Friday, 25 September 2020

25th September 2020 – Hillmans Weekly Update

Below I have summarised all the main tax related updates we have seen this week.

·         Chancellors Winter Economy Plan

·         Business Evictions - New Guidance

·         Statutory Sick Pay SSP Paid to Employees Due to Coronavirus

·         Businesses Urged to Prepare for NHS COVID-19 App

·         Hillmans Business News Update

 

If you have any queries about this week’s content, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

Best wishes,

 

Steve

 

Steven Hillman BSc (Hons) ACA

Chartered Accountant

Tel: 01934 444100

https://www.hillmans.co.uk/covid-19-updates

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Winter Economy Plan Update

Here is our more detailed summary of the headlines from the Chancellors statement in Parliament today where a series of measures to help jobs and businesses were announced. 

NEW JOB SUPPORT SCHEME ANNOUNCED

Today Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new job scheme starting 1 November 2020 to replace the current Job retention (“furlough”) scheme which ends 31 October 2020.

All small and medium-sized businesses are eligible, larger businesses must show their turnover has fallen during the pandemic. Employers can use the new scheme even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme.  

The new Government scheme will last for six months to 30 April 2021 and to be eligible employees will need to be working a minimum of 33% of their hours. For the remaining hours not worked the Government and employer will pay one third. of wages each. This means: 

Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work - but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary.

Employees who can only go back to work on shorter time will still be paid two thirds of the hours for those hours they can’t work.

The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.

By way of an example an employee working 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their pay, 22% paid by the Government and 55% paid by their employer (the “worked” 33% plus 22%).

SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME

The existing self-employed grant (SEISS) will also be extended on the same basis as the job support scheme.   

An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.

A
n additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.

VAT CUT FOR HOSPITALITY SECTOR CONTINUES

The reduction in VAT to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sector will be extended until 31 March 2021.

DEFERRAL OF VAT BILLS

Up to half a million businesses who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments. Rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end March next year, they will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year.

SELF-ASSESSMENT TAXPAYERS – TIME TO PAY EXTENSION

Approximately 11 million self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

BOUNCE BACK LOANS - FLEXIBILITY GIVEN TO PAY BACK AMOUNTS BORROWED

More than a million businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will get more repayment time through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. 

This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, which will cut monthly repayments by nearly half. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses. 

The Government also intends to give Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

The chancellor also announced an extension in applications for the government’s coronavirus loan schemes until the end of November.

Further guidance will be issued in due course.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-outlines-winter-economy-plan

Chancellors Winter Plan

Breaking News! - Chancellors Winter Plan:

The Chancellor has just announced his ‘Winter Plan’ with the following support measures:

Furlough Scheme

As planned, the furlough scheme will close on 31st October.

Job Support Scheme

To replace the furlough scheme the Government will introduce a new ‘Job Support Scheme’ starting on 1st November:

Employees must work a minimum of 33% of their normal hours

The Government and Employer will pay another 33% each

Self-Employment Grant (SEISS)

The SEISS is to be extended on similar terms to the new job support scheme

Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans

BBLs will be ‘Pay as you Grow’, with loans extended 6-10 years which will allow monthly payments to be halved.

Interest only payments will be allowable for a period.

Payments will be able to be suspended for 6 months at no negative effect to credit ratings

CBILs will be Government guaranteed for 10 years

The deadline to apply for loans is being extended to 31st December

VAT and Tax Deferrals

VAT payments that were deferred to 31st March will be able to be spread over 11 months at no interest

Self-Assessment payments from July deferred to January will be able to be spread over 12 months from January

Hospitality and Tourism VAT

The VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for hospitality and tourism is being extended to 31st March

I will be reading the full details when published and be updating our clients with a full overview ASAP.

In the interim if you have any queries or concerns please don't hesitate to drop me a line.

Best,

Steve

Steven Hillman ACA
Chartered Accountant
Tel: 01934 444100


Business Evictions - New Guidance

Commercial tenants will be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of 2020.

