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Coronavirus

Salon Magazine | Salonfrog give their advice

Salonfrog were asked by The Salon Magazine for our advice to salon owners now we’re heading out of the pandemic.

It’s a really good read (ok, we would say that!) and we advise all salon owners to have a look.

It starts on page 54:

https://thesalonmagazine.co.uk/may-2021-issue/

 

 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS): fifth grant details

HMRC has published a policy paper giving details of the fifth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant which will be available from late July 2021.

The fifth SEISS grant, available to self-employed individuals and members of a partnership, was announced at Budget 2021.

Key conditions

The fifth grant has similar qualifying conditions to the fourth SEISS grant. To be eligible:

  • 2019-20 trading profits must be £50,000 or less and at least equal to non-trading income.
  • Where taxpayers are not eligible based on 2019-20, HMRC will look at 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • Taxpayers must have traded in both 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • The 2019-20 tax return must have been submitted on or before 2 March 2021.
  • Taxpayers must:
    • Be currently trading, but impacted by reduced demand due to Coronavirus, or
    • Have been trading but temporarily unable to do so due to Coronavirus.
    • It will be necessary for grant claimants to declare that they:
    • Intend to continue to trade, and
    • Reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in their trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to Coronavirus from May 2021 to September 2021.
    • HMRC expects taxpayers to make an honest assessment about whether they reasonably believe their business will have a significant reduction in profits.
    • Evidence must be kept to demonstrate how the business has been impacted by Coronavirus resulting in less business activity than otherwise expected.

What is different?

The amount of the grant is determined based on how much turnover has decreased in the year April 2020 to April 2021, and where turnover has decreased by:

30% or more: The full grant of 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, will be paid.
Less than 30%: A reduced grant of 30% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, will be paid.

Bounce Back Loan | repayments delayed by another six months!

Rishi Sunak has expanded the Bounce Back Loan Scheme’s (BBLS) Pay As You Grow repayment plan.

Businesses can delay repayments for a further six months and extend their loan term:

Delay repayments

Originally you had to start repaying your loan 12 months after taking it out. You can now extend this another 6 months – i.e. start repaying it after 18 months rather than 12.

Extend loan term

Also, you can extend the loan repayment period from its original 6 years, to 10 years.

All options summary

In summary, all businesses will be offered the following options by their lender:

  • Extend the length of the loan from six years to ten
  • Make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan
  • Pause repayments entirely for up to six months

Talk to the Bank you took your bounce back loan out from to organise any of these changes.

Deferred your VAT from June 2020? Apply now for payment plan!

As we reported last year (here), if you took advantage of HMRC’s scheme to defer your VAT payments between 20 March and 30 June 2020 (as most did), you are required to pay the VAT debt in full by 31 March 2021.

Pay over 11 months

However, you can now pay the amount owed over 11 months by applying via an online portal which will be open from 23 February 2021, but tax agents (like Salonfrog) cannot do this on behalf (although you will be charged interest at 2.6% from 1 April 2021).

HMRC is asking businesses to pay their VAT debts in full by 31 March 2021 if they can. Where the cash is not available the business must apply online to spread the payment of the debt over up to 11 instalments ending in January 2022.

If you don’t pay the full amount by 31 March 21 or join this scheme to pay over 11 months, HMRC will impose penalties for late payment, and possibly initiate debt collection action against you.

Online portal

The company director or business owner must access this portal themselves, tax agents nor their accountants can’t use it to arrange a VAT payment plan on behalf of clients.

This is because as part of the payment plan the business must set up a direct debit to make regular payments from their business bank account. Tax agents don’t have the authority to make payments out of clients’ bank accounts, so can’t enter the agreement on behalf of clients.

Conditions

Before a business can use this new VAT deferral scheme it needs to get all its VAT ducks in a row as follows:

  • submit all its outstanding VAT returns for the last four years
  • correct any errors on past VAT returns
  • know how much VAT was deferred
  • know how much of that deferred VAT debt is still outstanding
  • have enough cash ready to pay the first instalment of the VAT due immediately.

