Latest news and updates from HMRC

Catch up on this weeks update from HMRC on CJRS and deferment


The following quick links help navigate through the HMRC site:

VAT deferral – apply now to spread your payments further


The VAT deferral new payment scheme is open for all businesses who deferred paying VAT due between 20 March and 30‌‌ June‌‌ 2020 and have been unable to pay in full by 31 March‌‌ ‌2021.


Businesses can apply now to spread these payments over a number of months – businesses that join by tomorrow (21‌‌ April‌‌ 2021) will be able to benefit from up to 10 monthly instalments. The sooner businesses join, the more instalments are available to them.


Businesses can join the scheme quickly and simply online without needing to call HMRC. To find out more information, including the things businesses need to prepare before joining online, go to GOV‌‌‌.UK.


Businesses need to apply by 21‌‌ June‌‌‌‌ 2021 at the latest if they want to join the scheme online.


CJRS claims for April


Employers can now submit CJRS claims for periods in April‌‌. These must be made by Friday 14 May.


Employers can claim before, during or after their payroll is processed. If they can, it’s best to make a claim once they’re sure of the exact number of hours their employees will work so they don’t have to amend the claim later.


Employers can check if they and their employees are eligible and work out how much they can claim using our CJRS calculator and examples.


What employers need to do now


  1. If an employer hasn’t submitted their claim for March but believe there is a reasonable excuse for missing the 14 April deadline, check if they can make a late claim on GOV‌‌‌.UK.
  2. Submit any claims for April no later than Friday 14 May.
  3. Keep records that support the amount of CJRS grants claimed, in case HMRC needs to check them. ‌


Employers must pay the associated employee tax and National Insurance contributions to HMRC. If they don’t, they’ll need to repay the whole of the CJRS grant to HMRC.


The UK Government will continue to pay 80% of furloughed employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, to the end of June‌‌.


In July, CJRS grants will cover 70% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,187.50. In August and September, this will then reduce to 60% of employees’ usual wages up to a cap of £1,875.


Employers will need to pay the difference from July, so that they continue to pay their furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work during this time, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.


CJRS eligibility from May


If an employer has employees who have previously been ineligible for the CJRS, as they were not on their payroll on 30 October 2020, they may be eligible for periods from 1 May 2021 onwards.


From May employers will be able to claim for eligible employees who were on their PAYE payroll on 2 March 2021. This means they must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying HMRC of earnings for that employee.


Employers and their employees do not need to have benefitted from the scheme before to make a claim, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.


Changes to CJRS claims for variable pay from May


For periods from 1 May, when calculating the average wages for employees who are not on a fixed salary, employers should no longer include periods of:


  • statutory sick pay related leave
  • family related statutory leave
  • reduced rate paid leave following a period of statutory sick pay or family related leave.


However, if an employee was on one of these types of leave for the entire period used to calculate their average wages, then the employer should continue to include the days and wages related to that leave.


For more information on variable pay calculations, go to GOV.UK.


Frequently asked questions about the CJRS


Can employers still use the CJRS if they’re starting to re-open their business?

Employers can continue to use the CJRS if their business is affected by coronavirus. They don’t need to place all their employees on furlough. They can also use the CJRS flexibly to bring their employees back to work for some of their usual hours. They can claim for a portion of the usual wage costs for the hours spent on furlough.

Can a CJRS grant be used to pay for holiday leave?


If employers have furloughed employees because of the effects of coronavirus on their business, they can claim under the CJRS for periods of paid leave their employees take while on furlough, including for bank holidays. Employers should not place employees on furlough just because they are going to be on leave.


If an employee is furloughed for only some of their hours, employers can count time taken as holiday as furloughed hours, rather than working hours. This means employers can currently claim for 80% of their employee’s usual wages when they’re on leave.


In line with the Working Time Regulations, if a furloughed employee takes holiday employers should make sure they are calculating the correct holiday pay, and not simply continuing to pay the 80% they receive through the CJRS. They may need to top up their employees’ pay to 100% of their normal hourly rate or salary. You can find more information on GOV.UK.


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme


The online service for claiming under the latest phase of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will open in the next few days.


