are juggling and getting things done but this is using more of our time rather than less.

Mindfulness, however, is not a magic wand. It can’t make life’s issues go away, but with practice, Mindfulness helps us to be able stand back , practicing acceptance of what is, and so respond from a calmer standpoint, making choices about how to move forward rather than reacting, always busy and stressed.

If this still sounds a little woo woo from the logical mind of the accountant, be reassured that Mindfulness has a strong evidence base including over 100 studies in the workplace, demonstrating that Mindfulness can reshape the neural pathways of our brain and have numerous benefits for our wellbeing, creativity and effectiveness at work and at home. It helps give us a sense of perspective, enabling choices and helps to make sure we appreciate what’s important.

Mindfulness is an experiential activity and so unfortunately you can’t just read about it to get the many benefits… you have to practice. So, to kick off, here’s a simple practice using your numerical skills to simply count the breath. Focusing the attention on our breath will help support bringing us to the present moment and slow down the frantic mind, reducing adrenaline levels.


The Practice

So, simply stop what you are doing and focus on your breath coming in and going out of the body.

Slowly count 1 on the inhale and 2 on the exhale up to a count of 10 and returning to 1.

When you notice your mind has wandered (as it will), just notice this and come back to 1.

You can do this practice anywhere and no-one need know and just press pause and find a moment of calm.

Evidence suggests that over a course of 6-8 weeks, changes in the neural pathways can start to form and benefits be felt so if you’d like to find out more contact me on or visit my website or take a look at my on-line courses , a standalone introduction and a 6 week course designed to work through at your own pace with practical exercises and meditations, building your mindfulness muscles week by week.


Mindfulness Webinar

Smart Vault will be holding a webinar with Hazel Todd on Tuesday 3rd November 2020 at 10:00am

To register your place on this webinar, you can follow this link below.

About Hazel Todd

Hazel works with organisations to enhance long term employee wellbeing, effectiveness and performance. Teams and individuals learn to develop awareness, insight and practice tools and techniques. The results are improved focus, creativity, wellbeing and personal growth.

As a Chartered Accountant, Hazel has over 25 years of experience successfully leading large teams of people through change. She worked at a senior level with Lloyds Pharmacy, Experian and PwC. Hazel now has her own practice as a qualified as a Mindfulness Coach and Consultant, specialising in supporting Professionals to develop self- awareness, new perspectives, gaining clarity, improving focus, confidence and creating personal growth and development resulting in improved overall wellbeing and effectiveness.

Hazel has a Diploma in Transformative Coaching, a Certificate in Mindful Coaching and is a certified Mindfulness at Work trainer. She was nominated for a Successful Women in Business Award in 2018.

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What’s going on with the big boys?

Posted By Tony Margaritelli, 04 September 2020

Last week I published an article in our portal by Graham Hambly the editor of PQ magazine wherein he reported that the FRC had reviewed the work of the seven largest audit firms and the result was 33% of their audits didn’t meet expected standards.

Take a moment ant let that sink in.

One third of the work of these firms was not up to standard, I’ll repeat that in case it hasn’t sunk in, one third. What do you expect would happen if following your annual review your employer said one third of your work wasn’t up to standard? You know full well what would happen.

But what impact if anything at all does it have on us small practices? Well it’s fair to say that as we beaver away suffering at the hands of unreceptive clients, maybe against fee pressure and most definitely at the hands of an indifferent revenue service that is targeting our clients on the vague assumption that we acquiesce to whatever they want or that our systems aren’t robust enough to spot money laundering irregularities let alone tax code breeches we rile against such accusations.

We stand out ground and wonder why are they questioning me? Well when the FRC are saying as Graham points out “Auditors are still not challenging, or standing up to management” is it no wonder the HMRC feel we are definitely doing the same? 

What about our clients? What do they make of all this well many think nothing at all yet the public outpourings and reports get picked up by the public and of course by our clients. They may not understand the complexities of an Audit but they understand 33% failing and not standing up to management so when they put forward transactions that we are not al all happy about it’s in the back of their mind isn’t it.