This move will help those businesses most in need of additional support to remain in their premises without the threat of eviction for the rest of this year, giving them the chance to focus on rebuilding their business over the autumn and Christmas period.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-support-to-stop-business-evictions-this-year

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Statutory Sick Pay SSP Paid to Employees Due to Coronavirus

From the 26th August 2020 employers can claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

you have already paid your employee’s sick pay 

you are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus

you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28th February 2020

you had fewer than 250 employees on 28th February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

full-time employees

part-time employees

employees on agency contracts

employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Businesses Urged to Prepare for NHS COVID-19 App

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other venues across England and Wales are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for public rollout of new app.

The NHS COVID-19 app is currently being trialled and will launch on Thursday 24 September in England and Wales, including QR check-in at venues.

QR codes will be an important way for NHS Test and Trace in England and NHS Test, Trace, Protect in Wales to contact multiple people if coronavirus outbreaks are identified in venues.

Businesses across England and Wales like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

See:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/businesses-urged-to-prepare-for-nhs-covid-19-app



Monday, 21 September 2020

Hillmans Business News Update

The main economic news at the start of this week is that the UK inflation rate fell to 0.2% as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme reduced restaurant prices. There is also speculation that the Government is looking at a new jobs scheme to replace the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS). If there are any announcements we will keep you informed. 

With Brexit looming the Government has stated that the new freight management system will be ready the 1st January 2021.  The “Smart Freight system” ensures that trucks are carrying the correct documentation before they travel to ports. The new system is designed to reduce delays and to better manage traffic into Dover and prevent queues of lorries building up along the M2 and M20 motorways. 

There are a number of changes to the CJRS including a new calculation from 14 September.

From 26 August 2020 you can claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery. Further HMRC guidance on paying back CJRS grants made in error are given. Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other venues across England and Wales are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for public rollout of new app.

It looks like we are in for a lot of changes to how we do things between now and the end of the year and our role is to support you through these and ensure your business takes actions to manage the changes.

Please talk to us about how we can help you plan forward. We are with you all the way! 

All the best,

Steve

Steven Hillman ACA
Chartered Accountant
Tel 01934 444100



Friday, 18 September 2020

18th September 2020 – Hillmans Weekly Update

Below I have summarised all the main tax related updates we have seen this week.

Business West COVID-19 Business Grants – Application Process Closes 21st September
Thinking of Reopening Your Business?
Companies House Resumes Voluntary Strike Off Process
How long you need to keep VAT records

If you have any queries about this week’s content, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Steve

Steven Hillman BSc (Hons) ACA
Chartered Accountant
Tel: 01934 444100
https://www.hillmans.co.uk/covid-19-updates 

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Business West COVID-19 Business Grants – Application Process Closes 21st September


Just a reminder that the Business West COVID-19 Business Grants Application window closes on the 21st September 2020. 

Fully funded grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 are available to businesses in North Somerset and Bristol for business coaching, IT hardware and software etc.

Applications for funding will only be open until Monday 21st September. Any applications made after this date will not be considered.

You can read more information on the Business West grants here: https://www.businesswest.co.uk/covid-19-business-support 

The grants for businesses based in Taunton and Somerset are being administered by The Heart of the South West Growth Hub. 

Read more information here for Taunton and Somerset businesses: https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/business-support-programmes/growth-support-kickstart-grant-scheme/

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

How long you need to keep VAT records

All VAT-registered businesses must:  

- keep records of sales and purchases; 
- keep a separate summary of VAT; 
and 
- issue correct VAT invoices  

In the UK, VAT records must be kept for at least six years (or ten years if the trader uses the HMRC VAT mini-one-stop-shop (VAT MOSS) service). 

VAT records may be kept on paper, electronically or as part of a software program (e.g. book-keeping software) - but whichever method is used, the records must be accurate, complete and readable. 

HMRC can visit businesses to inspect record-keeping and impose penalties if the records are not in order.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Thinking of Reopening Your Business?

If you are now reopening your business you should refer to the latest guidance from the Government.

There is risk assessment guidance to help businesses make adjustments to the workplace on the webpage: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening





































Monday, 14 September 2020

Companies House Resumes Voluntary Strike Off Process

The process for companies that have applied to be struck off the register resumed the 10th September following changes to temporary measures announced in April 2020.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Companies House paused all strike off activity to relieve the burden on businesses and to protect creditors and other interested parties who may have had difficulties in registering an objection.

