Furlough scheme and SEISS to be tapered off

The Chancellor has announced plans to end the eight-month coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) and self-employed income support scheme (SEISS), with taxpayers’ contributions gradually withdrawn from August

Admitting that the furlough scheme “cannot continue indefinitely”, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined his plans on Friday evening during the Downing Street press briefing to reduce taxpayer contribution towards the furlough scheme, but with the flexibility to bring employees back part-time in July.

And in a surprising twist, the Chancellor also committed to extending the self-employed equivalent scheme for the same period, with applications for the slightly reduced second and final grant opening in August.

Furlough Next Steps

Recognising that businesses have been through an “incredibly difficult time”, the Chancellor started his speech by revealing how the slow introduction of the employers’ CJRS contribution will work.

The furlough scheme will continue in its current guise, paying 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500 with no employer contribution. But from August employers’ will be expected to pay a “modest contribution”.

At first, the Chancellor explained, employers will only have to cover national insurance and employer contributions, which he said accounts for 5% of total employment costs.

The main change comes into force from September when the government furlough contribution drops from 80% to 70%, with the employer having to pick up the 10%. Sunak reasoned that from this point, “employers will have had the opportunity to make any necessary changes to their workplaces and business practices”.

Then in October, the final stage of the furlough scheme, employers will have to pay 20%, with the government’s contribution shrinking to 60%. After this, the government contributions will finish and the scheme will come to an end.

Part-time Furlough

Although employers will have to prepare for the inevitable end of the scheme, the Chancellor has listened to large and small businesses’ request for a more flexible furlough.

As Sunak announced earlier this month, a new element of furlough 2.0 is to enable workers to return part-time whilst still being under the scheme – and this aspect will arrive one month earlier than originally planned, from 1 July.

To illustrate how the scheme will work, Sunak used the example of how a furloughed worker could return for two days and would be paid as normal, while the government would cover the other three days.

However, Sunak added that the introduction of part-time furloughing means the scheme will have to close to new entrants from the end of June, as the flexible aspect is restricted to current furloughed workers. This gives employers only until 10 June to add any new employees to the scheme.

The accompanying government factsheet explains that further guidance on flexible furlough and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June.

Surprise Extension of the SEISS

Freelancers and self-employed workers who had urged the Chancellor to extend the SEISS in line with furlough scheme were handed a lifeline at the end of Sunak’s speech, with news of a final grant.

The self-employed scheme will open for applications in August, but with the grant reduced to 70% of their average monthly trading profits. As with the SEISS scheme, the money will be paid in a single instalment covering three months’ average monthly profits up to £6,570, down from the £7,500 cap of the first grant.

The government has not changed the eligibility criteria for the second grant. As with the first version, individuals will have to confirm that they’ve been adversely affected by Covid-19. However, a self-employed worker does not have to have claimed the first SEISS grant in order to be eligible for this final handout.

The self-employed income support scheme has so far supported 2.3m people with claims worth £6.8bn. The first grant is still open for applications but self-employed workers have until 13 July to apply.

Self-employment grant scheme now open for applications

From today HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are accepting applications from self-employed workers who are eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

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

Millions of self-employed workers in the UK are able to apply for grants of up to £7,500 from 8am today, Everyone eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be able to receive the Government grant by May 25th, or within six days of a completed claim.

The SEISS grant is worth up to 80% of average trading profits for those who cannot work.

It is the biggest direct financial support package for freelancers and the self-employed since lockdown started, and claims for lost work can be dated back to March.

Those able to make a claim have already been contacted by HMRC.  If you have not received notification from HMRC you can check if you are eligible here:

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

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said;
“With payments arriving before the end of this month, the self-employed across the UK will have money in their pockets to help them through these challenging times.” 

Self-employed invited to get ready to make their claims for coronavirus (COVID-19) support

From today  (Monday 4 May), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will begin contacting customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

HMRC is also inviting customers, or their agents, to go online and check their eligibility for SEISS.

In order to receive quick confirmation  from the  eligibility  checker, individuals should:

  • have  their Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)  and their  National Insurance Number to hand
  • make sure  their details are  up-to-date  in their Government Gateway account.

Who is eligible?

Individuals are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020, intend to continue trading, and they:

  • earn at least half of their income through self-employment
  • have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year
  •  traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.

HMRC is using information that customers have provided in their 2018 to 2019 tax return – and returns for 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 where needed – to determine their eligibility and is contacting customers who may be eligible via email, text message or letter.