To be an Auditor is basically to reach the pinnacle of our profession and that brings a huge weight of expectation and a 33% fail rate is not what we expect nor what we should tolerate for our colleagues no matter how hard their job because they are making our job that bit harder.

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COVID-19 Employer support – live webinars

Posted By HMRC, 03 September 2020

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 1 September mean that employers will need to fund 10% of furloughed employees’ usual wages for the hours they do not work and continue to pay their National Insurance and pension contributions.

Make sure you have the latest information by joining the live webinar:

Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing

We’ll provide an overview of the scheme, including flexible furloughing, examples of how to work out the amount you can claim and the changes for September and October.

We’ll also share information on the Job Retention Bonus, including how to check if you’re eligible.

Choose a date and time

If you haven’t been able to join our popular webinar about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, more dates have now been added. Get the latest information on:

  • who can claim
  • who you can claim for
  • how to make a claim
  • what you may be entitled to, and more.
Choose a date and time

You can ask questions during all our live webinars using the on-screen text box.

Our webinars are constantly updated to provide the latest government guidance on changes as they develop.

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Stakeholder Digest: News and updates from HMRC

Posted By HMRC, 28 August 2020

This Stakeholder Digest provides a round-up of our latest news and updates, which we’d be grateful if you could share with your clients, customers or members.

The government has set up a dedicated support page where businesses can find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Performance update: HMRC’s response to coronavirus
  • HMRC issue briefing: how HMRC will continue to support customers and the economy
  • Plans for the tax system in the longer term
  • Over 64 million meals claimed for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme

Performance update: HMRC’s response to coronavirus

HMRC went through a unique first quarter in the 2020 to 2021 financial year and we have now published our performance data for this period, which covers April to June 2020.

HMRC has been at the forefront of the government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the extraordinary challenges being faced by millions of individuals and businesses. The operational priority has been to deliver the government support that aims to protect people’s livelihoods and help businesses get through this difficult time financially.

HMRC issue briefing: how HMRC will continue to support customers and the economy

HMRC has today published a briefing document detailing how the department will work with customers and stakeholders over the coming months, while coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact the country.

The document contains information about the support schemes and policy changes that HMRC has implemented and the department’s principles for the next steps around tax collection, benefits payments, compliance checks and debt activity.

The briefing has been published on GOV.UK.

Plans for the tax system in the longer term 

As the department carefully refocuses its activity back onto its more routine function of collecting tax, we will continue to support the individuals and businesses of the UK, while protecting the tax system and bringing in the money to fund the country’s vital public services, such as the NHS.

The government recently published its 10-year vision paper for tax administration. This sets out plans for changes to how tax is charged, paid and collected to be more in tune with how the world now works and will in the future to make it easier for individuals and businesses to keep on top of their responsibilities without adding undue extra burdens.

Jesse Norman MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, recently spoke at the annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW) on HMRC’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), and his future vision for the tax system.

Over 64 million meals claimed for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme 

With only one day left on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, latest statistics show over 84,000 individual premises registered, which together submitted 87,000 claims for the first three weeks of the scheme.

This amounts to 64 million meals, for a total of £336 million.

More information about the latest statistics can be found in the press release on GOV.UK.

We have also published a press release about some of the 'wild and wonderful' places taking part in Eat Out to Help Out.

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Coconut & ICPA Webinar - 23rd Sept - 12pm

Posted By Tony Margaritelli, 27 August 2020

'The shift to a Digital Economy'

Join Sam O’Connor, Coconut's CEO, and Tony Margaritelli, ICPA Chairman, for a lively lunchtime webinar about the shift to digital transformation that Covid-19 is highlighting and some may say creating around the UK.

They will discuss how new technology and how the shift to digitisation can benefit accountants and help their clients. They'll also cover how Coconut is working on some amazing, transformative tools requested by Accountants and Coconut clients themselves that will help.