The measures have been reviewed monthly and the latest change has been implemented after consideration and feedback from customers and stakeholders.

This means all companies that applied to be struck off before July 2020 will be struck off the register in a phased approach over the next 4 weeks, starting on the 10th September 2020.

For companies that applied to be struck off from July 2020 onwards, the voluntary strike off process will continue as normal after this initial 4-week period.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/companies-house-resumes-voluntary-strike-off-process

Friday, 11 September 2020

11th September 2020 – Hillmans Weekly Update


Below I have summarised all the main tax related updates we have seen this week.

Business West COVID-19 Business Grants – Application Process Open
Bounce Back Plans Launched for Consumer and Retail Industry
Football Referees are Self-Employed
Kickstart Scheme Employer Contacts

If you have any queries about this week’s content, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Steve

Steven Hillman BSc (Hons) ACA
Chartered Accountant
Tel: 01934 444100
https://www.hillmans.co.uk/covid-19-updates 

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Bounce Back Plans Launched for Consumer and Retail Industry

A ‘bounce-back’ plan of trade measures for the consumer and retail industry has been announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help support businesses impacted by Coronavirus. 

These are:

New measures to help boost exports and increase British retail firms’ readiness to sell overseas
New plans include creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus

DIT say “The new measures will offer immediate support to businesses by ensuring specialists provide advice on online retail and international marketplaces. The launch of a new Consumer and Retail Export Academy will provide businesses with the critical knowledge, skills and networks needed to increase exports. The plan will also outline long-term support for the sector as new export opportunities arise from trade deals being negotiated with the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.”

Further details are expected, and we will bring you the facts of the support when we receive them.
See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bounce-back-plans-launched-for-consumer-and-retail-industry 

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Football Referees are Self-Employed


Whilst many of us will be looking forward to the new football season resuming, there has been an interesting tax case recently concerning the employment status of referees.

The Upper Tier Tribunal has rejected an appeal by HMRC concerning whether referees officiating at matches in the Championship and lower leagues were employees of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

Whilst referees in charge of Premier League matches are employees of PGMOL those refereeing other matches have always been treated as self-employed. 

A crucial determinant was the degree of control over the individual and whether there is "mutuality of obligations" (MOO) between the parties. 

This means that the employer is obliged to provide work and the employee is obliged to perform the work provided. The Upper Tribunal decided that no such obligations were present.

MOO is a key factor in determining employment status and it is considered that insufficient weighting is placed on this factor when using the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) software which is a cornerstone of the "off-payroll" working rules scheduled to be rolled out to the private sector from 6 April 2021.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Business West COVID-19 Business Grants – Application Process Open


Business West, on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority, have opened the application process for the Small Business COVID-19 Business Grants.

As part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, they have released £300,000 of European Regional Development Funding to support businesses, in the West of England LEP area. 

Fully funded grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 are available to help mitigate some of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on eligible businesses.

The grant can be used to cover up to 100% of the costs for professional, legal, financial, or other specialist advice. It can also be used on new technology and other equipment to help your business with recovery. 

Some examples of what you could use the money for include (but are not limited to):

Business coaching for strategy development
New markets research and development
Consultancy for a re-branding effort
Business development support
IT hardware to enable home working
Purchase and implementation of a new CRM system

How to apply

To apply for a COVID 19 Business Support Grant, you will need to submit an application form to Business West. You can download the application form here: https://www.businesswest.co.uk/sites/default/files/covid-19_business_support_-_grant_application_form_v1_2.docx 

You can read more information here: https://www.businesswest.co.uk/covid-19-business-support 

If you're not based in the West of England you can find your Local Growth Hub here: https://www.lepnetwork.net/

Any application received after Monday 21st September will not be considered, so you need to be quick to apply.

You will need up to date financial forecast data for the application. For Hillmans bookkeeping clients please drop us a line and we can supply this for you and help you with the application. 

If you are not a Hillmans client, we would advise speaking to your own accountant who should be able to provide the financial data to you. However, if you get stuck please drop us a line on 01934 444100 and we’d be pleased to help. 

