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Industry Updates

COVID-19 sick pay rebate scheme closed in September
COVID-19 sick pay rebate scheme closed in September

18 October 2021


The government’s scheme that enables small businesses to recoup statutory sick pay costs caused by COVID-19 closed at the end of September. Legislation ending the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) was laid before parliament on 9 September. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, employers were obliged to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to eligible employees ...

Chancellor warned of redundancies as furlough scheme ends
Chancellor warned of redundancies as furlough scheme ends

14 October 2021


The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ended on 30 September after supporting millions of workers during the pandemic. The government said the wages of more than 11 million people were subsidised for at least some of the scheme’s duration at a cost of around £70 billion. Economists say there is likely to be a ...

Chancellor to deliver Autumn 2021 Budget on 27 October
Chancellor to deliver Autumn 2021 Budget on 27 October

10 October 2021


HM Treasury has announced that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver the Autumn 2021 Budget on Wednesday 27 October. On 7 September the Chancellor launched Spending Review 2021, which will conclude on 27 October and will be presented alongside the Autumn Budget. The Spending Review will outline government departments’ resource and capital budgets from 2022/23 to ...

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment delayed for a year
Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment delayed for a year

7 October 2021


The government has delayed the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTD for ITSA) for a year, HMRC recently announced. The government says it has made the move in recognition of the challenges faced by many UK businesses as the country emerges from the pandemic. It will now introduce MTD ...

Employers ‘named and shamed’ for paying less than minimum wage
Employers ‘named and shamed’ for paying less than minimum wage

29 September 2021


The government has ‘named and shamed’ 191 companies that have broken National Minimum Wage (NMW) laws. Following investigations by HMRC, the named firms have been fined for owing £2.1 million to over 34,000 workers. The breaches took place between 2011 and 2018. Named employers have since been made to pay back what they owed to ...

Advisory fuel rates for company cars
Advisory fuel rates for company cars

25 September 2021


New company car advisory fuel rates have been published and took effect from 1 September 2021. The guidance states: ‘you can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply’. The rates only apply to employees using a company car. The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on ...

BCC calls for government to extend skills training
BCC calls for government to extend skills training

21 September 2021


The BCC has urged the government to extend skills training in light of the publication of research which showed that one in five companies are considering making redundancies as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The BCC has stressed concerns that older workers could go unutilised unless support for retraining is put into place ...

HMRC urges taxpayers to stay alert to digital scams
HMRC urges taxpayers to stay alert to digital scams

18 September 2021


HMRC has urged taxpayers to stay alert to the threat of digital scams and scammers claiming to represent HMRC. Research published by HMRC revealed that the number of tax-related scams has doubled in the past 12 months. In the past year HMRC has received more than one million referrals from the UK public in regard ...

Contactless limit to increase to £100 from 15 October
Contactless limit to increase to £100 from 15 October

15 September 2021


The national roll-out of the new £100 spending limit for contactless card payments will begin from 15 October 2021, banking trade body UK Finance has confirmed. The decision to raise the contactless limit from £45 to £100 was made by HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a public consultation and discussions with ...

Digital marketplaces to report sellers’ incomes from 2023
Digital marketplaces to report sellers’ incomes from 2023

12 September 2021


HMRC has published a consultation that outlines plans to implement reporting rules for digital platforms first put forward by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In February 2020, the OECD consulted on proposed rules setting out how digital platforms should collect information about the income of sellers and report it to tax authorities. ...

HMRC outlines changes to late payment penalty regime
HMRC outlines changes to late payment penalty regime

8 September 2021


HMRC has published a policy paper outlining the forthcoming changes to the penalties for late payment and interest harmonisation for taxpayers. The government intends to reform sanctions for late submission and late payments to make them ‘fairer and more consistent across taxes’. Initially the changes will apply to VAT and Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA). ...

Increase in public trust in charities
Increase in public trust in charities

27 August 2021


Public trust in charities has reached its highest level since 2014, according to research published by the Charity Commission. An independent study showed that people’s trust in charities scored an average of 6.4 out of 10, up from 6.2 a year ago and significantly higher than the low of 5.5 recorded in 2018. The highest ...

Pension scams average losses now over £50,000
Pension scams average losses now over £50,000

23 August 2021


According to the latest figures from Action Fraud the average loss from pension scams has reached £50,949 this year. That is more than double the typical figure of £23, 689 reported last year. Action Fraud said the losses in each case ranged from less than £1,000 to as much as £500,000, and the real figures ...

