Below is a roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The online service for the fourth grant is now available. The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been extended to September 2021 and details of claims for the fourth grant have now been released. This fourth grant covers February, March and April 2021. There will then be a fifth grant covering May to September 2021.
The latest grant allows the self-employed to claim 80% of their average profits for the period up to 2019/20 and is again limited to £2,500 a month.
Like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) there are lots of conditions that need to be satisfied, such as being self-employed in 2019/20 and continuing to trade in 2020/21 or would be doing so if it the business had not been impacted by coronavirus.
In order to be able to make a successful claim, the self-employed profits in 2019/20 must not exceed £50,000 and must be more than 50% of the individual’s total income. If that test is not met, then the same £50,000 and 50% tests are applied to average profits and total income over the four years (or shorter period) to 5 April 2020. This means that those who commenced trading in 2019/20 will now potentially be eligible for SEISS grants, having not previously qualified for the first three grants.
Although we cannot make the claim on your behalf, we can help you determine whether you are eligible and assist you with your claim if required.
Conditions for the fifth grant will be linked to a reduction in business turnover. Self-employed individuals whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. We are still awaiting further details of the fifth grant calculation.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Other types of employees you can claim for
The guidance on contractors engaged with the public sector, or by a medium or large-sized organisation, in scope of off-payroll working (IR35) rules has been updated.
You can claim other types of employees – as long as they’re paid via PAYE. These employees include:
- office holders (including company directors)
- salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
- agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies)
- limb (b) workers
- contingent workers in the public sector
- contractors with public sector engagements in scope of IR35 off-payroll working rules (IR35)
Individuals who are paid through PAYE but not necessarily employees in employment law, can continue to be furloughed from 1 July as long as you have previously submitted a claim for them for a furlough period of at least 3 weeks between 1 March and 30 June and submitted a claim for this by 31 July.
There is also updated guidance for other types of employees you can claim for and if your employee is clinically vulnerable.
Employees can continue to claim tax relief if working from home
Employees can be paid a £6 a week tax free Home Working Allowance whilst working from home. The amounts are free from income tax and Class 1 national insurance contributions (‘EEs and ‘ERs). The normal rule to take advantage of this exemption is that the employee is required by their employer to work from home from time to time and is normally not available where the employee works from home as a matter of choice.
£6 a week tax free for a higher rate taxpayer is equivalent to £538 gross pay (after 40% income tax and 2% employee NICs). The employer would also save 13.8% NICs.
This rule was temporarily relaxed due to the COVID-19 pandemic for 2020/21. HMRC has advised that as long as an employee has been required to work from home at some point during 2020/21 as a result of the COVID19 pandemic they will accept a claim for home-working for the whole 2020/21 tax year. This has now been extended to 2021/22 up until the end of the pandemic.
Where the employer does not pay the allowance, the employee may make a claim for a deduction of £6 a week from their earnings and this has also been extended to 2021/22. That would result in a tax refund of £124.80 for a higher rate taxpayer.
The quickest way to make a claim is to use the HMRC online claims service which requires the employee to set up a Government Gateway account. Alternatively, employees should use HMRC form P87 to make their claim.
Companies House update
You can use a same day service to electronically file a change of company name or incorporate a company (software filing only). You must apply before 11am. If you apply after 11am, your application will not be processed until the next working day. Companies House has suspended all other same day services until further notice.
Guidance for food businesses
This has been updated to allow hospitality businesses to serve food outdoors. Added information on ventilation and asymptomatic testing programmes is now also included.
This guidance is intended for all workplaces involved in the manufacturing, processing, warehousing, picking, packaging, retailing and service of food. This also includes important information about the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 from circumstances or activities related to the workplace, such as transportation and accommodation arrangements.
This guidance is of general nature and is intended to be compatible with the relevant health and safety legislation. Please note that if there appears to be a conflict between this guidance and the relevant health and safety legislation, the latter shall prevail.
General Aviation Roadmap
The government’s vision, strategic priorities and forward programme of work to support the General Aviation sector has been published.
The General Aviation Roadmap includes:
- the government’s vision for General Aviation
- the strategic priorities for the sector
- a summary of the work of the Civil Aviation Authority’s General Aviation Unit
- the future programme of work to support the sector
Ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus – England
This webpage provides guidance on the ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The page states, ventilation is the process of introducing fresh air into indoor spaces while removing stale air. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Guidance is outlined on ventilation in the workplace.
Self-isolation compliance checks after international travel – England
The government is now carrying out public health self-isolation compliance checks on individuals who have a legal duty to self-isolate (also known as quarantining) for 10 days following international travel.
This means that if you are required to self-isolate, you may receive a visit from someone employed by a company on behalf of the government to make sure you are complying with your legal duty.
What to expect from a self-isolation compliance check?
Staff employed on behalf of the NHS Test and Trace service will come to the address listed on your passenger locator form. The staff will be wearing NHS Test and Trace uniforms. They will identify themselves verbally and present an ID card with information including their name, role and employer. The staff will follow social distancing guidelines.
The staff will state your name and ask you to confirm it. They will also ask to see your driver’s license or passport to confirm your identity.
They will then ask you a few questions. This will help establish whether you are following your duty to self-isolate and enable them to provide additional information or guidance where necessary. You may receive follow-up visits.
NHS Test and Trace staff do not have enforcement powers, including the power to issue fixed penalty notices or fines. This means they will never ask you for money.
If there is reason to believe you may be breaching self-isolation rules, staff may refer your case to the police. If the police have reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed a criminal offence in breach of your duty to self-isolate, they may issue you with a fine (fixed penalty notice). Fines start at £1,000 for a first offence and can increase up to £10,000 for repeat offences.
If you are not happy with the service, you can complain to NHS Test and Trace online or telephone 119.
Transport and travel guidance – England
Information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the coronavirus outbreak has been updated to include guidance on domestic cruise ship travel.
Domestic cruises – England
Domestic cruises depart from and return to UK ports. They may operate beyond UK waters, but are currently restricted to UK port calls and carrying residents from the UK and the Common Travel Area (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Ireland) only.
Passengers from outside England should check their local travel restrictions before making travel plans.
Welcome Back Fund – England
Guidance has been updated to help local authorities and partners to deliver activities supported through the Welcome Back Fund announced in May 2020.
Coming to the UK for seasonal agricultural work on English farms
Advice for seasonal agricultural workers coming to England to pick fruit and vegetables on farms, and their employers has been updated.
Whilst correct at time of publishing, all information contained in this update is subject to change. Please refer to the GOV.UK website for the most up to date information.
If you require any assistance relating coronavirus (COVID-19) and your personal financial or business circumstances, please contact your usual Beavis Morgan Client Partner or email firstname.lastname@example.org.