BUSINESS NEWS – 20th September 2021

Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

UK Autumn and Winter Covid Plan

Last week the Prime Minister set out the government’s plan to manage Covid throughout autumn and winter and the government will aim to sustain this progress through building defences through pharmaceutical interventions, identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission, supporting the NHS and social care, advising people on how to protect themselves and others and pursuing an international approach.


Vaccines will continue to be the first line of defence. All those who were vaccinated during Phase 1 of the vaccine programme (priority groups 1 to 9) will be offered booster jabs from this month – to boost immunity amongst the most vulnerable groups during winter.

The Test, Trace and Isolate programme will continue with symptomatic PCR testing continuing throughout the autumn and winter.
Lateral flow tests will also remain free of charge but at a later stage, as the response to the virus changes, this will end, and individuals and businesses will be expected to bear the cost.
The legal obligation to self-isolate for those who have tested positive, and their unvaccinated contacts will continue, and the financial support payment for those self-isolating on certain benefits will continue in its current format until the end of March.
The coming few months could pose renewed challenges and it is difficult to predict the path of the virus so there will be a range of ‘Plan B’ measures kept under review to help control transmission of the virus while minimising economic and social damage.

Plan B would include:
• Introducing mandatory vaccine only Covid status certification in certain, riskier settings.
• Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings, such as public transport and shops.
• Communicating clearly and urgently to the public if the risk level increases.
The government could also consider asking people to work from home again if necessary, but a final decision on this would be made at the time, dependent on the latest data – recognising the extra disruption this causes to individuals and businesses.
See: Prime Minister sets out autumn and winter Covid plan – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


New system for International travel
Eight countries will move from the red list on 22 September and the rules for international travel to England will change on 4 October 2021.
The current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries and territories and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world from Monday 4 October at 4am.
Testing requirements will also be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, who will no longer need to take a PDT when travelling to England from Monday 4 October 4am.
See: New system for international travel – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Plastic Packaging Tax Starts 1 April 2022
The legislation to introduce the new Plastic Packaging Tax is included in the Finance Act 2021. Secondary legislation will be introduced later in the year. Until the secondary legislation becomes law, the contents of the HMRC Policy Paper are subject to change. More guidance will be published later in the year. You must continue to comply with all regulatory requirements for plastic packaging in other legislation.


HMRC Guidance published on 19 September provides a high level overview of Plastic Packaging Tax.
If you are a business that manufactures or imports 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period you will need to register for the tax. This is regardless of whether you will have to pay any tax. This includes importers of packaging which already contains goods, such as plastic bottles filled with drinks. Where the packaging you import already contains other goods, the tax only applies to the plastic packaging itself.
If you are a business that needs to register for the tax, you will need to pay Plastic Packaging Tax on any packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. The tax will be charged at £200 per tonne. For example, if you manufacture 10 tonnes of plastic packaging, and 1 tonne contains less than 30% recycled plastic, you will need to pay £200.
The online service to register and pay will be available on 1 April 2022 when the tax takes effect.
Find more information on the scope of the tax, who is liable to register and pay, and other requirements.

No capital allowances for plant and machinery installed in Houses of Multiple Occupation
HMRC have recently confirmed their view that common areas in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) are parts of a “dwelling house” and ineligible for capital allowance claims.
The capital allowance legislation specifically denies tax relief for plant and machinery installed in a dwelling house. However, plant and machinery installed in the common areas such as hallways, stairs and lift shafts, in blocks of flats would qualify as the flats themselves are the dwellings, not the building as a whole.
This would seem inconsistent with the HMRC view on HMOs and there may be a test case on the interpretation, particularly as there is no definition of “dwelling house” in the tax legislation. There is also a lack of clarity concerning the status of University Halls of residence where there is often substantial expenditure on plant and machinery in common areas.
See: CA11520 – Capital Allowances Manual – HMRC internal manual – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and CA23060 – Capital Allowances Manual – HMRC internal manual – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

End of temporary insolvency measures
Temporary insolvency restrictions protections are being lifted and new targeted measures to support small business and commercial tenants introduced. The Insolvency Service has announced that Temporary measures brought in to support businesses from insolvency during the pandemic will be phased out from 1 October.
Companies in financial distress as a result of the pandemic have been protected from creditor action since June last year, through the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. This was to ensure that viable businesses affected by the restrictions on trading during the lockdown periods were not forced into insolvency unnecessarily. As the economy returns to normal trading conditions, the restrictions on creditor actions will be lifted.
New legislation will be made to help smaller companies get back on their feet to give them more time to trade their way back to financial health before creditors can take action to wind them up.
The new legislation will:
• Protect businesses from creditors insisting on repayment of relatively small debts by temporarily raising the current debt threshold for a winding up petition to £10,000 or more.
• Require creditors to seek proposals for payment from a debtor business, giving them 21 days for a response before they can proceed with winding up action.
These measures will be in force until 31 March 2022.
Businesses should pay contractual rents where they are able to do so. However, the existing restrictions will remain on commercial landlords from presenting winding up petitions against limited companies to repay commercial rent arrears built up during the pandemic. 
Continuing the restriction on winding up, in respect of commercial rent only, supports the UK government statement that commercial tenants will continue to be protected from eviction until 31 March 2022, whilst the government implements a rent arbitration scheme to deal with commercial rent debts accrued during the pandemic.
See: End of temporary insolvency measures – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Enterprise Nation Female Start-up of the Year 2021
The Female Start-up of the Year award celebrates the best of British female entrepreneurship in the UK. Whether you have created an incredible product, offer an amazing service or you are doing something truly different with your business, Enterprise Nation want to hear from you.
The judges are looking for a clear direction for the future of entrants’ start-up with a vision, purpose and mission. In return, there are business-boosting prizes and opportunities on offer to the winner.
Applications close at 5pm on Wednesday 22 September 2021, for further information visit the Enterprise Nation website.

