News and updates from HMRC
HMRC’s Support in COVID-19 Times
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. We’d be grateful if you could share these messages with your clients, customers or members.
Navigating Financial Support During Coronavirus
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 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.
- 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 groundbreaking initiative to support 16-24-year-olds in finding 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 the 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. The 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 help 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.
In this era of rapid change and unprecedented challenges, staying informed and compliant is more critical than ever for businesses and individuals alike. The ICPA provides its members with invaluable resources, expert guidance, and a supportive community to navigate these complexities. By joining the ICPA, you gain access to a wealth of knowledge and tools that can help you effectively manage the evolving landscape of tax, business regulations, and financial support mechanisms. Take this opportunity to empower your business and join a network of accounting professionals dedicated to excellence in the field of accountancy.
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