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Coronavirus

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.

Changes to the Winter Plan | more help for Salon Owners

Today we listened to Rishi Sunak expanding support for businesses once the existing furlough scheme ends.

Changes are:

  • Job Support Scheme (JSS) – more support
    Coming into effect from 1 November 2020, the government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1541.75 per month (more than doubling the maximum payment of £697.92 under the previous rules)
  • SEISS Self-employed
    Grant up from 20 per cent to 40 per cent
  • Business Grants
    Cash grants of up to £2,100

All the detail here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plan-for-jobs-chancellor-increases-financial-support-for-businesses-and-workers

How to pay for all this furlough? | Nicholas Macpherson sums it up nicely

A longer read than usual for one of our posts but Nicholas Macpherson, former permanent secretary to three chancellors, hits the nail on the head, just like tax is going to hit us all in the pocket to pay for furlough in the not too distant future…

Nicholas Macpherson:

Taxes are going to have to rise.

As with war, the immediate cost of the coronavirus can be financed by borrowing. But as and when we return to normal times, the government will need to set out a plan which stabilises and then reduces public sector debt as a share of national income.

The problem is public expectations of healthcare are rising. Voters will expect greater spare capacity to guard against future pandemics and they will demand better care homes. Demographic pressures on spending are already on the rise. And Mr Johnson’s government has shown little interest in public expenditure control: it was elected on a platform of ending ‘austerity’.

My guess is that taxes will have to rise by at least £50bn a year. The question is how?

I worked on two major fiscal consolidations when I was at the Treasury: 1992–93 and 2010–12.

The first lesson I learnt is that tax reform and tax increases are difficult to reconcile. Extending VAT to domestic fuel in the early 1990s led to an almighty row and government defeat. Similarly, George Osborne had little difficulty raising an extra £13bn by raising the VAT rate from 17.5% to 20%, but he found it impossible to raise £100m by extending VAT to pasties and holiday caravans. It’s better to leave tax reform to the good times when you can lower the rate while extending the base, as Nigel Lawson demonstrated in the 1980s.

The second lesson is that introducing small new taxes can help, but if they are not to cause upset the government should not push them too far. Airport passenger duty and insurance premium tax have been nice little earners. But the revenue they raised initially was in millions not billions. Everybody is in favour of a carbon tax in principle, until they have to pay a higher price at the pump or on their fuel bills. There’s a wider point about tax acceptability: push a tax too far, as New Labour did with council tax and the fuel duty escalator, and you spend many years repenting at leisure as you freeze the tax.

The third lesson is about fairness. Voters won’t tolerate openly regressive taxes like the so-called community charge or poll tax. But at the same time, you won’t raise serious money by soaking the rich. It’s tempting to think that the rich and the companies they own can bear the burden of higher taxes. They won’t. Capital is mobile. Tax it more and it tends to move elsewhere. It’s irritating that digital companies operate out of Luxembourg or Ireland but, the United States apart, governments are never going to extract serious revenue from them. The same can be said of the rich. President Hollande’s tax hike in 2012 merely led to an exodus of the affluent, many of whom came to London.

Taxing wealth is tempting. But wealth taxes rarely raise much revenue, once the inevitable exemption for housing is introduced. And experience suggests that people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid inheritance tax.

There’s a good case in principle for taxing land – after all, it doesn’t move. But the politics of property taxation are notoriously difficult. All the chancellors I worked for worried about the asset rich but income poor widow. And it is no coincidence that there hasn’t been a revaluation of council tax in 30 years. I much admired the Irish reform of reducing stamp duty rates and introducing a self-assessed property tax. Stamp duty rates are too high and discourage mobility. But I can’t see it happening here. And even if it did, it would be more likely to take the form of a revenue neutral package than as a serious tax raiser.

That does not mean the government should do nothing in these areas. Corporation tax rates were probably reduced too far too fast. And there’s a good case for higher tax rates on capital gains, though economists tend to overestimate the likely yield: experience suggests if you wait long enough a government is elected which will tax your gains at a much lower rate. It’s worth looking again at pensions tax relief though this is already constrained and fiendishly complicated. The government might also consider more council tax bands, though in the absence of a revaluation it might be difficult to make these stick. But measures like these will raise billions rather than tens of billions.