Data reveals 1.9 million workers remain on furlough
Data reveals 1.9 million workers remain on furlough

19 August 2021


The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is being wound down on 30 September 2021 and data published by HMRC has revealed that 1.9 million workers remain on furlough. The data showed that the number of employees furloughed on the CJRS fell by 590,000 during June. The total number of furloughed workers is 1.9 million. The data ...

HMRC updates Salary Sacrifice guidance
HMRC updates Salary Sacrifice guidance

14 August 2021


HMRC has updated the guidance on salary sacrifice. HMRC has removed the guidance on ‘Salary sacrifice arrangements set up before 6 April 2017’ as the transitional arrangements for calculating the value of the benefit came to an end on 5 April 2021. A salary sacrifice arrangement is an agreement to reduce an employee’s entitlement to ...

ICAEW urges HMRC to scrap exemptions to simplify VAT rules
ICAEW urges HMRC to scrap exemptions to simplify VAT rules

11 August 2021


In response to HMRC’s consultation on simplifying the rules relating to land and property, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has urged HMRC to abolish all VAT exemptions and remove all VAT options. The ICAEW stated that the VAT rules regarding land and property are ‘unnecessarily complex’ and stand to benefit ...

Claiming the fifth self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant
Claiming the fifth self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant

7 August 2021


HMRC has issued guidance on claiming the fifth and final self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant. Unlike previous SEISS grants the amount of the fifth grant available is determined by how much a self-employed individual’s turnover is reduced. The fifth grant is 80% of three months’ average trading profits capped at £7,500 for those self-employed ...

The government has published draft Finance Bill clauses
The government has published draft Finance Bill clauses

4 August 2021


The Government has published draft clauses for the next Finance Bill, which broadly cover pre-announced policy changes. The government is committed, where possible, to publishing most tax legislation in draft for technical consultation before the relevant Finance Bill is laid before Parliament. The consultation will close on 14 September 2021. Internet link: GOV.UK Draft Finance Bill ...

Furlough scheme starts to wind down
Furlough scheme starts to wind down

28 July 2021


The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) begins winding down from 1 July. The latest data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows that at the end of April 3.4 million jobs were still on furlough so the change to the furlough scheme will affect thousands of employers across the country. Since last March, ...

Over 280,000 families now using Tax-Free Childcare
Over 280,000 families now using Tax-Free Childcare

24 July 2021


More than 282,000 working families used a Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) account during March 2021, according to figures from HMRC. HMRC stated that it is the highest recorded number of families in any one month since the scheme was launched in April 2017. These families received a share of more than £33 million in government top-up ...

Apprenticeship cash boost
Apprenticeship cash boost

21 July 2021


The government has confirmed that employers of all sizes in England can now apply for £3,000 in extra funding to help them take on new apprentices. The boost to the apprenticeship incentive scheme was confirmed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget in March. The claims portal opened on 1 June and businesses can apply ...

800,000 claim tax relief for working from home
800,000 claim tax relief for working from home

15 July 2021


HMRC has confirmed that almost 800,000 employees who have been working from home during the pandemic have already claimed tax relief on household related costs. The saving is worth up to £125 per year for each employee, and eligible workers can claim the full year’s entitlement if they have been told to work from home ...

Property tax changes
Property tax changes

13 July 2021


From 1 July 2021 there are changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Land Transaction Tax (LTT) bands for residential property. SDLT is payable by the purchaser in a land transaction occurring in England and Northern Ireland. The following rates and thresholds apply for SDLT from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021: ...

440,000 tax credit claimants still to renew their claims
440,000 tax credit claimants still to renew their claims

8 July 2021


HMRC is reminding tax credit claimants that they have until 31 July 2021 to renew their claims. According to HMRC, 440,000 claimants have yet to renew their claims. More than 2.5 million annual tax credits packs were posted to claimants between late April and early July 2021. Claimants will have either received an ‘auto-renewal’ reminder ...

ICAEW urges HMRC to rethink quarterly reports under MTD for corporation tax
ICAEW urges HMRC to rethink quarterly reports under MTD for corporation tax

25 June 2021


The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has urged HMRC to rethink the requirement for companies to report quarterly under Making Tax Digital for corporation tax (MTD for CT). In response to HMRC’s consultation on expanding the MTD initiative to corporation tax, the ICAEW suggested that HMRC should reconsider reporting requirements ‘at ...

Forms P11D – reporting employee benefits
Forms P11D – reporting employee benefits

21 June 2021


The forms P11D which report details of benefits and some expenses provided to employees and directors for the year ended 5 April 2021, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2021. The process of gathering the necessary information and completing the forms can take some time, so it is important that this process ...