Customers receiving their personal claim dates 


We have begun contacting eligible customers to give them a personal claim date, from which they can make their SEISS claim. We have contacted them either by email, letter or via the online service, depending on what contact details we hold.


Customers can make their claim from this personal claim date in late April, until the claims service closes at 23:59 on 1‌‌ June 2021.


Customers should not to claim SEISS before their personal claim date.


A customer who believes they are eligible for the scheme, but are yet to hear from us, should wait until the end of the month before contacting us. We are inviting customers to claim on different days to ensure the system is fast and easy to use, so we can support millions of people quickly and easily.


Contacting ineligible customers 


We have also contacted customers who have previously claimed SEISS support but are no longer eligible. There are a number of reasons for ineligibility, for example:


  • not filing their 2019-20 Self Assessment return on or before 2 March 2021
  • if the information on their 2019-20 Self Assessment return means they no longer meet the eligibility criteria, or
  • if they’ve permanently ceased trading.


If a customer believes that we have incorrectly assessed their eligibility, or the amount of their grant, they should follow the advice provided in the email or letter we sent. They will either be asked to log into the claims service using their Government Gateway credentials or, if we consider they are ineligible for the SEISS, they can use the online assistant to find out why. If the customer still needs help after following this advice, they can get support from the COVID-19 helpline.

As before, tax agents should not submit review requests on behalf of their clients, as this can lead to delays. We can only discuss SEISS claims with the individual customer.


Getting customers ready to claim SEISS grants 


Customers will be able to claim at any time from their personal claim date in late April until 1‌‌ June, at the latest. In order to claim, they will need to log in to their Government Gateway account with their User ID and password. If they do not have a Government Gateway account (for example, customers who are newly self-employed), they should create one now to avoid delaying their claim.


To confirm their eligibility and make their claim, customers will need their:


  1. National Insurance number: If a customer doesn’t know this, they can go to the HMRC app or access their online Personal Tax Account (PTA).
  2. Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number: customers can find this on their Self Assessment papers or their PTA.
  3. Government Gateway user ID and password: To avoid delays, customers should check that they can log in to the Government Gateway before their personal claim date. If a customer doesn’t have an account, or has forgotten their details, they can follow the instructions on GOV‌‌.UK. Customers also need to check that their contact details are correct in their Government Gateway account.
  4. Bank account number and sort code: For a building society account, customers should include the roll number, if they have one.


We will also ask for the address that the customer’s bank or building society account is registered to. Please note this is the customer’s address – most likely their home or business premises – not the address of their bank or building society.


As with previous SEISS grants, tax agents cannot make a claim on behalf of their clients, or use their log in details, as this will trigger a fraud alert and result in significant delays to their client receiving payment. We are grateful for tax agents continued support in helping their clients to understand the eligibility criteria, and for getting their eligible clients ready to submit their claims personally.


Customers are also required to keep appropriate records as evidence of the impact on their business.


If a customer hasn’t claimed before 


If this is a customer’s first time claiming a SEISS grant, they may be asked additional questions to prove their identity.


Questions could relate to any of the following:


  • their UK passport
  • information held on their credit file (such as loans, credit cards or mortgages)
  • their Self Assessment tax return (within the last three years)
  • their tax credit claim
  • their P60
  • one of their three most recent payslips.


Customers should ensure they have this information ready when making their claim. Their claim may be delayed if they cannot answer the identity verification questions.


Reasonable belief


In order to claim the fourth grant, customers must reasonably believe that they’ll suffer a significant reduction in trading profits, due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus between 1 February 2021 and 30 April 2021. They must keep evidence that shows how their business has been impacted by coronavirus resulting in less business activity than otherwise expected.


HMRC expects customers applying for SEISS 4 to make an honest assessment about whether they reasonably believe their business will have a significant reduction in profits.


Significant reduction


Before making a claim, a customer must decide if the impact on their business between 1 February 2021 and 30 April 2021 will cause a significant reduction in their trading profits for the tax year they report them in.


HMRC cannot make this decision for the customer because individual and wider business circumstances will need to be considered when deciding whether the reduction is significant.


Customers should wait until they have a reasonable belief that their trading profits are going to be significantly reduced, before they make their claim.