VAT rate reduction for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions.
The reduced VAT rate of 5% has been extended until 30 September 2021. Following this, an interim rate of 12.5% will be in place for a further six months with the standard rate of 20% returning in April 2022.
If you are a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions.
Hospitality:
If you supply food and non-alcoholic beverages for consumption on your premises, for example, a restaurant, café or pub, you’re currently required to charge VAT at the standard rate of 20%. However, when you make these supplies between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2021 you will only need to charge 5%.
You will also be able to charge the reduced rate of VAT on your supplies of hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic drinks.
More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Catering, takeaway food (VAT Notice 709/1).
Hotel and holiday accommodation:
You will also benefit from the temporary reduced rate if you:
• supply sleeping accommodation in a hotel or similar establishment
• make certain supplies of holiday accommodation
• charge fees for caravan pitches and associated facilities
• charge fees for tent pitches or camping facilities
More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Hotels and holiday accommodation (VAT Notice 709/3).
Admission to certain attractions:
If you charge a fee for admission to certain attractions where the supplies are currently standard rated, you will only need to charge the reduced rate of VAT between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2021.
However, if the fee you charge for admission is currently exempt, that will take precedence and your supplies will not qualify for the reduced rate.
More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in VAT: Admission charges to attractions.
For the full details including the Flat Rate Scheme, The Tour Operators Margin Scheme, Retail Schemes and Accounting for supplies that straddle the temporary reduced rate see: VAT: reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Applications are now open for Rising Stars 4.0
The competition for innovative, early-stage tech companies has been designed to showcase the best the country has to offer, providing a platform for businesses from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to shine bright.
Entrants are supported throughout the application process and given training and support at each stage of the competition to enable you to compete to ensure your business is investor ready and deliver the perfect pitch in front of leading investors, influencers and corporates.
There is a live Q&A session taking place on the 29 September, where you can find out what’s required and what you can expect as part of the process. You will also have the chance to ask any specific questions you have. Applications close on 20 October 2021.
See: Rising Stars – UK pitch competition for early-stage tech startups – Tech Nation

Kickstart Scheme for employers
Employers of all sizes can apply for funding to create jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit. Employers can spread the job start dates up until 31 December 2021. You will get funding until 30 June 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 December 2021.
Further funding is available to provide support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future. You will get £1,500 funding per job. This should be spent on setup costs and supporting the young person to develop their employability skills such as training and employability support (provided by you, a Kickstart gateway or another provider), IT equipment and software and uniform or Personal Protective Equipment.
You can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either applying online yourself or applying through a Kickstart gateway who is already working with the Kickstart Scheme.
The funding covers:
• 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
• associated employer National Insurance contributions
• minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions
See: How the Kickstart Scheme works – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Young people aged 12 to 15 to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine
People aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced.
The government has accepted the advice of the four UK CMOs and the NHS is preparing to deliver a schools-based vaccination programme, which is the successful model used for vaccinations including for HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP), supported by GPs and community pharmacies. Invitations for vaccination begin this week.
See: Young people aged 12 to 15 to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

NOTIFY OPTION TO TAX LAND AND BUILDINGS WITHIN 30 DAYS

If you are notifying HMRC of a decision to opt to tax land and buildings, you are normally required to notify HMRC within 30 days. The 30 day deadline was temporarily extended to 90 days to help businesses and agents during the pandemic, but that temporary extension has now ended for decisions made from 1 August 2021 onwards.

Supplies of land and buildings, such leasing or renting out a property, are normally exempt from VAT. This means that no VAT is payable, but the person making the supply cannot normally recover any of the VAT incurred on property expenses.

However it is possible to waive the exemption, or “opt to tax” the land. For the purposes of VAT, the term ‘land’ includes any buildings or structures permanently affixed to it.

Once you have opted to tax all the supplies you make of your interest in the land or buildings will normally be standard-rated, and this will normally enable you to recover any VAT you incur in making those supplies.

ACCOUNTING FOR IMPORT VAT ON YOUR VAT RETURN

HMRC have recently updated their guidance on accounting for VAT on goods imported from outside the UK which, since Brexit, includes the European Union.

Businesses registered for VAT in the UK can account for import VAT on their VAT Return for goods imported into:

  • Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from anywhere outside the UK

  • Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU

Businesses can also account for import VAT for goods moved between Great Britain and Northern Ireland that are declared into a customs special procedure, when they are removed from that special procedure.

You do not need HMRC approval to account for import VAT on your VAT Return.

Accounting for import VAT on your VAT Return has significant cash flow benefits as you declare and recover import VAT on the same VAT Return, rather than having to pay it upfront when the goods are imported and recover it later.

