Brexit, Phishing, Kickstart and more
Update 49 - Update on various business grants, COVID news, Brexit changes.
Deferred VAT from 2020 should have either been paid in full or have been placed into a HMRC repayment plan by 30 June 2021. If you have not arranged a Time To Pay or paid your VAT you should contact HMRC immediately, as you may receive penalties or interest after tomorrow.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme runs until 30 September 2021. There is a change from 1 July 2021, when the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers must top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of wages (up to £2,500) in total for the hours the employee is on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.
SCAMS & PHISHING
We find ourselves inundated with various scams, some old ones (your bank has locked you out, HMRC has a refund for you, etc.) and some new ones (Coronavirus grants, furlough and now tax credits).
If you receive a text or an email about a refund, a potential grant or claim or anything that asks for personal information, then a good rule of thumb is to immediately assume it is a scam – until you can prove to yourself it isn’t. That may involve phoning your bank, HMRC, us… please don’t ever give personal details like your PIN or your passwords out to anyone.
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. The fund is open to employers of all sizes and it will cover:
• 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
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.
There is now a link to a video walkthrough of the online application in the ‘How to apply – Apply online’ section. See: Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction. The legislation will help tenants and landlords work together to come to an agreement on how to handle the money owed – this could be done by waiving some of the total amount or agreeing a longer-term repayment plan.
The agreement should be between the tenant and landlord and, if in some cases, an agreement cannot be made, the law will ensure a binding arbitration process will be put in place so that both parties can come to a formal agreement. This will be a legally binding agreement that both parties must adhere to. The existing measures in place to protect commercial tenants from eviction will be extended to 25 March 2022.
Statutory demands and winding up petitions will also remain restricted for a further three months to protect companies from creditor enforcement action where their debts relate to the pandemic.
The extension applies to all businesses, but the new measures that will be introduced by primary legislation will only cover those impacted by closures. This means that rent debt accumulated before March 2020 and after the date when relevant sector restrictions on trading are lifted, will be actionable by landlords as soon as the tenant protection measures are lifted.
MOVING GOODS BETWEEN THE UK & EU
If you move goods between the UK and countries in the EU, you need to follow new customs and tax rules. HMRC has set up the Customs and International Trade helpline on 0300 322 9434. The helpline is open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 4pm at weekends.
HMRC's YouTube channel is where you can watch videos to familiarise yourself with the new customs processes and what you need to do when you trade goods with the EU.
If you buy goods from the EU, or send or sell goods to the EU for your business, HMRC’S Rules of Origin recorded webinar will help you understand the process and what you need to do.
If you are an SME then you can apply for a grant to help with the new rules. The SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice if your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.
You can use the grant for training on how to manage the customs processes, systems, declaration and specific advice in respect of VAT, excise and rules of origin. It can be used to help you get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.
See: Apply for a grant to help small and medium-sized businesses new to importing or exporting - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Finally, UNUSED COMPANY CARS & LOCKDOWN
HMRC benefit in kind reports are due to HMRC by the 6th July. There has been some debate about whether company cars that were unused during lockdown should be reported as a benefit. Unfortunately, that does not count as being unavailable. HMRC have confirmed that they would continue to treat the car as available to the employee unless the keys or fobs are returned to the employer or to a third party such as the leasing or disposal company as instructed by the employer.
Where the employee is provided with a car with zero CO2 emissions there is no taxable benefit in kind for 2020/21 however the charge increases to 1% of original list price for 2021/22.
This article was first published on 29 June 2021. Some of the grants may no longer be available or the information may have changed or been updated. Please check the current rules and legislation with a professional