Monday, 7 September 2020

Kickstart Scheme Employer Contacts


If you need help with the Kickstart Scheme Process, The Department of work and pensions (DWP) has listed local employer contacts regionally.

You can email:

your local employer contact if you are located in a specific region
the national employer contact if you are located across several regions

Please include the following information in your email:

email subject
company name
main contact
preferred contact information (for example phone or email)
your postcode
town or city of your proposed job placements

You will receive a telephone call from your local employer contact or the national contact within 2 working days.

England

South West: southwest.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

South East: southeast.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

West Midlands: westmidlands.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

East and Central Midlands: eastmidlands.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

London and Essex: londonandessex.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

North Central (includes West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire): 
northcentral.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

North East (includes North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, Humberside and North Lincolnshire): northeast.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

North West (includes Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire): northwest.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

Scotland 

scotland.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

Wales
wales.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

National
national.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk

Friday, 4 September 2020

4th September 2020 – Hillmans Weekly Update


Below I have summarised all the main tax related updates we have seen this week.

Kickstart Scheme Opens
Child Trust Funds
Certain Property Business Owners are Liable to Class 2 NICs
Company Vans Were Motor Cars

If you have any queries about this week’s content, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Steve

Steven Hillman BSc (Hons) ACA
Chartered Accountant
Tel: 01934 444100
https://www.hillmans.co.uk/covid-19-updates 

Child Trust Funds

18-year olds now get a chance to access their Child Trust funds! Children born from September 2002 were given vouchers by the Government. 

The government initially put £250 into the tax-free account during a child's first year, then added another £250 when he or she reached the age of seven. 

For lower-income families, the payment was £500. with access to the money at 18. Parents, family and friends could also contribute to the account, up to set limits. The scheme was ended in January 2011.  

See:  https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Kickstart Scheme Opens


The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched the Kickstart Scheme, designed to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The £2 billion Kickstart Scheme is designed to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. 

The 6-month placements are open to those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. They will be available across a range of different sectors in England, Scotland and Wales. The first placements are likely to be available from November.

Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.

There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job.

If you are an employer looking to create jobs placements for young people, you can apply for funding as part of the scheme.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/kickstart-scheme-opens-for-employer-applications

Who can apply

You can submit your application online.

If you are applying for 30 or more job placements, you can apply directly.

If you are applying for less than 30 job placements, you must apply through a representative of a group of employers. They can submit an application on your behalf, using other employers to create 30 or more job placements in one application.

What you need to provide during the application

You will need:

the Companies House reference number or Charity Commission number
the organisation address and contact details
details of the job placements and their location
supporting information to show that the job placements are new jobs and meet the Kickstart Scheme criteria
information about the support the organisation can give to develop employability skills of young people

After you have applied

Your application will be reviewed to check it meets the requirements of the Kickstart Scheme. It will then go to a panel for consideration. This is not a competitive process, but Kickstart will only provide funding when the job placements meet the criteria.

DWP aims to respond to applications within 1 month.

If your application is successful

If your application meets the requirements of the scheme, you will receive a letter with a grant agreement. This agreement will include what your company has agreed to provide, and how much funding you will receive from the Kickstart Scheme.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-grant-through-the-kickstart-scheme

Kickstart employers guide



Read the guide here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/913209/kickstart-scheme-employer-guide.pdf

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Certain Property Business Owners are Liable to Class 2 NICs


Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are currently paid at the rate of £3.05 per week by self-employed earners. A person who is liable to Income Tax on the profits arising from the receipt of property rental income will only be a self-employed earner for NICs purposes if the level of activities carried out amounts to running a business.

HMRC have recently issued clarification which states that in order for a property owner to be a self-employed earner, their property management activities must extend beyond those generally associated with being a landlord which include, but are not limited to, the following:-

undertaking or arranging for external and internal repairs
preparing the property between lets
advertising for tenants and arranging tenancy agreements
generally maintaining common areas in multi-occupancy properties; or
collecting rents.

The HMRC guidance suggests that the ownership of multiple properties, actively looking to acquire further properties to let, and the letting of property being the property owner’s main occupation could be pointers towards there being a business for NICs purposes.