BIG TAX BILLS FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED IN 2022/23

Last month we mentioned that draft legislation has been published to change the basis periods for the assessment of self-employed profits to coincide with the tax year. The proposed new rules provide that from 2023/24 onwards profits or losses will be apportioned to tax years where the period of account does not coincide with the tax year. This is intended to coincide with the start of Making Tax Digital for income tax.

The transitional rules proposed for the previous 2022/23 tax year could result in large tax bills for some sole traders and partners, particularly those with an existing 30 April year end. The profits of year ended 30 April 2021 would be taxed in 2021/22 under the current rules with 2023/24 taxing profits arising between 6 April 2023 and 5 April 2024 under the new rules. But what about 2022/23?

The profits taxed in 2022/23 would be those for year ended 30 April 2022 plus the period 1 May 2022 to 5 April 2023 – in total 23 months profits!

The good news is that there would be a deduction for 11 months “overlap relief” which typically arose when profits were taxed twice at the start of the business – but those will often be much lower than the extra 11 months being taxed in 2022/23!

The transitional provisions allow the taxpayer to elect to spread the excess profits over the next 5 tax years to smooth out the excessive tax bill.

We can work with you to advise you on how much to set aside to cover these additional tax liabilities.

BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE – 13th September 2021

Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

New health and social care Levy to be introduced across the UK to provide extra cash to reform the Health and Social care systems in England.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last Tuesday that the proposed increases in National Insurance Contributions and dividend tax would raise £36bn for frontline services in the next three years and be the “biggest catch-up programme in the history of the NHS”. He accepted the tax and NIC increases broke a manifesto pledge, but said the global pandemic was in no one’s manifesto.

The Prime Minister is thus standing by his statement on entering Downing Street that the Government would address the funding needs of the Social Care system and will adopt many of the measures originally proposed in the Dilnot Commission Report back in 2011.

The can has been metaphorically kicked down the road by previous Governments but the current Government plans to address the issue. Currently, anyone in England with assets over £23,250 must pay for their care in full resulting in many families having to sell the family home to pay care fees. The proposals announced by the Prime Minister will limit the amount that anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care in their lifetime to £86,000 from October 2023.

Also from October 2023, anyone with assets of less than £20,000 will not have to make any contribution for their care from their savings or the value of their home, ensuring those with the least are protected. Anyone with assets of between £20,000 and £100,000 will be eligible for some means-tested support, helping people without substantial assets.

Those above State Pension Age who are earning or self-employed will start paying NIC and the new Health and Social Care Levy from 2023/24.

Proposed NIC and Dividend Tax Rates

It is proposed that there will be a 1.25% rise in National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2022 paid by both employers and workers and will then become a separate tax on earned income from 2023 – calculated in the same way as NIC and appearing on an employee’s payslip. Note that the 1.25% increase applies to the Class 4 contributions paid by the self-employed on their profits as well as the Class 1 contributions paid by employees increasing the rates to 10.25% and 13.25%. The employers Class 1 rate will increase from 12.8% to 14.05% however many small businesses are able to set off a £4,000 employment allowance against their employers NIC liability.

Many workers operating through personal service companies to whom the new “off-payroll” working rules apply will also be caught by the proposed measures.

The 1.25% additional levy doesn’t just apply to national insurance contributions, it is proposed that the income from share dividends, earned by those who own shares in companies, will also see a 1.25% tax increase. This would mean that after the £2,000 tax free dividend allowance the rate of tax would be 8.75% for basic rate taxpayers, 33.75% for higher rate taxpayers and 39.35% for those with income in excess of £150,000 a year.

Details of the proposals are set out in the following document: 6.7688_CO_Command paper cover_060921 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Autumn Budget set for 27 October

The government has confirmed on 7th September that a full Spending Review (SR) will be held alongside the Budget on 27 October, and published its overall spending ‘envelope’ – the total pot of money to be allocated between departments at the SR. These new spending plans cover 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 and represent a return to multi-year budgeting which have proved impossible during the pandemic.

See: An initial response to the Prime Minister’s announcement on health, social care and National Insurance – Institute For Fiscal Studies – IFS

UK Economy latest

The office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest analysis of growth for the production, services and construction industries in the UK economy between February 2020 and July 2021, highlighting the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The easing of all coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in England on July 19 contributed to monthly gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 0.1% between June 2021 and July 2021; however, GDP remained 2.1% below its level in February 2020, which was the most recent month not significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The July 2021 growth in GDP was led by a month-on-month rise of 1.2% in production, although this sector remained 2.1% below its February 2020 level; the rise was led by the mining and quarrying sector (contributing 0.16 percentage points of positive growth to GDP), with the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas industry growing by 28.0%.

See: Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

Claiming back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees.

HMRC have updated the guidance to confirm that employers can only claim for employees who were off work on or before 30 September 2021.

The online service you could use to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available.

See: Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Free Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Webinar

This webinar from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is designed to help employers understand Statutory Sick Pay Payments.

HMRC will look at who qualifies, how to calculate statutory sick pay and when to pay it, explain terms such as qualifying days and linking periods and highlight some of the differences in the rules about payments to employees who are sick or self-isolating because of coronavirus. This webinar takes place on 26 October 2021.

To register see: Registration (gotowebinar.com)

Audience of the Future funding for early-stage projects

Apply for a share of up to £800,000 for early-stage, human-centred design projects in creative or immersive experiences. Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £800,000 to fund early-stage, human-centred design projects through the Audience of the Future Challenge Fund. The aim of this competition is to support early-stage projects to generate ideas that meet customer needs, using research and human-centred design principles. Fast, low-cost prototyping and user testing of those ideas is also within scope.