Customers do not have to consider any other coronavirus scheme support payments that they have received when deciding if they’ve had a significant reduction in their trading profits.


There are some examples that customers can use to help them decide.


Amendments to 2019-20 SA returns after 3 March 2021 


If a customer makes, or has made, an amendment to their 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 or 2019-20 tax return on or after 3 March 2021, HMRC must be notified within 90 days if the amendment either:


  • lowers the amount of SEISS grant the customer is eligible for
  • causes the customer to no longer be eligible for a SEISS grant.


The customer may need to pay back some or all of the grant. If we are not notified, we will contact the customer after the deadline for making amendments to tell them what amount they may need to pay back.


If HMRC is not notified within 90 days, the customer may also have to pay a penalty.


HMRC does not need to be notified if either:


  • the amount they’re eligible for is lowered by £100 or less
  • they are no longer eligible and the grant they received was £100 or less.


If a customer is not sure the grant amount has been reduced, they should contact HMRC for further help.


SEISS 4 Eligibility for Parents


Applications for the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant open in late April 2021. Parents may be eligible even if they have taken time off, provided they meet the specific eligibility criteria.


If having a new child has affected a customer’s 2019/20 tax return, we may consider their eligibility in a different way. This would apply where a customer’s trading profits or total income in their 2019/20 tax return meant that they did not meet the eligibility criteria for the grant, or they did not submit a tax return for 2019/20.


For new parents who did not submit a 2019/20 Self Assessment tax return, we will assess eligibility using an average of the applicable 2016/17 to 2018/19 tax returns.


For parents to be eligible for SEISS 4 they must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. Their average trading profits across their applicable 2016/17 to 2018/19 tax returns, must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to their non-trading income. They must be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus or have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.


For more information on eligibility visit GOV.UK. An explanatory video is also available.


A full range of business support measures is available to UK businesses on GOV.UK.


Where can customers get further support?


Many customers have benefitted from our webinars which offer information on the CJRS and SEISS, other government support and how it applies to them. We have a series of live webinars about claiming the fourth SEISS grant. Customers can watch our videos and register for free webinars to learn more about the support available.


Go to help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus to book online, or to view updated guidance. If a customer booked on a webinar but can no longer attend, they should cancel their place to allow space for others to register.


For the CJRS, there’s also list of monthly claims deadlines and a helpful step by step guide on GOV‌‌‌‌‌‌‌.UK, summarising the latest information on the CJRS and the steps they need to take to make a claim.


Customers can find out what other government financial support may be available for as part of the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs on GOV.UK.


HMRC issue briefing: how HMRC will continue to support customers and the economy


We have updated an issue briefing that sets out how the department will work with customers and stakeholders over the coming months, while coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact the country.


The document contains information about the support schemes and policy changes that HMRC has implemented and the department’s principles for the next steps around tax collection, benefits payments, compliance checks and debt activity.


We recognise the continuing impact of the pandemic and we want to reassure you that our approach remains to collect the tax due in a way that recognises the very real needs and challenges that businesses and individuals face. The updates simply bring the issue briefing up to date with government announcements made since November.


The briefing has been published on GOV.UK.


One-off £500 payment for eligible working households receiving tax credits – additional information to support our customers


As part of the Spring 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced a new one-off £500 payment to support working households receiving tax credits.


We’ve started to make payments to eligible customers and we expect all customers will have received the payment by 23 April. We’d appreciate your help in sharing this information with your networks.


The one-off payment is for those households who, on 2 March 2021, were receiving either:


  • Working Tax Credit; or
  • Child Tax Credit and were eligible for Working Tax Credit but did not get a payment because their income was too high to get Working Tax Credit payments.


There’s more information on the one-off £500 payment on GOV.UK.


A word about fraud and scams 


As part of the Budget, the Chancellor announced a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to tackle the minority who deliberately claim money they’re not entitled to. If fraud is suspected, it should be reported using our online form. More information can be found on GOV.UK.


Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic. Information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact can be found on GOV.UK. Customers can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts to 60599.


You and your networks can access the National Cyber Security Centre’s guide on how to stay secure online and protect yourself and your business against cyber crime.

This article has been shared from ACCA In Practice, to whom copyright belongs.  Whitefield Tax are an ACCA Member Firm