Chancellor announces some TEMPORARY help for businesses

The Job Retention Bonus

This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees.

To be eligible, employees will need to:

  • earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December and January

  • have been furloughed at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • have been continuously employed up until at least 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021.

Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021 once accurate RTI data to 31‌‌‌ ‌January has been received. More information about this scheme will be available by 31‌‌‌ ‌July and full guidance will eventually be published in the Autumn.

Other new measures announced

The Chancellor also announced other measures, including:

  • the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme – during August, diners can get 50% off Monday to Wednesday on meals and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10 per person, when eating at participating restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments that have registered. COMMENT: As many restaurants traditionally close on a Monday so that staff who have worked over the weekend can have a rest day, that only leaves two days on which anyone can actually benefit from this scheme. In any event a restaurant meal is likely to cost more than £20 per person so it is not really 50% of the cost

  • VAT reduction – from 15‌‌‌ ‌July until 12‌‌‌ ‌January 2021, the UK government will cut VAT from 20% to 5% on any eat-in or hot takeaway food and drinks from restaurants, cafes and pubs, excluding alcohol. This VAT reduction also applies to all holiday accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, as well as attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos. COMMENTS: This does not apply to alcoholic drinks! Many European countries have always, and on a permanent basis, charged a much lower vat rate on hospitality

  • an increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold in England and Northern Ireland – increasing the threshold under which no SDLT is paid on the purchase of a main home from £125,000 to £500,000, with immediate effect until 31‌‌‌ ‌March 2021. COMMENT: Note the restriction to main home and that this will end on 3st March 2021.

For more information, search 'plan for jobs' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

Updates on CJRS scheme

HMRC would also like to make you aware of some key dates on the CJRS scheme that might affect you a number of our clients who are employers

Claiming for employees furloughed on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June

Any claims for employees furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for periods ending on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June 2020 need to be made by by 31‌‌‌ ‌July 2020.

Get ready for changes from 1‌‌‌ ‌August

Employers will no longer be able to use a CJRS grant to cover National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees from 1‌‌‌ ‌August. It will be possible to submit August claims in advance, from 20‌‌‌ ‌July 2020.

Working out your claims

It is now possible to use HMRCs online examples and calculator to help work out what you can claim, for claims ending on or before 31‌‌‌st ‌July 2020. From 10‌‌‌th ‌July 2020 you will also be able to use these to help you work out claims ending on or before 31‌‌‌ ‌August 2020. Search for 'calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

Made a mistake on your claim?

It is now possible to delete a claim online within 72 hours of submitting it. Search 'claim for wages through Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

Calls to Employers

HMRC are contacting selected employers to discuss their claims. These calls will be to check they haven’t made any mistakes and to help make sure they’re claiming the correct amount.

Further support

Live webinars on changes to the scheme and how they impact employers are available to book online – search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus' on GOV‌‌‌.UK. HMRC ask that you leave their phone lines open for those who need them most)and who are prepared to wait for the call to eventually be answered!).

Protect yourself from scams

Stay vigilant about scams which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search 'scams' on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.