Your proposal must deliver well-defined, user-validated ideas ready for further technical research and development (R&D) and discover insights about the problem space, consumer motivations and behaviours.

Projects must explore innovation opportunities in one or more of the following themes:

  • designing for Net Zero
  • design for Build Back Better
  • design for Cross Sector Immersive Projects

Projects must include activities or work packages that:

  • discover customer perceptions, motivations, and behaviour
  • define the problem statement and pinpoint the characteristics necessary to make any solution desirable and fit for purpose
  • deliver clearly communicated ideas that have been validated through fast, low-cost prototyping and user-testing and are ready for further technical R&D

The competition is open to single applicants and collaborations for projects with total eligible costs between £25,000 and £50,000. To lead a project, your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size. You must involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).

See: Competition overview – Audience of the Future – Design Foundations 2 – Innovation Funding Service (apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk)

Red Diesel Replacement competition

The Red Diesel Replacement competition aims to accelerate the commercialisation of low carbon red diesel alternatives. The £40 million Red Diesel Replacement competition aims to support the development and demonstration of low carbon fuel and system alternatives to red diesel for the construction, and mining and quarrying sectors. The competition will support the decarbonisation of these high-impact sectors that will be affected by the partial removal of the entitlement to use red diesel and rebated fuels from April 2022. The competition is being run by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and is part of the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

The purpose of the expression of interest is to raise early awareness of the competition and to gauge the level of interest. You can express your interest by following the steps below.

See: Red Diesel Replacement competition: scope of the call – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Gender Pay Gap – Reporting deadline for larger employers approaching

The extended deadline for reporting Gender Pay Gap data is approaching, with all companies with over 250 employees required to report their data by 4 October 2021.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provide a guide on doing an equal pay audit for larger organisations. The guide provides a step-by-step approach and useful templates to do an equal pay audit. It is designed to make it easy for larger businesses to examine their pay systems and decrease the risk of an equal pay claim.

An equal pay audit compares the pay of men and women doing equal work in your organisation to:

  • identify any differences in pay between men and women doing equal work
  • investigate the causes of any differences in pay between men and women doing equal work
  • eliminate instances of unequal pay that cannot be justified

Doing an audit demonstrates your commitment as an employer to remove unfair pay practices.

See: Equal pay audit for larger organisations | Equality and Human Rights Commission (equalityhumanrights.com)

Live Events Reinsurance Scheme

On 5 August, the UK government announced that it is partnering with insurers to offer a cost indemnification insurance scheme which will make cover available against the cancellation, postponement, relocation or abandonment of events due to new UK Civil Authority restrictions in response to COVID-19.

The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme will support live events across the country — such as music festivals, conferences and business events — that are at risk of being halted or delayed due to an inability to obtain COVID-19 cancellation insurance. Cover will be available to purchase alongside standard commercial events insurance for an additional premium.

In order to be eligible, event organisers must purchase the relevant cover from participating insurers within the scheme. Event organisers must also have or purchase a standard events cancellation policy (or a policy which includes event cancellation coverage) provided at least in part by a participating insurer – the cover backed by the scheme will not be offered on a standalone basis.

  • Premium is set at 5% of the total value of insured costs (plus Insurance Premium Tax).
  • Claims will be subject to an excess of 5% of the value of the insured costs or £1,000 (whichever is higher) per policy.
  • Event organisers can purchase cover up to the full cost of their event, irrespective of when those costs are incurred.
  • Cover must be purchased at least 8 weeks prior to the event taking place. This requirement will however not apply for the first 12 weeks of the scheme.

The Scheme will run to 30 September 2022 with a review point in Spring 2022. Cover will be available to purchase through participating insurers. A number of prominent insurers in the Lloyd’s market, including Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich are supporting the scheme, and the government expects more to follow. Event organisers can now start approaching these insurers to discuss their cover.

See: Live Events Reinsurance Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

UK Transition help for businesses

The Department for International Trade (DIT) have launched a new service for exporters. If you are a UK business and you want to sell goods or services abroad, use this service to ask the DIT export support team a question.

You can ask any question for your business, including on:

  • exporting to new markets
  • paperwork you need to sell your goods abroad
  • rules for a specific country where you want to sell services

See: Ask the export support team a question – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Check how to import or export goods

There is a new government tool check on how to import or export goods, which provides step by step tailored guidance. Use this service to get information about importing and exporting, including:

  • how to register your business for trading
  • which licences and certificates you need for your goods
  • paying the right tax and duty for your goods
  • how to make declarations for your goods to clear the UK border
  • which paperwork you need to keep

You will need to know:

  • where the goods are coming from or going to
  • the commodity code for the goods

See: Check how to import or export goods – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The use and risks of telephone surveys for monitoring, evaluation and research during COVID-19

Conducting surveys is one of the most effective methods for organisations collecting, monitoring, and evaluating research activity. Surveys traditionally involved face-to-face interviews, but the COVID-19 pandemic has meant telephone surveys have gained importance for organisations to continue generating evidence and ensuring informed decisions.