The good news is HMRC will allow businesses to arrange a payment plan for the deferred VAT even if they have already entered a time to pay arrangement for other taxes.

The business owner/ director must have the authority to set up a direct debit to pay the remainder of the debt by monthly payments. Where a direct debit can’t be set up, perhaps because there is no UK bank account, or the account has two signatories, the business owner must call HMRC on 0800 024 1222.

If the business doesn’t have the cash to even pay the first instalment of VAT, the owner should contact the HMRC payment support service on 0300 200 3835.

Join sooner rather than later

HMRC wants all of the deferred VAT paid by 31 January 2022, so the later the business signs up to this scheme to spread the payments, the fewer instalments will be available to it.

For example, if the business joins the scheme by 19 March it can spread the payments over 11 instalments starting in March 2021, but if it joins the scheme in June 2021 it can only spread the debt over eight instalments.

If the business owner can’t use the online portal, they should call HMRC on 0800 024 1222 to arrange a payment plan, and this telephone service will be open until 30 June 2021.

3rd SEISS grant | more details & submit by 29 January!

Claims for the third SEISS grant must be submitted by 29 January.

Here’s further guidance on making the claim and what to add to your tax return.

Deadline

The window to apply for the 3rd SEISS grant closes on 29 January and it is not usually possible to make a late claim under the scheme.

Conditions

The additional conditions for the 3rd grant have caused some confusion:

i. When deciding whether a taxpayer meets the “significant reduction in trading profits” test for the 3rd SEISS grant, the taxpayer does not need to take into account the first and second SEISS grants, nor any other COVID-19 government support payments received.

ii. If the 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 eligibility period for the 3rd grant straddles two basis periods, it is sufficient to be able to show a significant reduction in trading profits for one of the basis periods. The taxpayer does not need to show a significant reduction in both basis periods to be eligible for the third grant.

iii. When assessing whether there has been a significant reduction in trading profits, the comparison period is not specified in HMRC’s guidance. The taxpayer can use the previous year or an average of say the last three years trading profits, but a reduction against an earlier forecast for the relevant basis period would also be valid.

iv. Where a taxpayer has more than one trade it is sufficient to show that one of the trades has suffered reduced activity, capacity, or demand, or has been temporarily unable to operate since 1 November 2020, and that the taxpayer reasonably believes that this will cause a significant reduction in the profits compared with what they would otherwise have expected for that trade. The taxpayer does not have to consider the two trades together.

v. In some cases, the reduction in activity, capacity, or demand may be only partly due to COVID-19 restrictions. For example, a taxpayer might decide to take on a part-time job or college course alongside their reduced self-employment. So long as at least some of the reduced activity, capacity or demand is due to COVID-19 restrictions the taxpayer would be eligible for the third grant.

Reporting SEISS grants on tax returns
SEISS grants are all taxable in the 2020/21 tax year, whatever date the taxpayer prepares their accounts to. No element of the SEISS grants should be reported in the 2019/20 self assessment tax returns that are due to be filed by 31 January 2021.

Fourth grant
The government has announced that there will be a fourth grant, covering the period February to April 2021. The conditions for the fourth grant, and the amount, have not yet been released . Pending a further announcement it would be advisable to ensure that 2019/20 tax returns are filed by the 31 January deadline.

It is not yet know whether information from 2019/20 tax returns will be taken into account for the fourth grant, but suggests it would be wise to ensure that they are filed on time in case that does happen.

Employee of sick for Covid | do you pay them SSP?

Just a reminder of what to do when an employee is off with Covid-19 related issues. It’s not as simple as it was, and here are the most likely options:
1. Employee is self-isolating
They have to have been told to self-isolate either by Government guidance, a doctor, or after calling’s 111.
You pay them SSP from the first qualifying day they are off work, but only if they are off for at least 4 days in a row.
If they are off for less time, they receive no SSP.

2. Employee is shielding
When an employee has a letter from the NHS or a doctor telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks (called ‘shielding’) you pay them SSP from the first qualifying day they are off work, as long as they are off at least 4 days in a row.