Advisory fuel rates for company cars
Advisory fuel rates for company cars

17 June 2021


New company car advisory fuel rates have been published and took effect from 1 June 2021. The guidance states: ‘You can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply’. The rates only apply to employees using a company car. The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on ...

Effectiveness of OTS set to be reviewed by Treasury
Effectiveness of OTS set to be reviewed by Treasury

15 June 2021


The Treasury has launched a review into the effectiveness of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the independent body responsible for helping to make the UK tax system simpler and easier to interact with for taxpayers. In a new call for evidence, the Treasury said that whilst the review is internal, it is keen to ...

Government confirms start date for Plastic Packaging Tax
Government confirms start date for Plastic Packaging Tax

14 June 2021


The UK government has confirmed that its plastic packaging tax (PPT) will come into force on 1 April 2022. The PPT will be charged at a rate of £200 per metric ton of chargeable plastic packaging components of a single specification. It will apply to plastic packaging components manufactured in or imported into the UK. ...

Consultations launched on UK’s first Tax Day
Consultations launched on UK’s first Tax Day

7 April 2021


The government has published over 30 updates, consultations and documents on the UK’s first ever Tax Day. The announcements, which would traditionally be published at Budget, have been released later to allow for scrutiny from stakeholders. It was announced that HMRC will tighten rules to force holiday let landlords to prove they have made a ...

Business rates relief extended with £1.5 billion fund
Business rates relief extended with £1.5 billion fund

5 April 2021


The government is to extend business rates relief with a £1.5 billion fund targeted at those businesses unable to benefit from the current COVID-19 support. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have not been paying any rates during the pandemic, as part of a 15 month-long relief which runs to the end of June this year. ...

Borrowers of Bounce Back loans given six more months for repayments
Borrowers of Bounce Back loans given six more months for repayments

9 March 2021


Businesses that took out government-backed Bounce Back loans to get through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will now have greater flexibility to repay their loans, the government has announced. The Pay as You Grow repayment flexibilities now include the option to delay all repayments for a further six months. This means businesses can choose to make ...

Business groups welcome Budget
Business groups welcome Budget

8 March 2021


Business groups welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget for protecting the economy now and kickstarting recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI, said: ‘The Chancellor has gone above and beyond to protect UK businesses and people’s livelihoods through the crisis and get firms’ spending. ‘Thousands of firms will be relieved to receive ...

Sunak set out Budget to protect businesses
Sunak set out Budget to protect businesses

5 March 2021


Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out a Budget to protect businesses through the pandemic, fix the public finances and begin building the future economy. The Chancellor once again pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ during the COVID-19 pandemic and confirmed that the furlough scheme would be extended until September 2021 to support jobs through the crisis. ...

HMRC clarifies off-payroll rules
HMRC clarifies off-payroll rules

2 March 2021


HMRC has published a briefing on its approach to the changes to off-payroll working rules, commonly known as IR35, which will be introduced on 6 April 2021. Reiterating its advice from last year, HMRC has confirmed that it will not issue penalties for inaccuracies in the first 12 months of the regime, unless there is ...

Late payment penalties for Self Assessment waived until 1 April
Late payment penalties for Self Assessment waived until 1 April

1 March 2021


HMRC has announced that Self Assessment taxpayers will not be charged a 5% late payment penalty if they pay their tax or set up a payment plan by 1 April. The payment deadline for Self Assessment is 31 January and interest is charged from 1 February on any amounts outstanding. Normally, a 5% late payment ...

Online service opens for VAT deferral scheme
Online service opens for VAT deferral scheme

26 February 2021


HMRC has announced that businesses that deferred VAT payments last year can now join the new online VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to pay it in smaller monthly instalments. To take advantage of the new payment scheme businesses will need to have deferred VAT payments between March and June 2020, under the VAT Payment Deferral ...

Domestic VAT reverse charge comes into effect on 1 March
Domestic VAT reverse charge comes into effect on 1 March

25 February 2021


The twice-delayed introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services came into effect on 1 March 2021. The change was originally scheduled to come into effect from 1 October 2019 but was deferred for 12 months after industry bodies highlighted concerns about the lack of preparation and the impact on businesses. It was ...

Government urged by CBI to act on COVID business support ahead of Budget
Government urged by CBI to act on COVID business support ahead of Budget

10 February 2021


The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to provide more financial assistance to businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ahead of the Budget on 3 March 2021. The business group has outlined support measures required to help protect UK businesses through the spring. It has called for: an extension of the ...