This guidance is for:

  • commissioners: donors and research and/or evaluation organisations and institutions commissioning data collection through phone surveys
  • suppliers and individuals conducting phone surveys
  • users: programme and policy decision-makers using information collected through phone surveys to take informed decisions

It aims to:

  • stimulate thinking and discussion for organisations to make better informed decisions on whether and how to use telephone surveys for data collection in the COVID-19 context
  • encourage commissioners and producers to establish mitigation strategies to address predictable risks and biases on telephone surveys
  • provide users of monitoring, evaluation and research products critical tools to better interpret evidence gained through phone surveys

See: How to assess the use and risks of telephone surveys for monitoring, evaluation and research during COVID-19 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update (CJRS)

Please talk to us about any issues you have with making a claim or preparing for the end of the scheme.

August furlough claims must be submitted by the deadline of Tuesday‌‌ ‌14 Sept‌‌ember.

For August and September, employers can claim 60% of furloughed employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £1,875 per month per employee. They’ll need to contribute 20% from their own funds so that furloughed employees continue to be paid at least 80% of their usual wages in total, for the hours they do not work (up to a cap of £2,500 a month).

What you need to do now:

  • work out how much you can claim, and the contribution you will need to make to reach 80% of usual wages
  • submit any claims for August, no later than Tuesday‌‌ ‌14‌‌ ‌September
  • keep records supporting the grants they claim, in case HMRC need to check them
  • make sure you continue paying CJRS-related employee tax and National Insurance contributions to HMRC, and contact them if you are struggling to pay
  • prepare for the scheme closing on‌‌ ‌30‌‌ ‌September. Final claims for September must be submitted by Thursday‌‌ ‌14‌‌ ‌October.

See: Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

CJRS – Support available for employees if you are unable to bring them back to work.

There is UK Government support available for employees through the JobHelp website, offering a range of support, training and advice, to help people find their next opportunity. This includes the Kickstart scheme and other Plan for Jobs support measures, along with advice on learning new skills and sectors which are recruiting.

See: Plan for Jobs: skills, employment and support programmes for jobseekers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update

If you are eligible for the latest SEISS grant you have until 30‌‌ ‌September to apply.

Reporting SEISS grants on tax returns:

SEISS grants are taxable and subject to National Insurance contributions, you should report any SEISS grants receivedon or before 5 April 2021 on the 2020-21 Self-Assessment tax return (filing deadline of 31‌‌ ‌January‌‌ ‌2022).

For most people, this means you need to report the first, second and third grants on the 2020-21 Self-Assessment if they were paid on or before 5 April 2021. The fourth and fifth grants should not be included in 2020-21 returns, as these were paid after 5 April 2021, and should instead go on the 2021-22 return (filing deadline of 31‌‌ ‌January‌‌ ‌2023).

Calculating turnover as a member of a partnership:

HMRC have been asked about customers who joined a partnership between April 2020 and April 2021. If you are in this situation, you need to work out the percentage share of the partnership’s turnover. It will be the same percentage of profit you took from the partnership in the 12-month period from April 2020 to April 2021. If you have other businesses, you should add the percentage share of the partnership to the turnover from these.

What not to include when calculating turnover for the fifth grant:

Anything reported as ‘any other income’ on tax returns should not be included when calculating turnover for the fifth SEISS grant. This includes things such as Universal Credit, maternity allowances, retirement income and foreign income.

You should also not include any previous coronavirus (COVID-19) support payments in the turnover, even though the payments may be taxable when calculating profit. COVID-19 support payments include:

  • previous SEISS grants
  • Eat Out to Help Out payments
  • local authority or devolved administration grants

See: Work out your turnover so you can claim the fifth SEISS grant – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Summary of updates to international travel

The UK government has issued a summary of developments on international travel and changes to the traffic light system during the summer 2021 recess period.

The summary covers the traffic light system, the Global travel taskforce news, managed quarantine service and testing.

See:   Summary of updates to international travel – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

NHS COVID Pass

The requirements have been updated in the ‘Children’ section: children under 18 do not have to demonstrate their COVID-19 status for entry to domestic events or venues in England. Children aged 16 or over can get an NHS COVID Pass for travel but should follow the entry requirements of the country they are travelling to.

See: NHS COVID Pass – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

5% RATE ON TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY ENDS 30 SEPTEMBER

The temporary 5% VAT rate that has applied to supplies made in the tourism and hospitality sector since the start of the pandemic comes to an end at the end of September. The rate then increases to 12.5% from 1 October until 31 March 2022 when it reverts to the standard rate.

For those businesses operating in this sector this will mean an amendment to their accounting software and possibly prices. Note that the 20% rate continues to apply to the sales of alcohol.

Where deposits and other payments are taken before 30 September 2021 the 5% rate would apply to that supply as that would be the tax point for the supply.

BUSINESS NEWS – 6th September 2021

Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

Back to school – Remind employees about HMRC support with childcare costs!

With children starting to go back to schools and nurseries in September, and more employees going back to work full time due to the withdrawal of CJRS support, they may need to start thinking about childcare. HMRC have issued a reminder that there is support available for families towards their childcare costs. If they haven’t already done so they should set up a “Tax-Free” Childcare Account to help pay towards the cost of childminders, breakfast and after school clubs, nursery fees and approved play schemes. For every £8 an eligible family pay into the special account the government adds £2, up to £2,000 a year, or up to £4,000 a year if a child is disabled.