Updates to Guidance

  • What is meant by a business being adversely affected by coronavirus. This includes being unable to work because the taxpayer is shielding, self-isolating or is on sick leave or has care responsibilities because of coronavirus. It also includes scaling down or temporarily stopping trading because the supply chain has been interrupted or the business has fewer or no customers.
  • Confirmation that trusts are not eligible to claim.
  • Confirmation that taxpayers should not make a claim if other support received has already reached the state aid limits or the claim would cause the limits to be breached.
  • Confirmation that the grant can be claimed by individuals on all categories of work visa.

Claims Service opening shortly

The claims service will open on 13 May and is being delivered ahead of the original timetable. This will help millions of self-employed people, covering a wide range of industries and jobs, whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the coronavirus.

Once the online check is complete, eligible customers will be given a date when they can submit their claim. They will also be encouraged to update their contact details.

Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months profits), paid in a single instalment.

The claims process will be very simple, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May, or within six working days of completing a claim.

New 100% government backed loan scheme for small businesses just announced

27th April

Businesses will be able to apply for bounce back loans for 25% of their turnover up to a maximum of £50,000 with the Government paying the interest for the first 12 months

 

·  businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
·  loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced today (Monday 27 April).

Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days, and comes alongside the £6 billion awarded in business grants, supporting 4 million jobs through the job retention scheme and generous tax deferrals supporting hundreds of thousands of firms.

The government, which has been consulting extensively with business representatives about the design of the new scheme, will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days- providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

Our smallest businesses are the backbone of our economy and play a vital role in their communities. This new rapid loan scheme will help ensure they get the finance they need quickly to help survive this crisis.

This is in addition to business grants, tax deferrals, and the job retention scheme, which are already helping to support hundreds of thousands of small businesses.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

Our small businesses are vital in ensuring our communities thrive and will be crucial in creating jobs and securing economic growth as we recover.
This rapid loan scheme offers additional protection so small companies across the country can get access to the finance they need immediately, as part of the unprecedented package of support we have put in place.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

For more information please contact us

Coronavirus Update on the Job Retention Scheme

16th April

HMRC has updated its guidance for both employers and employees in relation to the Job Retention Scheme. The updates provide further details regarding the payroll date and additional information about eligibility.

  • The most significant change relates to the cut-off date for employee eligibility to the Job Retention Scheme (furlough). This has been moved to 19 March 2020. Previously, you had to have started working somewhere by 28 February 2020 to allow the employer to claim 80% of your wages through the Scheme. Now if you were on the payroll on or before 19 March (this means the employee must have been notified to HMRC on a Real Time Information submission on or before 19 March 2020).
  • More flexibility is being given to employers of those who are shielding (advised to stay at home for 12 weeks and avoid face to face contact with anyone eg people with specific cancers, those who have had an organ transplant). Shielders now don’t have to be at risk of redundancy to be furloughed.
  • When someone is on sick leave, the employer can decide whether to continue with sick leave or furlough them. This means that sick leave and furlough are interchangeable but cannot be taken at the same time – it must be one or the other. If the employer decides on sick leave and SSP, they cannot claim wages via the Scheme. But they may be able to recover the SSP.
  • It has now been confirmed that anyone who transferred under TUPE after 28 February 2020 can be furloughed by the new employer who can claim for their wages via the Scheme.
  • Foreign nationals with any type of visa can be furloughed.
  • We knew that furloughed employees cannot do any work for their employer, but new guidance has clarified that employees cannot work for any business linked or associated with their employer either.
  • More funding for affected businesses in Scotland is being made available. In Scotland, companies could only claim one assistance grant regardless of how many branches they had. In England, each branch of a company (each shop/café, for example, that a company has) can claim a grant. Rules in Scotland will now match England, so that each branch can claim a separate grant.
  • No news yet on the opening of the SSP Rebate Scheme. The Government has already confirmed that employers with fewer than 250 employees (as at 28 February 2020) will be able to claim SSP back to a maximum of 2 weeks for those off sick with the virus or self-isolating, where the absence started on or after 13 March 2020.

Enhanced Tax Protection

We are expecting an increase in HMRC enquiries in relation to following the correct processes and procedures relating to the Job Protection Scheme. Most of our clients have subscribed to our Enhanced Tax Protection, in partnership with Croner Taxwise, which now includes any fees relating to Job retention Scheme enquiries and/or visits. There has never been a better time to sign up to this protection policy which, through a dedicated advice line, also offers unrivalled specialist support for tax, VAT, payroll, employment law, HR, health & safety and commercial legal issues.

For more information please contact us

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