10.7 million taxpayers submitted their 2019/20 Self Assessment tax returns
10.7 million taxpayers submitted their 2019/20 Self Assessment tax returns

10 February 2021


HMRC has revealed that more than 10.7 million taxpayers submitted their 2019/20 Self Assessment tax returns by the 31 January deadline. The remaining 1.8 million whose tax return is now late will not be charged a late filing penalty provided they submit their return online by 28 February. Taxpayers who did not pay their Self ...

LITRG calls for a rise in the High Income Child Benefit Charge threshold
LITRG calls for a rise in the High Income Child Benefit Charge threshold

8 February 2021


The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has urged the government to raise the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) threshold to avoid it affecting basic-rate taxpayers for the first time in April 2021. The LITRG stated that this goes against the original policy intent, and is ‘likely to cause the government additional difficulties in raising ...

Bonus of £1,000 to help businesses take on trainees
Bonus of £1,000 to help businesses take on trainees

4 February 2021


The government has announced that employers can now apply for a £1,000 bonus, a cash boost, to help them take on new trainees. The new scheme will support young people to gain the skills and experience they need from the start, helping them to get a job, an apprenticeship, or to pursue further study. The ...

Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax
Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

2 February 2021


As part of the Scottish Budget, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes also announced changes to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which apply from 1 April 2021. The Scottish Government’s stated policy priority for residential LBTT remains to help first-time buyers and to assist people as they progress through the property market. The current rates and ...

Scottish Budget Income Tax
Scottish Budget Income Tax

2 February 2021


Finance Secretary Kate Forbes delivered the 2021/22 Scottish Draft Budget on Thursday 28 January 2021, setting out the Scottish Government’s financial and tax plans. The Government has devolved powers to set the rates and bands of income tax (other than those for savings and dividend income) which apply to Scottish resident taxpayers. The Scottish Budget ...

VAT Deferral
VAT Deferral

15 January 2021


HMRC has issued some guidance to taxpayers that deferred their VAT payments between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make. HMRC is advising taxpayers who deferred their VAT payments to: pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021 or opt in to the VAT deferral new ...

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

12 January 2021


HMRC is advising the self employed that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been extended. Taxpayers who were not eligible for the first and second grant will not be eligible for the third. To make a claim for the third grant the taxpayer’s business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 ...

Institute of Directors warns Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rise would adversely affect entrepreneurs
Institute of Directors warns Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rise would adversely affect entrepreneurs

8 January 2021


The Institute of Directors (IoD) has warned the government that a rise in CGT would affect Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit. The business group believes CGT could be targeted by the Treasury and increased in order to help put public finances back on a stable footing following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Tej Parikh, Chief Economist at the ...

Chancellor announces £4.6 billion lockdown grant package
Chancellor announces £4.6 billion lockdown grant package

7 January 2021


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new £4.6 billion package of grants to support businesses through the latest national lockdown. UK businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to be given one-off grants worth up to £9,000. The payments are expected to support 600,000 business properties across the UK. A further £594 million ...

Extension of the Job Retention Scheme
Extension of the Job Retention Scheme

2 January 2021


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of April 2021. Businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) can make use of the CJRS until the end of April, with the government continuing to pay 80% of employees’ salaries for hours not worked. Employers will only be required to ...

Brexit imports and exports
Brexit imports and exports

12 November 2020


From 1 January 2021, the UK will operate a full external border with the EU, which will entail major changes for imports and exports to and from the trading bloc. From 1 January 2021, declarations will be needed to import or export specific (limited) goods categorised as ‘controlled’. However, for non-controlled goods brought from the ...

Chancellor approves grants for businesses closed by lockdown
Chancellor approves grants for businesses closed by lockdown

11 November 2020


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced approved additional funding for cash grants to support businesses required to close in England due to the lockdown. Those businesses affected will be eligible for the following: For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks For properties ...

Increased support made available for the self employed
Increased support made available for the self employed

9 November 2020


The government has increased the support available to self-employed workers and extended its emergency business loan schemes as the UK heads for a second national lockdown. On 5 November Rishi Sunak announced an increase in the level of the third instalment of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) from 55% to 80% of average trading profits ...

ATT issues last call for firms seeking to use increased Annual Investment Allowance
ATT issues last call for firms seeking to use increased Annual Investment Allowance

7 November 2020


The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) has issued a last call for businesses looking to make use of the increased Annual Investment Allowance (AIA). The AIA will be reduced from £1 million to £200,000 from 1 January 2021. Businesses that incur significant expenditure on plant and machinery before the end of this year are likely ...

Furlough scheme extended
Furlough scheme extended

6 November 2020


On 5 November, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that as part of the new national lockdown the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021. This announcement updates the Prime Minister’s previous announcement on 31 October that the CJRS would be extended for a month until December. The scheme has ...