The scheme is available to parents or carers who have children aged up to 11, or 17 if their child is disabled. Parents can get Tax-Free Childcare in addition to 30 hours free childcare if they are eligible for both. If the employee or their partner have an expected ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 in the current tax year they will not be eligible. This includes any bonuses they expect to get.

For more details see: HMRC can help with childcare costs as children head back to school – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Intellectual Property renewal service goes digital

A new digital renewals service that reduces bulk renewal time for IP rights from 5 days to 5 minutes has now been opened up to all customers by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Customers who need to renew a registered design can do so online. Customers can also renew up to 1,500 IP rights – including combinations of patents, trademarks and designs – in a single digital transaction. The IPO say that they will bring forward these design principles to their One IPO Transformation Programme, which will provide a single, integrated system for all registered IP rights.

See: Renew a patent, trade mark or registered design – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Businesses given more time to apply new product safety marking

The UKCA marking replaces the product safety labelling the UK previously used while a member of the EU, such as the CE mark.

Businesses will have an additional year to apply new product safety markings for most products placed on the market in England, Scotland and Wales. The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking allows the UK to have control over its goods regulations, maintaining the high product safety standards expected in the UK.

Recognising the impact of the pandemic on businesses, the UK Government will extend this deadline to 1 January 2023 to apply UKCA marks for certain products to demonstrate compliance with product safety regulations, rather than 1 January 2022.

See: Businesses given more time to apply new product safety marking – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2021

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK businesses of all sizes and sectors. The awards can provide:

  • excellent marketing opportunities and press coverage
  • worldwide recognition as an outstanding British company 
  • increased turnover and international trade
  • a boost to staff morale, and also to partners and stakeholders 

The awards are a self-nominating process and are free to enter. The application period is currently open and will close on 8 September 2021.

See: The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Digital Leaders 100 Awards

These awards celebrate the individuals and organisations from the public, private and non-profit sectors who are demonstrating a pioneering and sustainable approach to digital transformation in the UK.

The categories are:

  • Digital Leader 
  • Young Digital
  • Digital SME 
  • AI Innovation 
  • Digital Skills or Talent Initiative 
  • Big Data Innovation 
  • Digital Public Service Innovation 
  • Geospatial Innovation 
  • 5G Innovation 
  • HealthTech Innovation 

You can nominate yourself or your organisation in any relevant category, entries and nominations close at midday on Friday 10 September 2021.

See: Digital Leaders 100 (digileaders100.com)

Brexit – International HGV and trailer, bus or coach services and tours: vehicle documents

From 28 September 2021, you will need a UK sticker instead of a GB sticker on your vehicle to drive abroad.

For HGV see:  International road haulage: HGV and trailer documents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For bus or coach services see: International bus or coach services and tours: vehicle documents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Brexit – New rules for international road haulage in 2022

Prepare for new rules for transporting goods to or through Europe using cars and trailers, vans and HGVs from 2022. The rules are part of the UK’s deal with the EU (The Trade and Cooperation Agreement).

The new rules will affect you if you transport goods using:

  • cars and trailers
  • vans or other light goods vehicles (for example, if you run a European courier service)
  • heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)

The new rules mean that you might need:

  • to register some journeys within Europe on an online service from 2 February 2022
  • a vehicle operator licence if you use vans or car and trailers to transport goods to or through Europe from 21 May 2022

Check which types of journeys you will need to register online if you transport goods within Europe using a car and trailer, van or HGV from 2 February 2022.

See: New rules for international road haulage in 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Managing drug and alcohol misuse at work

Employers have a legal duty to protect employees’ health, safety and welfare. Understanding the signs of drug and alcohol misuse (or abuse) will help you manage health and safety risk in your workplace. The Health and Safety Executive website has step-by-step guidance to help you manage drug and alcohol misuse at work. This includes advice on how to develop a drugs and alcohol policy and what you can do to support your employees

See: Managing drug and alcohol misuse at work – Overview – HSE

ICO consultation on data transferred outside of the UK

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is seeking responses on their draft international data transfer agreement (IDTA) and guidance, which replace Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).

The ICO’s IDTA and associated documents form part of a wider UK package to assist international transfers, including supporting the government’s approach to new adequacy assessments of third countries.

The consultation is split into three sections:

  • proposal and plans for updates to guidance on international transfers
  • transfer risk assessments
  • the international data transfer agreement

The ICO is also asking for views on any relevant privacy rights, legal, economic or policy considerations and implications. Your responses will help them understand the practical impact of their proposed approaches on your organisations.

See: ICO consults on how organisations can continue to protect people’s personal data when it’s transferred outside of the UK | ICO

Helping employers with the Kickstart Scheme (Kickstart gateway)

There is now a link to the online application for adding more jobs or employers to your grant agreement (grant variation).

The Kickstart Scheme employer prospectus has also been updated and can be found here: Kickstart Scheme – A guide for employers (publishing.service.gov.uk)

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the job start dates up until 31 December 2021. They’ll get funding until 30 June 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 December 2021.

See: Help employers with the Kickstart Scheme (Kickstart gateway) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

The general list of providers has been updated in the lists of and information about private providers who have self-declared that they meet the government’s minimum standards for the type of commercial COVID-19 testing service they offer.

See: Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants

The guidance has been updated to reflect the end of the fee waiver for applications to extend warrants of possession which expired due to the pandemic.