A landlord will also be a self-employed earner if any of their activities amount to a trade for Income Tax purposes. This could include, for example, receiving income from other services provided to tenants.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Company Vans Were Motor Cars



The Court of Appeal have now ruled on the tax status of certain vehicles provided to employees of Coca Cola. The court has upheld the HMRC view that vans with windows and a second row of seats behind the driver are not goods vehicles but motor cars for benefit in kind purposes. 

Consequently, the income tax and national insurance payable by employee and employer is significantly higher than if the vehicles had been classified as goods vehicles. 

The income tax legislation defines a “goods vehicle” as “a vehicle of a construction primarily suited for the conveyance of goods or burden of any description…”

At the Tax Tribunal it was decided that modified VW Kombi vans failed this test whereas modified Vauxhall Vivaro vans did fall within the definition of goods vehicles. 

It has now been determined that the Vauxhalls should also be taxed as motor cars for P11d benefit in kind purposes. This means that where the vehicle is available for private use the taxable benefit will be based on the original list price multiplied by a percentage based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions.

The decision means that employers may need to reconsider providing such vehicles. They may also need to rectify the P11d reporting in respect of earlier years and we await further guidance from HMRC.  

What is also particularly confusing, and thus difficult for businesses to deal with, is that the benefit in kind rules are not the same as the rules for recovery of input VAT and it would be useful if there was a common definition for tax purposes.

VAT Definition of "Motor Car"

For VAT purposes the definition of a motor car has been amended several times over the years. 

The current definition states:   “Motor car” means any motor vehicle of a kind normally used on public roads which has three or more wheels and either:

a) is constructed or adapted solely or mainly for the carriage of passengers; or

b) has to the rear of the driver’s seat roofed accommodation which is fitted with side windows or which is constructed or adapted for the fitting of side windows;

There are a number of exceptions to this rule: notably vehicles constructed to carry a payload of one tonne or more, i.e. double cab pick-ups such as a Toyota Hilux.

Friday, 28 August 2020

28th August 2020 – Hillmans Weekly Update


Below I have summarised all the main tax related updates we have seen this week.

Stamp Duty Cut Also Benefits Buy-to-Let Landlords
CBILS and Bounce Back Loans Update
CJRS Update
Protecting Your Business Against Fraud

If you have any queries about this week’s content, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you have a great weekend! 😎

Best wishes,

Steve

Steven Hillman BSc (Hons) ACA
Chartered Accountant
Tel: 01934 444100

Thursday, 27 August 2020

CJRS Update

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant claim changes again 1st September. Please talk to us if you would like us to help estimate your claim.

- From 1 September CJRS will pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.

- You will still need to pay your 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. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself.

- The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in September, you are entitled to claim 70% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work up to £1,093.75 (50% of the £2,187.50 cap).

- You will continue to have to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions from your own funds.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Protecting your business against fraud


In these uncertain times, businesses are combating an increased amount of fraud.

Throughout recent months, there have been widespread reports of an uptick in fraudulent websites, charity scams and fake emails purporting to be from banks, etc. This increase in fraudulent activity is being driven by opportunists who are attempting to take advantage of the confusion and change of circumstances resulting from the current global pandemic.

In order to protect against fraud, businesses should carry out a risk assessment. This should include an assessment of any IT risk that could arise through remote working. Cyber security measures should be put in place including firewalls, anti-malware and anti-virus software. This software should be kept up to date. 

All staff should be trained on how to spot fraudulent emails and should be provided with clear guidelines on what to do if they spot a fraudulent email. For example – check email addresses to see if they look suspicious, report the suspicious email to the IT manager, delete the email, etc.

On the financial side of things, regular internal and external audits should be undertaken. Two signatures / authorisations should be required to sign off on payments from the business. Access to the firm’s bank accounts, online banking facilities and payment systems should be restricted to a limited number of people. An authorisation / approval process should be put in place for all payments over a certain amount.

Computers, company mobiles, phones and devices should all be password protected. All staff should be trained on how to create a secure password and a process should be put in place which means that all passwords are updated on a regular basis. 

