Important Update for IN Accountancy Clients 5:45pm Monday 23 March 2020

covid-19 Coronavirus Business Update

Just posting full text of the communication we sent to all clients on Monday evening in case anyone else finds it useful. Please feel free to share if so. Apologies for formatting issues!!

Hi everyone,

Please take the time to read the below information. I realise it is long, but it is vitally important and  will answer some of the questions you are asking, but as yet regrettably not all.

I am sure you will be aware of the recent measures introduced in the UK in an attempt to contain the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic.  The situation is fluid and daily updates on the current situation are being provided by UK Government.

We at IN Accountancy wish to reassure you that preparations have been made for us to be able to continue to deliver our service to you, whilst adhering to Government guidelines and at the same time protecting our employees, their families and our clients.

At present we remain fully operational from our offices in Hazel Grove, with some employees working from home and others remaining office based.  We are fully prepared to operate wholly remotely should this be required.

One change that will take place (on a temporary basis) is that we will now restrict our client meetings, in line with Government guidelines, to those which are absolutely essential.  We are set up with Microsoft Teams and Zoom technology to be able to continue to hold client meetings online.

The following information may not be relevant to all of you, and there is a huge amount to cover, so please take the time to read and understand the specific areas which are relevant to you and your circumstances.

Communication

I have been sending, and will continue to send our regular updates to all clients via Mailchimp.

If you have not been getting these updates from me, please can I urge you to check your spam filters and junk mail folders as sometimes mailchimp emails do get caught.  If you have checked and still cannot see any messages, please let Zoe know your preferred contact email on zoe@in-accountancy.co.uk and she will ensure you are added for future communication.

These emails go to all, and while I realise they will not be relevant or of interest to each and every one of you, please bear with us as we do our best to communicate important messages.

COVID-19 Crisis Q&A Online Panel

I will be hosting an online event at 9am on Friday 27th March, where I will be available, along with a panel of experts, to answer any questions you may have.

Please click the link below to register to participate, and send in any questions you would like more information on.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Mar 27, 2020 09:00 AM Greenwich Mean Time

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/u5ckduqgrzkjn9pTHI-Hzn62nqGK_P0xDg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Meeting ID: 639 138 129

Payroll Clients

Have all been updated regarding our contingency plans for payroll. If you haven’t received this and need more information, please contact Zoe or Sandra.

VAT

Hopefully you are all aware that VAT for all businesses will be deferred until the end of June without penalties or interest being applied.

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.

Businesses will then have until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to settle any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.

However, if you currently have your VAT payments collected by Direct Debit please cancel the direct debit instructions to ensure that payment is not collected automatically.

Corporation Tax

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

This applies to VAT, Corporation Tax and Income Tax liabilities.

HMRC’s dedicated hotline for Time to Pay Arrangements is: 0800 0159 559

Please note that this helpline has been overwhelmed since it was set up. We would suggest calling as close to 8am as possible to have a chance of getting through promptly.

We are unsure whether interest will be applied to late CT payments at present, but as this is usually the case for time to pay arrangements, we would suggest you work on that assumption unless advised otherwise.

Income Tax and Payments on Account

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

All self-employed are eligible. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

Please be aware that at this stage there is conflicting information as to whether this applies to all those registered for self-assessment or only those who are registered as self-employed. Therefore, if you have payments on account and are not registered as self-employed, please plan that these payments will fall due on 31 July until advised otherwise.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

Please note that this is a deferment and not a cancelation of liability.

2019-2020 Tax Return

To help you plan as best as possible for your January 2021 tax liability, which will include the deferred July 2020 payment on account payments, we would urge you to send us the information to complete your 2019-20 tax return as early as possible after 5 April 2020.

If you are expecting to be adversely affected by the current situation in the tax year to 5 April 2021 we will work with you to ensure we reduce your payments on account for that year as much as is possible.

Please note that due to this current situation we will not be sending out physical letters as in previous years. We will contact you by email after 5 April to remind you as to what information to send to us as soon as you are able. We are grateful for your understanding.

Loans and Grants

Please see Saturday’s newsletter for more details regarding loans and grants and how to apply:

Please note that this is not something which we can undertake for you.

Job retention scheme

This is not HR or Employment law advice, which we are not qualified to give. We would recommend talking to your HR or Employment advisor before taking any action. The below is our best understanding of what has been announced so far, and this changes on a regular basis.

Businesses can apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month per employee to cover 80% of salary for those retained but not working.

This scheme aims to protect staff and is an alternative to layoff.

The scheme will be available for at least three months and that there is unlimited funding available through the scheme.

The first grants will be paid within a matter of weeks and will be backdated to 1 March 2020.

To access this, employers must designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify your employees of this change.

How do I do this?

Speak to any affected employee – You are changing their employment status so you can’t just enforce this measure.

Explain to your employee that you want to do this to safeguard their job and that if they don’t agree to this change of status then you will have to look at redundancy.

What do I do once agreed?

Employers must submit the information on furloughed employees to HMRC through a new online portal.  This isn’t operational as yet but should be soon.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month per employee. This system for reimbursement isn’t operational as yet but should be soon.

Q & A

It’s not yet clear whether the £2,500 cap is the maximum wage and you can get 80% of that, or whether the maximum of 80% is £2,500.

Employees cannot work whilst furloughed.

The employer needs to determine how many staff members they need working, and who should be furloughed. The employee cannot determine furloughed status.

There are no guidelines yet regarding company directors. Indications suggest they should be treated as everyone else if they are paid a salary through PAYE. However, the point remains that you cannot work if you are furloughed and most company directors will have some work to do if they intend to keep their business running through the crisis and pick up on the other side. We await the legislation.

Support for self-employed.

There is currently little support for those self-employed affected by this crisis.

As soon as more information comes to light, we will send this out via mailchimp.

To determine whether you can apply for universal credits or employment support allowance, please see the two links below.

Please note that this is not an area we can advise upon.

https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Further information

Links to my other articles / newsletters sent via mailchimp in the last week:

21 March 2020:                 https://www.in-accountancy.co.uk/2020/03/updated-measures-to-support-businesses-and-individuals-through-coronavirus-covid-19-crisis/

20 March 2020:                 https://www.in-accountancy.co.uk/2020/03/stockport-council-coronavirus-support-update/

18 March 2020:                 https://www.in-accountancy.co.uk/2020/03/coronavirus-update-latest-on-grants-loans-and-other-funding/

17 March 2020:                 https://www.in-accountancy.co.uk/2020/03/coronavirus-update-business-support/

Please also check the website regularly for updates on our news pages.

Finally, please find following a link to HMRC’s new EXCELLENT website for business support. I would urge you to look here for very well laid out and detailed information:

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

I hope this email goes some way to answering many of the queries I have received today via email.

If you have read the various emails and articles and have further questions which have not been answered, please feel free to drop me a line and I will do my best to answer, however please be aware that due to the volume of queries it may take some time to respond.

Stay safe.

Best wishes,

Sarah x

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