3. Employee has been contacted by the NHS through test and trace
When an employee has been told that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you pay them SSP from the first qualifying day they are off work, as long as they are off at least 4 days in a row.
Continue paying them until
• 14 days from the date of the most recent contact with the person who tested positive or,
• sooner if specified in the notification
4. Someone in the employee’s support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) has coronavirus symptoms
When someone in an employee’s support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) has coronavirus symptoms, you pay them SSP from the first qualifying day they are off work, as long as they are off at least 4 days in a row.
How to claim SSP
Unlike non-Covid-19 SSP, you can claim any amounts you have paid out.
You cannot claim until after you have paid them.

More Grants – check & apply | Dec 2020

Grants are available through your local authority if you’ve been forced to close.
Each local authority is different, so you can check & apply here:
 
England: 
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-business-is-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-grant-due-to-national-restrictions-for-closed-businesses
 
Scotland:
https://www.gov.scot/news/grants-for-businesses/
 
 
NB. There may also be grants available if you have not been closed down but your business has been affected. 
You will find out more information on the links above.

Self-employed covid grant | updated details

Full details of the third SEISS grant to support self-employed people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) have just been published on GOV‌‌.UK.

The rules on who is eligible to claim have changed.

However, you will still need to have submitted a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019 showing self-employment income in order to claim (unless one of the existing exceptions applies).

The third grant, which offers 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single taxable instalment capped at £7,500, will be available covering the period from 1 November 2020 to 29‌ ‌January 2021. Self-employed people who are eligible and in need of support will be able to claim the third grant at any time from 30‌ ‌November 2020 to 29‌ ‌January 2021.

Unfortunately we cannot do this for our Clients

Like SEISS 1 and 2, we cannot claim this grant on behalf of our clients

Check you are eligible

You should check since this 3rd grant is different to the previous SEISS grants.

To make a claim for the third grant, you must meet a number of conditions, and make an honest assessment about whether you reasonably believe your trading profits will be significantly reduced due to coronavirus.

As before, to make a claim for the third grant, you must be:

  • a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership (you cannot claim the grant if you trade through a limited company)
  • have traded in both the tax years 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020
  • be currently trading but are impacted by reduced activity, capacity or demand, or have been previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
  • you intend to continue to trade, and that you reasonably believe that the impact on your business will cause a significant reduction in your trading profits

i.e. Only claim if the reduction in profits is caused by reduced business activity, capacity or demand, or inability to trade due to coronavirus – reduction in profits due to increased costs (such as having to buy masks) does not count for this purpose.

Your business must have been impacted on or after 1 November 2020. You must keep evidence to show the impact and reduction in your business activity across the qualifying period.

More information

For more information and examples to help you check eligibility to claim, go to GOV‌‌.UK and search for ‘Self Employment Income Support Scheme’.

HMRC is contacting all self-employed people in the UK that may be eligible to let them know about the third grant.

There will also be a fourth grant (covering the three-month period from Feb‌‌ruary 2021 to April 20‌‌21). We’ll tell you more about that nearer the time, including how much it will be and the rules for claiming.

Delayed your June 20 VAT? | new HMRC repayment scheme

If you (like most salons) deferred your VAT payment between 20 March and 30 June 2020 under the coronavirus VAT scheme, you now have a new choice on how to repay it. Previously it was simply due by the end of March 2021, but now you have a second option:

  • Pay now or,
  • Opt in to the new VAT deferral payment scheme

If you want to opt in to the new payment scheme

This new scheme has just been announced by HMRC.

So instead of paying the full amount you owe by the end of March 2021, you can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, interest free.

All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022.

To do this however, you must be up to date with your other VAT returns (having submitted and paid all other ones due).

You cannot opt in just yet – the online ‘opt in’ process will not be available until early 2021 but that’s not too far away now.

In the meantime, if you are repaying this VAT, consider using this scheme instead.