See: Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

DEALING WITH REDUNDANCIES CORRECTLY

Remember that there are key steps that need to be followed as far as employment law is concerned. It is also important to treat any payments on termination of employment correctly for tax and national insurance purposes. In genuine redundancy situations the first £30,000 paid on termination of employment is tax free but many employers get this wrong.

The £30,000 includes statutory redundancy pay and any enhancement from the employer as well as continuing benefits such as private health insurance.

The excess is subject to income tax and employers national insurance. We can of course assist you with the process to ensure that the redundancy process is dealt with correctly.

SEPTEMBER IS THE LAST MONTH FOR CJRS “FURLOUGH” GRANTS

The Government are pulling the plug on support to employers for furloughed staff at the end of September as they anticipate that the economy will be back to normal by October. The grant claims for employees furloughed in the month of September are 60% of the employee’s usual pay up to a maximum cap of £1,875.

Make sure that you make your final claims for the month of September by 14 October and make any adjustments by 28 October 2021.

The end of furlough may be the trigger for many businesses to assess their staffing levels going forward and many may be considering making the tough decision about which staff to make redundant.

BUSINESS NEWS – 31st August 2021

Welcome to our round up of the latest business and Covid-19 news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

Covid-19 update

Last week the UK Government launched a UK-wide antibody surveillance programme for the general public with home antibody tests available for up to 8,000 people a day who opt in to the service through NHS Test and Trace. The Data will improve understanding of the protection provided by antibodies generated following COVID-19 infection and vaccinations.

The UK has agreed a contract for 35 million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, to be delivered from the second half of next year. The government, through the Vaccine Taskforce, is putting in place preparations to future-proof the country from the threat of COVID-19 and its variants through vaccines.

The cost of travelling abroad and specifically the cost of private testing pre and post travel has attracted government scrutiny of providers on misleading prices. Regular spot checks will be introduced to ensure prices are accurate and providers are legitimate, however the public still face additional travel costs as a result of government policy, and we can only hope the costs reduce over time or easier testing procedures are developed.

More countries – including Canada and the Azores – have been added to the green ‘traffic light’ list for international travel. Other countries turning green include Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland. Additions to the red list include Montenegro and Thailand. Fully vaccinated people returning amber and green list countries are not required to isolate on return. The changes came into effect from 4am on Monday 30 August.

Help to Grow: Digital

Help to Grow: Digital is a new UK-wide scheme to help small and medium size businesses (SMEs) adopt digital technologies that are proven to increase their productivity.

The scheme will offer SMEs free and impartial advice on how technology can help their business. An online platform will help them to:

  • identify their digital technology needs
  • assess technology purchasing options
  • implement new technologies in their operations

The scheme will also offer eligible SMEs a grant token worth up to £5,000 to cover up to half of the costs of pre-approved, digital technology solutions.

The Help to Grow: Digital scheme will be launched in Autumn. It will run for 3 years, taking a phased approach over a number of waves. Each wave will provide the opportunity to roll out new technologies and functionalities for SMEs and vendors.

See: Help to Grow: Digital – apply to become a vendor – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Call for Research Engagement from Micro & SME Designers & Manufacturers

Future Fashion Factory is looking for fashion and textiles designers (and particularly those outside of London) to participate in research on the different types of support that micro and small businesses need.

For further information see:  Call for Research Engagement from Micro & SME Designers & Manufacturers (google.com) 

Business growth scheme open to next group of space entrepreneurs

The Leo Programme is a bespoke, one to one accelerator for high-growth and high potential entrepreneurs. Twenty businesses will be supported on the next phase of the Leo Programme, a free six-month accelerator run by the UK Space Agency and powered by Entrepreneurial Spark, where they will get access to tailored, specialist online and in-person support from space industry and business growth experts. The programme is open to businesses already in the space sector and those already exploring the possibilities presented by the industry. Firms working in a linked industry looking for a route into the space sector can also apply. The closing date to apply is 10 September 2021.

See: Space Accelerator — Entrepreneurial Spark (entrepreneurial-spark.com)

Reimbursing Fuel for Company cars from 1 September 2021

As the result of recent increases in petrol and diesel prices HMRC have increased the advisory fuel rates that apply for the reimbursement of employees’ private fuel for their company cars. The same rates apply when the employer reimburses employees for fuel used for business journeys in their company car. Curiously the LPG reimbursement rates have reduced, which appears to be an anomaly.

The new rates apply from 1 September 2021, but you can continue to use the previous rates for up to 1 month from the date the new rates apply.

Where there has been a change the previous rate is shown in brackets: –

Engine SizePetrolDieselLPG
1400cc or less12p (11p) 7p  (8p)
1600cc or less 10p (9p) 
1401cc to 2000cc14p (13p)   8p (9p)
1601 to 2000cc 12p (11p) 
Over 2000cc20p (19p)15p (13p)12p (14p)

For hybrid cars you must use the petrol or diesel rate which may differ significantly from the actual fuel costs. The advisory electricity rate for fully electric cars is 4 pence per mile.

Employees should carefully consider whether it is advantageous having private fuel provided for their company car.  Remember that the P11d benefit for having private fuel provided for a company car in 2021/22 is £24,600 multiplied by the CO2 emissions percentage for that vehicle.