Self assessment customers to benefit from enhanced payment plans
Self assessment customers to benefit from enhanced payment plans

30 October 2020


Self assessment taxpayers are now able to benefit from enhanced payment plans and can apply online for additional support to help spread their tax bill into monthly payments. The online payment plan service was already able to set up instalment arrangements for paying tax liabilities up to £10,000. From 1 October 2020, HMRC increased the ...

Latest guidance for employers
Latest guidance for employers

29 October 2020


HMRC has published the latest issue of the Employer Bulletin. The October issue has information on various topics including: coronavirus support schemes and what employers need to do from November onwards National Insurance Number delays Guidance on off payroll working rules (IR35) grants for businesses that complete customs declarations new Employment Allowance status option on ...

54,800 customers claim tax relief for working from home
54,800 customers claim tax relief for working from home

21 October 2020


HMRC has received more than 54,800 claims from taxpayers using a new online portal which allows workers to claim tax relief for working at home. From 6 April 2020, employers have been able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they have had to work from home. Launched ...

Winter Economy Plan support for the self-employed
Winter Economy Plan support for the self-employed

6 October 2020


As part of the Winter Economy Plan the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended under the name SEISS Grant Extension. The grant: will be limited to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS, and will be available to individuals who are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due ...

VAT deferral and enhanced Time to Pay for self assessment
VAT deferral and enhanced Time to Pay for self assessment

5 October 2020


Over half a million businesses deferred VAT payments, which were due in March to June 2020, with these payments becoming due at the end of March 2021. As part of the Winter Economy Plan the government has now announced the option for such businesses to spread their payments over the financial year 2021/22. Businesses will ...

Job Support Scheme
Job Support Scheme

3 October 2020


The existing job support scheme, the furlough scheme, comes to an end on 31 October. As part of the Winter Economy Plan the government announced it will be introducing a new Job Support Scheme from 1 November 2020. For employers to participate in the scheme: employees will need to work a minimum of 33% of ...

The VAT reverse charge
The VAT reverse charge

2 October 2020


HMRC has issued detailed guidance on the domestic reverse charge changes scheduled for 1 March 2021. The reverse charge represents part of a government clampdown on VAT fraud. Large amounts of VAT are lost through ‘missing trader’ fraud. As part of this type of fraud, VAT is charged by a supplier, who then disappears, along ...

Changes to the Bounce Back Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes
Changes to the Bounce Back Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes

1 October 2020


The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has provided support to many UK-based small businesses. Loans are between £2,000 and £50,000, capped at 25% of turnover, with a 100% government guarantee to the lender. The borrower does not have to make any repayments for the first 12 months, with the government covering the first 12 months’ ...

Ministers announce new grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns
Ministers announce new grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns

30 September 2020


Businesses in England that are required to shut because of local interventions will now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks. To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they ...

Self assessment deadlines
Self assessment deadlines

8 September 2020


Two self assessment deadlines are approaching: 5th October 2020 For those individuals who have not previously completed a tax return but need to report a liability for 2019/20. 31st October 2020 For those individuals who have previously submitted ‘paper’ self assessment tax returns the deadline for the 2019/20 return is 31 October 2020. Returns submitted ...

Kickstart Scheme opens for applications
Kickstart Scheme opens for applications

3 September 2020


On 2 September 2020, the government’s £2 billion Kickstart Scheme opened for employer applications. The scheme is part of the Plan for Jobs announced during Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s July Summer Economic Update. The Kickstart Scheme aims to create work placements for young people who are at risk of becoming unemployed for the long-term. Businesses can ...

Plastic bag tax charge to be doubled and extended to all retailers
Plastic bag tax charge to be doubled and extended to all retailers

1 September 2020


The fee for plastic shopping bags in England will be doubled to 10 pence and extended to all shops from April 2021. Small retailers, those employing 250 people or fewer, will no longer be exempt, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said. According to Defra, since the charge was first introduced in ...

HMRC latest guidance for employers
HMRC latest guidance for employers

29 August 2020


HMRC has published the latest edition of the Employer Bulletin. This guidance for employers, and their agents, includes articles on: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and what employers need to do from August onwards making sure you are paying the correct workplace pension contributions new laws to ensure furloughed employees receive full statutory redundancy payments the ...

Advisory fuel rates for company cars
Advisory fuel rates for company cars

27 August 2020


New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which take effect from 1 September 2020. The rates only apply to employees using a company car. The guidance states: ‘You can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply.’  The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on ...