Even if you implement these measures, your business could still be the victim of fraud or cyber crime. Make sure that you have appropriate insurance policies in place so that your business is protected against any losses incurred from crimes such as fraud.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Stamp Duty Cut also Benefits Buy-to-Let Landlords

Although the temporary increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold to £500,000 was aimed at those buying their main residence, it also benefits landlords buying a second or subsequent property where there is a 3% supplementary charge. 

The rate of SDLT on a second home costing up to £500,000 is now 3%. Previously, the rate was 3% up to £125,000, then 5% up to £250,000 and then 8% up to £825,000. 

So the SDLT on a second home costing £400,000 is now £12,000 compared to £22,000 if the purchase had completed before 8 July 2020. 

Please note that there are different thresholds and rates of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax for properties located in Scotland and Wales.

Monday, 24 August 2020

CBILS and Bounce Back Loans Update

Coronavirus Business Interruption loan (CBILS)

The government has given banks extra time to grant state-backed loans to medium-sized and larger businesses in an extension of Covid-19 support packages until 30 November.

The original deadline for CBILS was put at September 30, while the cut-off for the larger scheme was October 20.

The British Business Bank wrote to lenders last week to say that applications for the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, or CBILS, aimed at medium-sized businesses with turnover of up to £45 million had to be in by midnight on September 30, but that they had two more months to consider the cases.

That pushes the final approvals date to November 30. The deadline for approving larger CBILS has been set for December 31.

The bank said that it had given “an update clarifying the closing of applications”.

Some lenders interpreted this as an extension of the loans, which may be the first step in a move to keep the schemes open into next year.

Bounce Back Loans

The bounce back loan scheme, is aimed at smaller businesses and is due to end on November 4. No extra time has been given for approvals of bounce back loans as they were designed to be agreed by banks speedily, with minimal affordability checks.

Almost £52 billion has been lent under the schemes, including £35 billion in bounce back, £13.4 billion in CBILS and £3.4 billion in larger CBILS.

Please contact us if you need help in applying for a loan.

Friday, 21 August 2020

21st August 2020 – Hillmans Weekly Update


Below I have summarised all the main tax related updates we have seen this week.

UK Claims Open for Second Self-Employed Support Grant
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - A Reminder
What to do if you've claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Check if you can get Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare during coronavirus

If you have any queries regarding this week’s content, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Steve

Steven Hillman BSc (Hons) ACA
Chartered Accountant
Tel: 01934 444100
https://www.hillmans.co.uk/covid-19-updates 

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Check if you can get Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare during coronavirus

Find out about temporary changes that may affect you if you are applying for, or already getting, Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare.    

Working parents or carers, who are eligible for Tax-Free Childcare or 30 Hours Free Childcare but have temporarily fallen below the minimum income requirement because of coronavirus, will continue to receive financial support until 31st October 2020.

Critical workers who may exceed the income threshold for the 2020 to 2021 tax year, as a result of working more to play a vital role in tackling coronavirus, will continue to receive support this tax year.

See more information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-get-tax-free-childcare-and-30-hours-free-childcare-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

What to do if you've claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government has updated its guidance if an employer has claimed too much or not enough from the CJRS. 

If you have claimed too much

If you want to delete a claim in the online service, you must do this within 72 hours.

If you have made an error in a claim that means you’ve received too much, you must pay this back to HMRC. You can either:

tell HMRC as part of your next online claim (your new claim will be reduced and you’ll need to keep a record of the adjustment for 6 years)
contact HMRC to pay the money back (you should only do this if you’re not submitting another claim)

If you’ve overclaimed a grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC by the latest of either:

90 days after the date you received the grant you were not entitled to
90 days after the date you received the grant that you were no longer entitled to keep because your circumstances changed
20 October 2020

If you do not do this, you may have to pay a penalty. If you do repay any overclaimed grant, this will prevent any potential tax liability in respect of the overpayment of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. HMRC have advised they will not be actively looking for innocent errors in their compliance approach.

If you have not claimed enough

If you made an error in your claim that has resulted in receiving too little money, you will still need to make sure you pay your employees the correct amount. You should contact HMRC to amend your claim and as you are increasing the amount of your claim and they may need to conduct additional checks.