That takes me to the final lesson I learnt. If you need to raise serious revenue, there is no substitute for raising the main rate of one of the big taxes. There is a reason why income tax, national insurance and VAT account for the vast majority of tax revenue. They are easy to collect and they are paid by most of the population.

The problem, in the short run at least, is the government made a manifesto commitment not to raise the rates of these taxes.

Here, the solution is simple. Introduce a new tax: a ‘temporary’ social solidarity charge. It would be modelled on national insurance and based on ability to pay, but unlike NICs it would be paid by old as well as young, and on pension, dividend and rental income as well as earnings. Unlike income tax, there would be no reliefs, and so with the broadest possible base the increase in tax rates could be kept to the minimum.

The new charge could be sold as a way of spending more on health and social care. I’m under no illusion. It won’t be popular. Taxes never are. Sometimes, you have to raise taxes to recreate a coalition for lower spending. The pendulum will swing.

Job Support Scheme | new help if salon forced to close

Rishi Sunak has announced 2 further measures:

An extended version of the Job Support Scheme, and additional grants. We look at these both below.

1. Extended version of the Job Support Scheme

The Government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) announced in September will be extended to protect jobs and to support businesses that are legally required to close down due to coronavirus restrictions.

If your salon is told to close under Coronavirus measures (eg a full local lockdown),  the Government will pay two thirds of your employees’ salaries under this extended scheme.

Eligible salons will be able to claim two thirds of each employees’ salary, up to a maximum cap of £2,100 per month. A sort of Furlough scheme version 3.

Salon owners will however be asked to pay the employer’s  NIC and pension contributions.

Businesses are only able to claim the grant whilst subject to the restrictions, and employees have to be off work (on furlough) for a minimum of seven consecutive days. The scheme is UK wide, and the UK Government has confirmed that it will work alongside the devolved administrations, ensuring that the scheme works effectively in all four nations.

The scheme will be open from 1 November 2020, and will run for a period of six months, but will be reviewed in January 2021.

Payments will be made in arrears and made through a HMRC claims service, which it has been confirmed will be available from early December 2020.

In summary:

Until 31 October – salons are covered by the Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

From 1 November 2020 – 31 March 2021, either of:

  • If salon not forced to close – Job Support Scheme (the Government paying 1/3rd of hours not worked)
  • If salon forced to close – Job Support Scheme (the Government paying 2/3rd of salaries)

2. Additional grants

The Government’s second announcement is to increase the amount of grant paid to businesses in England that are shut due to local lockdowns from the previously announced £1,500 per month, paid every three weeks, to a maximum of £3,000 per month, paid every two weeks.

The smallest salons can now claim £1,300 per month, medium sized ones can claim £2,000 per month, and larger salons can claim £3,000, all paid in two fortnightly instalments.

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also receive an additional £1.3 billion to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21, to help with the response to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Additional guidance on the extended JSS will be issued in due course.

Further reading:

Job Support Scheme | A practical run through

 

SEISS grant |additional conditions

SEISS | The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is being extended by Sunak, but these third and fourth grants less generous.

HMRC’s factsheet explains that to be eligible for the further grants, taxpayers must meet the following criteria:

  • Be currently eligible for the SEISS (although it is not necessary to have claimed the previous grants).
  • Be actively trading at the time the grant is claimed and intend to continue to trade.
  • Be impacted by reduced demand due to COVID-19 in the qualifying period.

The qualifying period for the third grant runs from 1 November to the date of claim and the qualifying period for the fourth grant is expected to run from 1 February 2021 to the date of that claim.

The requirements to be “actively trading” and to be “impacted by reduced demand” are new and HMRC is expected to publish further guidance to clarify the meaning of these terms.

The requirement to be actively trading will mean that businesses that have had to close during the pandemic will not be able to claim if they have not restarted during the qualifying period.

The policy decision has likely been designed to ensure that only viable businesses are supported and to align the scheme with the Job Support Scheme which will require employees to be working at least of a third of their usual hours.

The grants will be based on the same tax years as the previous grants, which means information on 2019/20 self-assessment tax returns that have been filed will not be considered.

The third SEISS grant will provide a taxable sum calculated as 20% of average monthly trading profits paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits and capped at £1,875. This level has been set so as to offer broadly the same level of government support that is being provided to employees through the Job Support Scheme.

The level of the fourth SEISS grant is to be kept under review and will be set in due course.

HMRC will provide full details about how to claim on gov.uk and the Tax Faculty will publish more information as it becomes available.

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