Eat Out to Help Out – over 64 million meals
Eat Out to Help Out – over 64 million meals

26 August 2020


The government has announced that more than 64 million meals were enjoyed by diners across the country during the government’s Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme. The scheme closed on 31 August 2020. Government figures show that restaurants had claimed for more than 64 million discounted meals as Eat Out to Help Out entered ...

More than £30 million lost to pension scams
More than £30 million lost to pension scams

26 August 2020


Over £30 million has been lost to pension scams since 2017, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR). A total of £30,857,329 in pension savings has been lost to scammers since 2017, data published by the FCA and the TPR revealed. Reported losses ranged from under £1,000 to as much ...

Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grants
Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grants

19 August 2020


HMRC are inviting those individuals that are self employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus to claim a second grant under the Self Employed Income Support Grant. Applications for the first grant under the scheme closed on 13 July 2020. The second and final taxable grant is worth ...

Eat Out To Help Out now up and running
Eat Out To Help Out now up and running

2 August 2020


On 1 August, the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme began operating at eateries across the country. The scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Summer Economic Update. It provides a 50% reduction of up to £10, for sit-down meals in participating cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to ...

HMRC outlines Job Retention Bonus criteria
HMRC outlines Job Retention Bonus criteria

1 August 2020


HMRC has outlined the eligibility requirements for the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) that follows the furlough scheme as part of the government’s measures to support the economy through the COVID-19 lockdown. The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October 2020 and the JRB aims to provide additional support to employers who keep on ...

Wales reduces LTT rate
Wales reduces LTT rate

28 July 2020


On 27 July, the Welsh government reduced the rate of Land Transaction Tax (LTT) following the cuts made to SDLT and LTT across the rest of the UK. LTT is payable by the purchaser of residential or non-residential property occurring in Wales. From 27 July 2020, the starting threshold for residential LTT rose from £180,000 ...

Government announces review of business rates scheme
Government announces review of business rates scheme

22 July 2020


The government has published a call for evidence on the overhaul of the business rates system that applies in England. The government announced at the 2020 Budget in March that it would conduct a review of the business rates system in England. It is seeking views from businesses, business representative organisations, local authorities, rating agents, ...

Treasury sets out next steps for Making Tax Digital
Treasury sets out next steps for Making Tax Digital

22 July 2020


On 21 July, the Treasury set out the next steps in its plan to extend Making Tax Digital (MTD) to all businesses and those taxpayers that file self assessment returns. Currently, businesses above the VAT threshold of £85,000 are required to comply with Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTD for VAT). From April 2022, the ...

Chancellor asks OTS to review capital gains tax
Chancellor asks OTS to review capital gains tax

19 July 2020


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has asked the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to carry out a thorough review of capital gains tax (CGT). In a letter to the OTS, the Chancellor requested that the independent office review CGT and aspects of the taxation of chargeable gains in regard to individuals and small businesses. Mr Sunak requested ...

Overclaimed COVID grants
Overclaimed COVID grants

16 July 2020


Taxpayers who have received CJRS or SEISS grants are urged to doublecheck their entitlement as the 90 day period to inform HMRC of any overclaimed amounts is now law. Finance Act 2020 includes legislation that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and coronavirus business ...

Scottish government cuts LBTT to help home buyers
Scottish government cuts LBTT to help home buyers

16 July 2020


On 15 July, the Scottish government reduced the rate of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) following a similar reduction to the rate of residential Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the recent Summer Economic Update. LBTT is payable by the purchaser in a land transaction occurring in Scotland. SDLT ...

Chancellor unveils three-point plan for jobs
Chancellor unveils three-point plan for jobs

10 July 2020


On 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a three-point plan to support jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when he delivered a Summer Economic Update to Parliament. Mr Sunak confirmed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will end as planned this October. The Chancellor said furloughing had been the right measure to protect ...

Stamp duty temporarily reduced
Stamp duty temporarily reduced

8 July 2020


Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary cut in the rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in order to boost confidence in the flagging housing market in his Summer Economic Update. Property transactions fell by 50% in May this year and house prices have fallen for the first time in eight years. In response, the ...

Flexible furloughing starts on job retention scheme
Flexible furloughing starts on job retention scheme

2 July 2020


On 1 July, changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) saw flexible furloughing introduced, so employees will no longer have to be furloughed for a minimum period of three weeks. Following the change the CJRS has more flexibility to allow claims on a pro rata basis. Employers will be able to permit employees to ...

Late payment crisis has worsened during Coronavirus lockdown
Late payment crisis has worsened during Coronavirus lockdown

1 July 2020


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that the UK’s late payment crisis has worsened during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. 62% of small businesses have been subject to late or frozen payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research carried out by the FSB. Just 10% of small firms have agreed changes to payment ...