VERY IMPORTANT:

You have to opt in yourself as HMRC have said that HMRC agents (which Salonfrog is) cannot do this for you. No idea why this is.

However, when the opt in is available, we’ll see what you have to do and provide you detailed instructions.

 

 

 

Furlough Scheme | all change from 1 November

Here’s the key points about the extended furlough scheme (CJRS):

Eligibility
From 1 November, you can add new employees who were not eligible under the scheme before November.

The earlier versions of the CJRS (which ended on 31st October) required an employee to have been employed and an RTI submission to have been made on or before 19 March 2020.

You can now include staff employed at 30 October 2020 provided an RTI submission has been made between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020 notifying at least one payment of earnings for that employee.

In other words, staff hired in late spring and summer are now eligible for furlough grants.

Employment agreements
Employers should remember to change the terms of employment contracts (with each staff’s agreement) before furlough starts. This is very important as HMRC has threatened to start checking this; and in fact HMRC says that only contracts signed and dated up until 13 November 2020 can be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim.

What can employers claim for periods starting from 1 November 2020?

Scenario 1: Employee on fixed pay

The claim is based on 80% of the usual salary/wages in a reference period.

The reference period is the last pay period ending on or before 19 March 2020 for employees who:

  • were on the payroll on 19 March 2020 (ie, there had been a payment of earnings in the tax year 6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020, reported on an RTI submission made on or before 19 March 2020), or
  • for whom you have made a valid CJRS claim in a period ending on or before 31 October 2020.
  • For all other employees, the reference period is the last pay period ending before 31 October 2020.

Scenario 2: Employee on variable pay
For an employee on variable pay, or variable hours, their ‘usual’ hours should be used.

Again, the claim is based on 80% of the usual salary/wages in a reference period.

For an employee:

  • on the payroll on 19 March 2020 (ie, there had been a payment of earnings in the tax year 6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020, reported on an RTI submission made on or before 19 March 2020), or
  • for whom you have made a valid CJRS claim in a period ending any time on or before 31 October 2020,
    the usual wages are the higher of:

    • wages in the corresponding calendar period (if relevant) in the tax year 2019 to 2020, and
    • the average wages payable in the tax year 2019 to 2020.
  • For all other employees, just use average wages payable between 6 April 2020 (or, if later, the date the employment started) and the day before they were furloughed after 31 October 2020.

Pension and NIC

You cannot claim for any pension or NIC paid by you for your employees.

How long will support remain at 80%?
CJRS has been extended to 31 March for all parts of the UK. From 1 November, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. But, the UK Government has said it will review the policy in January for claims for February and March.

Beware publicity
HMRC has said it intends to publish details of employers who use the scheme for claim periods from December 2020 onwards. It will publish the employer name and also, where relevant, the company registration number, including for LLPs.

Employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme. It has not yet been confirmed how employees will be able to obtain this information.

Deadlines
There are now shorter deadlines for submitting monthly claims. Claims for periods starting on/after 1 November must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend, in which case the deadline is the next week-day.

However, a claim once made can be increased provided it is amended within 28 calendar days of the end of the month it relates to (note that if you have over-claimed, this extension doesn’t apply).

Maximum number of employees
When CJRS V2 was introduced from 1 July 2020, the maximum number of employees which could be included in a claim was limited to the maximum number the employer had ever previously claimed for in any single claim made for periods before 30 June 2020.

For claims under CJRS V3 this limit no longer applies. This will be useful to businesses who have taken on additional staff since 1 July, who would otherwise not have been able to furlough all their staff, eg, those currently facing a new compulsory lock down of their entire business.

Some other bits to remember

  • You can save and continue a claim within seven days of starting it.
  • You can delete a claim within 72 hours of submitting it.
  • Claim periods must start and end within the same calendar month.
  • The claim period must usually be for a minimum period of seven days – the exception is for the first and last few days in a calendar month. However, flexible furlough agreements can last for any amount of time.
  • Employees can take holiday while on furlough, but if flexibly furloughed, holiday hours count as furloughed hours rather than working hours.

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