For example, a director driving a Mercedes Benz E200 saloon company car (CO2 emissions 169g per km) would be assessed on 37% = £9,102 for 2020/21. If they are a higher rate taxpayer that would mean £3,641 tax. That is an awful lot of private fuel!

Upcycling Protective Plastics from Offshore Wind Farms

KTN-iX™ (KTN-innovation eXchange) is a cross sector program supporting innovation transfer by matching industry challenges to innovative companies from other sectors. It does this through putting large businesses with technical needs in contact with companies who have the right innovative solutions, for faster development of novel solutions.

Ørsted is a renewable energy company that takes tangible action to create a world that runs entirely on green energy.

The iX challenge competition, delivered by KTN, is supporting Ørsted to identify innovative approaches for dealing with a significant and immediate challenge arising from a waste stream.

The challenge is looking for designers and innovators who would use this material for creative ideas such as materials for fashion, accessories, jewellery, footwear, coats, bags and others.

If you can turn the PVC into another product or craft such as covers, marquee/tent/outdoor product covers, or a charity that wants to make sustainable products from PVC then this challenge may be of interest.  

The business(es) with the most promising solution(s), as selected by the challenge owner, may be given a commercial opportunity to deliver their solution and receive support from KTN and the wider Innovate UK network.

See: Challenge | Upcycling Protective Plastics from Offshore Wind Farms | KTN-iX™ (ktninnovationexchange.co.uk)

Views sought on dispute resolution

A call for evidence has been launched by the UK Government seeking views on the best ways to settle business, individual, family and other civil disputes without the stress and cost of a court case.

Responses will shape future reforms to civil, family and administrative justice and will examine whether new technologies, as well as services such as mediation and conciliation, could provide smarter and less adversarial routes for finding resolutions.

Litigation will always remain as an option open to everyone, and some cases will inevitably require people to go to court. The consultation closes on 30 September 2021. 

See: Views sought on dispute resolution vision – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

COVID-19 GOVERNMENT SUPPORT NEWS

Below is our weekly roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – August claims

Claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are now open for pay periods in August 2021. You must submit your claim for August 2021 by 14 September 2021.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be ending on 30 September 2021. Claims for September must be submitted by 14 October 2021 and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.

For further information please see: Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – How to Work out your turnover so you can claim the fifth SEISS grant

For the fifth grant you will need to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about your turnover if you traded in 2019 to 2020 as well as any of the following tax years:

  • 2018 to 2019
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2016 to 2017

Turnover includes the takings, fees, sales or money earned or received by your business.

Before you claim you must:

  1. Work out your April 2020 to April 2021 turnover.
  2. Find your turnover from either 2019 to 2020 or 2018 to 2019 to use as a reference year.

You will need to have both figures ready when you make your claim.

How to work out your April 2020 to April 2021 turnover

You need to work out your turnover for a 12-month period, starting on any date from 1 to 6 April 2020.

You can use one of the following periods:

  • 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021
  • 2 April 2020 to 1 April 2021
  • 3 April 2020 to 2 April 2021
  • 4 April 2020 to 3 April 2021
  • 5 April 2020 to 4 April 2021
  • 6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021

You should check that your figure is accurate. HMRC will be able to check your figures after you submit your tax return for this period. Your figure must include the turnover from all of your businesses. Please contact us if you need assistance in making the claim.

See more here: Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions

Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions for employers and gateways receiving the Kickstart Scheme grant from the Department for Work and Pensions have been updated effective from 23 August 2021. This version includes a new annex ‘Annex 5: Proof of concept’.

See: Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guidance for Companies House (CH) customers

The cut off time for using a same day service to electronically file a change of company name or incorporate a company (software filing only) has changed from 11am to 3pm.

CXH has developed a service to Upload a document to Companies House instead of sending a paper document by post.

It also includes features such as acknowledgments and online payment using GOV.UK Pay. CH say they are continually working to improve this service and include more document types.

See: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for Companies House customers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Companies House webinars

Companies House webinars offer useful guidance covering a range of topics including:

  • starting a limited company and your responsibilities to Companies House and HMRC
  • how intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and copyrights can affect your business
  • guidance on starting a community interest company (CIC)
  • how to register company mortgages and other charges at Companies House
  • how to restore a company to the register

See: Companies House webinars – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

The lists of and information about private providers who have self-declared that they meet the government’s minimum standards for the type of commercial COVID-19 testing service they offer has been updated.

See: Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Open letter to PCR Providers on compliance with consumer law

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published an open letter to providers of PCR tests on how they should comply with consumer law. This letter has also been sent to all providers listed on GOV.UK.

See: Open letter to PCR Providers on compliance with consumer law – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Red, amber, green lists: check the rules for travel to England from abroad

Montenegro and Thailand moved to the red list yesterday. The Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland will move to the green list.

The webpage below tells you about the COVID-19 rules for travel to England. It lists countries and territories as red, amber or green and explains the different rules for each list.

Use this page to check which list a country or territory is on – red, amber or green and the ‘travel to England’ rules that apply for the countries and territories on each list.

See: Red, amber, green lists: check the rules for travel to England from abroad – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Right to work checks

The end date for the temporary adjusted checks has now been deferred to 5 April 2022 (inclusive). The government has made the decision to defer the date following the feedback they received about the ability to conduct checks remotely. The government initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future. The intention is to introduce a new digital solution to include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens. This will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security.

See: Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)