Government expands aid for start-ups and innovators
Government expands aid for start-ups and innovators

28 June 2020


The government has expanded its COVID-19 support for start-ups and innovative companies with the launch of a new fund. On 27 June the government announced the Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF), which is aimed at helping businesses to keep ‘cutting edge’ projects and ideas alive during the pandemic. The SIF will make almost £200 million available ...

Bank of England increases stimulus package for UK economy
Bank of England increases stimulus package for UK economy

19 June 2020


On 18 June, the Bank of England increased the stock of purchases of UK government bonds by an additional £100 billion to help boost the UK economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The £100 billion in additional quantitative easing funds takes the total to £745 billion. The MPC also voted to cut the cost of ...

MPs open inquiry into £155 billion of tax reliefs
MPs open inquiry into £155 billion of tax reliefs

17 June 2020


The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has opened an inquiry into the UK’s management of £155 billion of tax relief. The inquiry follows the February publication of a National Audit Office (NAO) report that identified over 300 such tax interventions, totalling £155 billion per year. The NAO raised concerns about the effectiveness of management of tax ...

UK sets out post-Brexit tariff regime
UK sets out post-Brexit tariff regime

17 June 2020


The UK government published its plans for a new import tariff regime following the end of the Brexit transition period. Following its departure from the EU, the UK has the ability to set its own rules and charges. The scheme includes the abolition of tariffs on imports worth over £30 billion, although economists say the ...

Changes to insolvency and company law going through Parliament
Changes to insolvency and company law going through Parliament

17 June 2020


The government is making changes to insolvency and company law as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill outlines that struggling companies will be given extra time to consider rescue plans presented to them. As part of the changes, companies will have 20 business days to consider a rescue plan, ...

COVID-19: delay to VAT reverse charge on construction services
COVID-19: delay to VAT reverse charge on construction services

10 June 2020


On 5 June 2020, HMRC announced a five-month delay to the introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector. The change will now apply from 1 March 2021 and will overhaul the way VAT is payable on building and construction invoices as ...

Chancellor announces changes to Job Retention Scheme
Chancellor announces changes to Job Retention Scheme

5 June 2020


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced changes to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), which will be slowly wound down between July and October. The changes mean businesses will be able to bring furloughed employees back on a part-time basis from 1 July. Furloughed staff will continue to get 80% of their salary until the ...

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme goes live
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme goes live

1 June 2020


On 26 May 2020, HMRC opened up its Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate claim service. Eligible employers are able to recoup up to two weeks’ worth of SSP payments made to employees off work for COVID-19-related reasons since 13 March 2020 (16 March 2020 if the employee was shielding). This is an ongoing scheme for ...

FCA confirms further support for consumer credit customers
FCA confirms further support for consumer credit customers

30 May 2020


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed further support for users of certain consumer credit products if they are experiencing temporary payment difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic. The measures outline the options firms will provide for credit card, revolving credit and personal loan customers who are coming to the end of a payment freeze. ...

Loan size increased to £200 million under large business interruption scheme
Loan size increased to £200 million under large business interruption scheme

28 May 2020


Several changes to the CLBILS scheme have taken effect from 26 May. The government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) from £50 million to £200 million. However, companies borrowing more than £50 million through the CLBILS will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and ...

Future Fund launches to give start-ups coronavirus support
Future Fund launches to give start-ups coronavirus support

25 May 2020


On 20 May 2020, the government launched its Future Fund package, which aims to support start-up businesses not eligible for other COVID-19 rescue measures. The Future Fund offers government loans of between £125,000 and £5 million to UK-incorporated companies, provided private investors at least match the funding supplied by the state. The package is aimed ...

Private sector off-payroll reforms given go ahead for April 2021
Private sector off-payroll reforms given go ahead for April 2021

22 May 2020


The introduction of off-payroll rules to the private sector will go ahead as planned next April after an attempt to delay them failed in the House of Commons. The reforms of the off-payroll rules to the private sector, which are known as IR35 and have applied to the public sector since 2017, was reviewed earlier ...

HMRC extends late reporting deadline for CGT
HMRC extends late reporting deadline for CGT

20 May 2020


HMRC has confirmed it will not charge penalties for the late reporting of capital gains tax (CGT) on disposals of UK residential property by UK residents made by 31 July 2020. On 6 April changes were made so that if a UK resident sells a residential property in the UK, they now have 30 days ...