Click Here To Book Your Space Now

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Webinar available about managing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing risks

Posted By HMRC, 25 August 2020

Making and maintaining a good quality risk assessment is something that we know some of our businesses struggle with, so we recently ran a live webinar covering just this subject. We also took the opportunity to cover some of the risks which have arisen for businesses as a result of the COVID-19. These aren’t necessarily new risks, but some of the risks may be new for some businesses. 
As with all our webinars, we recorded the session and it’s now available via our help and support pages on GOV.UK.
This is vital information for businesses, so please promote it to your members.

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Clear Books and Metro Bank launch  accounting software partnership 

Posted By ClearBooks, 21 August 2020

Today, Clear Books and Metro Bank are launching a new partnership, offering easy  accounting software with free bank feeds and exclusive discounts to Metro Bank small  business customers. The integration provides Metro Bank’s customers with access to  Clear Books’ easy to understand financial management tools via online and mobile  banking.  
Here’s how it works; 

1. Metro Bank customers can use the Metro Bank app to register for a free Clear Books accounting trial.
2. They have 30 days of free access to manage their Metro Bank transactions in Clear Books, raise professional invoices and view financial reports.
3. At the end of the trial period, users can subscribe for the level of access that suits them, securing a 25% discount for life.

This will be available for mobile banking customers using iOS immediately, with Android  functionality to follow in the coming weeks. 

Offering deeper integration and cheaper pricing, the new partnership makes Clear  Books a great choice for Metro Bank small business customers who are looking to take  control of their accounting. 

Clear Books CEO, Ruth Fouracre said: “We love working with banks and fintechs to  integrate accounting software and online banking platforms. The links make it easier for  small businesses to manage their finances.” 

“We worked alongside Metro Bank to carefully design a customer experience that  provided small businesses with access to Clear Books accounting tools through Metro  Bank’s online banking platforms. This partnership provides users of both Clear Books  and Metro Bank with great tools, a more aligned experience between the two products,  and amazing discounts.” 

David Thomasson, Chief Commercial Officer at Metro Bank, adds: “We’re thrilled to  partner with Clear Books to provide our business customers with essential money  management tools, easily accessible from our mobile app. These will empower SMEs to  free up time in a way that wasn’t possible before, to spend running and growing their  businesses.” 

About Metro Bank 

Metro Bank serves more than two million customer accounts and is celebrated for its  exceptional customer experience. It is the highest rated high street bank for overall  service quality, in store service, and online and mobile banking services for personal  customers in the Competition and Market Authority’s Service Quality Survey in August  2020; the bank also ranked in the top two for overall service, store service and digital  services for business customers. It was awarded ‘Best All Round Personal Finance  Provider’ at the Moneynet Personal Finance Awards 2019. 

The community bank offers retail, business, commercial and private banking services,  and prides itself on giving customers the choice to bank however, whenever and  wherever they choose, and supporting the customers and communities it serves.  Whether that’s through its network of 77 stores open seven days a week, early until late,  362 days a year; on the phone through its UK-based 24/7 contact centres; or online  through its internet banking or award-winning mobile app: the bank offers customers  real choice. 

Metro Bank PLC. Registered in England and Wales. Company number: 6419578.  Registered office: One Southampton Row, London, WC1B 5HA. ‘Metrobank’ is the  registered trademark of Metro Bank PLC. 

It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial  Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Most relevant deposits are  protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. For further information  about the Scheme refer to the FSCS website 

All Metro Bank products are subject to status and approval. 

Metro Bank PLC is an independent UK bank – it is not affiliated with any other bank or  organisation (including the METRO newspaper or its publishers) anywhere in the world.  Please refer to Metro Bank using the full name.  

About Clear Books 

Founded in 2008, Clear Books provides accounting and payroll software that is used by  thousands of small businesses in the UK. Our HMRC recognised software provides small  businesses, sole traders, contractors and freelancers with easy-to-use accounting  software. Clear Books was registered with the FCA as an Open Banking Account  Information Services Provider in 2019, and is ISO27001 Security Certified. We’re proud  to be a partner of Metro Bank. 

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A brave new world or a brave new marketing department?