Government borrowing could rise to £300 billion
Government borrowing could rise to £300 billion

20 May 2020


The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has suggested that government borrowing may rise to £300 billion in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The think tank has been working to estimate the cost of the COVID-19 crisis to the government’s finances, and has incorporated official data from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). ...

Government launches support finding tool for business
Government launches support finding tool for business

18 May 2020


The UK government launched an online platform to help businesses access financial support during the COVID-19 crisis. The Coronavirus Business Support Finder Tool will guide businesses through the range of loans, tax reliefs and cash grants to combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 lockdown. The tool asks business owners to fill out a ...

HMRC releases guidance for self-employed scheme
HMRC releases guidance for self-employed scheme

14 May 2020


HMRC has released guidance on the COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Under the scheme, self-employed individuals will be able to claim a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years. To be eligible, workers must have filed all relevant income tax self assessment returns; have traded in the 2018/19 ...

Government launches small business micro loan scheme
Government launches small business micro loan scheme

11 May 2020


On 4 May 2020 the government launched a micro loan scheme for small businesses as it continues to try and mitigate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme allows small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 to apply for up to £50,000, with the government guaranteeing 100% of the ...

New tests and new car benefit percentages
New tests and new car benefit percentages

6 May 2020


As part of its drive to encourage green motoring, the government has introduced a new emissions test, as well as new car benefit percentages. The scale of charges for working out the taxable benefit for an employee who has use of an employer provided car is computed by reference to bands of CO2 emissions multiplied ...

Get ready for 30-day returns and payments for residential property gains
Get ready for 30-day returns and payments for residential property gains

6 May 2020


Legislation has been enacted to change reporting obligations for residential property gains chargeable on UK resident individuals, trustees and personal representatives. Also introduced is a requirement to make a payment on account of the associated capital gains tax (CGT) liability. For disposals made on or after 6 April 2020: a standalone tax return is required ...

OBR predicts UK economy will shrink by over a third
OBR predicts UK economy will shrink by over a third

5 May 2020


The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned that the UK economy could shrink by 35% this quarter due to the COVID-19 crisis. The OBR said that the outcome was modelled on an assumption that the current lockdown would last for three months. It stated that a three-month lockdown followed by three months of partial ...

HMRC urges businesses using VAT deferral to cancel direct debits
HMRC urges businesses using VAT deferral to cancel direct debits

5 May 2020


Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and are seeking to make use of the VAT deferral have been urged to cancel their direct debits ‘as soon as they can’. Businesses are advised to contact their bank to cancel their direct debits as soon as possible. UK VAT-registered businesses with a VAT payment ...

Lenders relax evidence requirements for business interruption loan scheme applications
Lenders relax evidence requirements for business interruption loan scheme applications

30 April 2020


On 27 April 2020 the UK’s seven largest small business lenders announced they had relaxed their evidence requirements for applications to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The lenders will use their own information when processing and approving applications, rather than relying on businesses providing forecasts and business plans. In a joint statement, the ...

HMRC delays introduction of off-payroll rules to private sector
HMRC delays introduction of off-payroll rules to private sector

24 April 2020


HMRC has delayed the introduction of off-payroll rules to the private sector as part of its measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The reforms will shift the responsibility for assessing employment status to the organisations employing individuals. The rules would have applied to contractors working for medium and large organisations in the private ...

Job Retention Scheme goes live
Job Retention Scheme goes live

22 April 2020


On 20 April 2020 the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live for applications. The scheme allows businesses to furlough their employees, with the government paying 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open for four months and was backdated from 1 March 2020 to the ...

Regulators request delay in corporate reporting
Regulators request delay in corporate reporting

22 April 2020


Financial regulators have requested a moratorium on corporate financial reports for at least two weeks. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been communicating with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) about a package of measures to ‘reinforce trust in the reporting system’. These will be aimed at ensuring companies and ...

Chancellor unveils help for self-employed workers
Chancellor unveils help for self-employed workers

15 April 2020


On 26 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a scheme to help self-employed workers who have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Under the scheme, the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years. The grant will cover up to 80% of earnings, up ...

Chancellor’s business support packages for coronavirus pandemic
Chancellor’s business support packages for coronavirus pandemic

10 April 2020


On 17 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £330 billion package of support for the UK economy as it combats the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures dwarf the £12 billion made available in the 2020 Budget. The package includes an increase in government-backed loans, higher cash grants, widened business rates relief for some sectors and mortgage ...

Rise in contactless card payment limit
Rise in contactless card payment limit

6 April 2020


From 1 April the spending limit for contactless card payments rose from £30 to £45. The decision to increase the payment limit was reached following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry, and echoes similar increases in other European countries. UK Finance stated that the change had been under consideration before ...

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