Posted By Tony Margaritelli, 14 August 2020

HMRC have issued their new all singing all dancing 10 year plan and I had to smile as I read it because whilst it never used the term “World Beating” it settled for being “one of the best tax authorities in world” and just stopped short of saying “never knowingly undersold”.

I urge you to have a read because as an exercise in marketing it’s very good and reads very well like a good prospectus full of how well we have done but with still room for improvement to temp us with.

Some terms made we smile how about this “A modern and digital approach will also help to maintain trust in the tax system” I don’t doubt for a moment that a digital approach is the future and I don’t and won’t argue against it’s increase but I take umbrage in the use of “maintain trust” as let’s be honest trust in the tax system has been eroded for some time now especially as regards towards Accountants and it is most definitely at a level that needs “Maintaining” rather it needs  “Improving”.

Whilst congratulating themselves on being “widely praised for the speed and effectiveness of delivery of the CJRS and the SEISS” no mention of course of the decision to specifically exclude accountants for the SEISS thus turning us into a quasi citizens advice bureaux with the result being that we became embroiled in helping and giving information when it would have taken less time to have actually made the claim on behalf of our clients. All this of course was the exact opposite of the CJRS where we were given access and have helped millions of claimants get their dues whilst at the same time being warned of the dire consequences of being party to any fraudulent claims.

The claim that “For the majority of businesses, tax will be made more straightforward and harder to get wrong.” Surly is stating the raging bloody obvious and equally surly shouldn’t need saying but here it is again but how easy is it to get wrong? Well just look at all the if, but’s and ands in a list of tax rates and allowances.  

As a piece of marketing rhetoric it reads very well, it says all the right things some could say it ticks all the right boxes and somewhere in the bowels of HMRC GCHQ a group of marketeers are slapping themselves on the back knowing they have provided their lords and masters with the sort of document that pleases everybody of importance without actually understanding what is the reality.

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Second Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Posted By HMRC, 14 August 2020

Our second Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant is opening for eligible people to claim. I would like to invite your support in making sure that your eligible clients who wish to claim, know how to do so and have the information they need.

This week we’re writing to self-employed people who may be eligible. The scheme will open for claims on 17 August and customers have been given a date to make a claim. They can claim any time between their allocated date and the 19 October 2020.

The eligibility criteria for the second grant is exactly the same as the first grant – so self-employed people who were eligible for the first SEISS grant will be eligible for the second grant, so long as their business has been adversely affected since 14 July 2020.  This typically means that their business has experienced lower income and / or higher costs because of coronavirus (COVID-19) since 14 July. There is no minimum threshold over which a business’s income, costs or activity need to have changed by, but your clients will be asked to keep appropriate records as evidence of how their business has been adversely affected.

The second taxable grant is worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, a reduction from the 80% available under the first grant. This will be paid out in a single instalment and will be based on three months’ worth of trading profits and capped at a maximum of £6,570. 


Eligible Parents

Self-employed parents whose income may have been affected if they took time out to have children will also now be able to claim if they meet the eligibility criteria. There’s more information for new parents, including an online form on GOV.UK

Your role

I’d like to remind you that you cannot make a claim for a client. This is because it will trigger an alert and that leads to delays in payment reaching people who need the money to support their business.  However, you can play a critical role in helping your client understand their eligibility and level of entitlement.

If your clients can apply online, this is the quickest and easiest way to claim whilst helping HMRC prioritise those that most need extra help. It takes most people less than 5 mins to claim online using their Government Gateway account and over 90% of our customers told us they are satisfied with the service. There are also new webinars and a short video on HMRC’s YouTube channel that you or your clients can use to ensure you know how the process works.

Once people have completed a claim, they will receive payment within 6 working days.

Our dedicated helpline for agents is available to handle complex eligibility enquiries, but we’d ask at this busy time that you only call us if you cannot find what you need on GOV.UK.

May I take this opportunity to thank you in advance, you play a vital role in supporting your clients with SEISS, and supporting their needs at this difficult time. Thank you for your continued support.

Joanna Rowland

Director General

HMRC Covid-19 Response Unit 

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