COVID-19 support – what’s available and actions you or your clients may need to take

Dear customer,

I’m writing to you with the latest information about the financial support schemes available to help your clients, as part of the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs.

This includes:

  • a reminder of the 14‌‌‌ ‌June deadline for submitting May Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims
  • details of changes to the CJRS from July
  • and the 21‌‌‌ ‌June deadline for joining the online VAT deferral new payment scheme.

To find out what other financial support may be available for your clients go the business support finder on GOV‌‌.UK.

  1. Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
  2. Submit your CJRS claims for May
  3. Changes to the CJRS from July
  4. VAT deferral – apply online by 21 June
  5. Claiming tax relief for working from home
  6. Where can I get further support?
  7. A word about scams
  1. Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

All eligible customers can now claim for the fourth grant of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – thank you for your continued support in reminding your clients that they must apply by 1‌‌‌ ‌June at the latest.

To help you support them, here are some further updates on the scheme.

Amending tax returns – do your clients need to pay back some or all of a SEISS grant?

If your client has made an amendment to their tax return on or after 3‌‌‌ ‌March 2021, they need to check if their eligibility for the SEISS grant has been affected. This new requirement applies to claims for the fourth and fifth SEISS grants only, and amendments made on or after 3‌‌‌ ‌March 2021 to Self Assessment returns for tax years between 2016-17 and 2019-20.

Your clients must tell us within 90 days if there is an amendment to any of their tax returns on or after 3‌‌‌ ‌March 2021 which either:

  • reduces the amount of the fourth grant they’re eligible for
  • causes them to no longer be eligible for the fourth grant.

Customers will then need to pay back some or all of the grant. If they do not tell us within 90 days of submitting their amendment, or receiving payment of their grant (whichever is later), they may also have to pay a penalty.

Customers do not need to tell us if their grant has lowered by £100 or less. If a customer is unsure, they can still tell us about the amendment using the online form.

Tax returns can only be amended up to 12 months following the filing date, so this time limit will have passed for most returns between 2016-17 and 2018-19, unless they were issued late.

If returns are amended ‘out of time’, this will not change the relevant tax return so will not be taken into account for the fourth or fifth SEISS grants.

Customers can tell HMRC if they need to pay back some or all of a SEISS grant by completing a simple form online. We will then contact them and let them know how much they need to repay, and how to do this. More information can be found on GOV.UK.

Working with your clients

Your clients must make their SEISS claim themselves. Trying to claim on your client’s behalf may result in a delay to receiving payment. If your client has any concerns about claiming a SEISS grant, they can visit the SEISS pages on GOV.UK.

We know that many of you will want to receive details about the SEISS grants paid to your clients for the purposes of advising clients or preparing tax returns. Due to the nature of SEISS grants we are unable to provide this information directly, and so ask that you obtain this information from your clients. We understand the impact this has.

Frequently asked questions about SEISS

Will receiving a SEISS grant affect future tax returns?

SEISS grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance. If your clients received the first, second and third grants, they should be included in their 2020‌‌‌‌-21 Self Assessment return and submitted by 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2022. The fourth and fifth grants must be included in their 2021‌-22 Self Assessment return, which should be submitted by 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2023.

Can customers claim if they have an outstanding debt on their HMRC account from Self Assessment?

If customers have tax debt, they should contact us to discuss repayment options, such as a payment plan. As long as they are eligible, customers can still claim the SEISS grant if they have an outstanding debt on their HMRC account from Self Assessment.

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  1. Submit your CJRS claims for May

CJRS claims for periods in May can be submitted now, and ‌‌must be made by Monday‌‌‌ ‌14 June.

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

Check if your clients and their employees are eligible and work out how much you can claim using our CJRS calculator and examples on GOV‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌.UK.

Conditions of claiming CJRS grants

Please remind your clients that they must pay the associated employee tax and National Insurance contributions to HMRC. This is a condition of applying for the grant, so not doing so will mean they’ll need to repay the whole of the CJRS grant and they may not be able to claim for future CJRS grants.

If your client is having difficulties paying any of their tax liabilities to HMRC, we will work with them to explore affordable payment options – for example, through a payment plan where they can pay over time, in instalments. To find out more go to GOV.UK.

What you or your clients need to do now

  1. If they haven’t submitted their claim for April but believe that they have a reasonable excuse for missing the 14‌‌‌ ‌April deadline, check if they can make a late claim by searching ‘claim for wages’ on GOV‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌.UK.
  2. Submit any claims for May no later than Monday‌‌‌ ‌14‌‌ June.
  3. Keep records that support the amount of CJRS grants you claim, in case HMRC needs to check them.
  4. Make sure they‘re paying employee tax and National Insurance contributions to HMRC and contact us if they’re struggling to pay.

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  1. Changes to the CJRS from July

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 10% difference in July (20% in August and September), so that they can 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.

For the hours not worked employers can continue to choose to top up their employees’ wages above the 80% level or cap for each month, at their own expense.

To help you and your clients plan ahead for all future claim periods, the CJRS calculator is available to help you work out how much you can claim for employees. To find this and everything you need to know about the CJRS, go to claim for wages on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

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  1. VAT deferral – apply online by 21‌‌‌ ‌June

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

If they haven’t done so yet, your clients can apply now to spread these payments – businesses that join by 19‌‌ ‌May‌‌‌ ‌2021 can pay in up to nine monthly instalments. If businesses apply to spread their payments between 20‌‌‌ ‌May and 21‌‌‌ ‌June they can pay in eight instalments.

21‌‌‌ ‌June is the deadline for businesses to join this scheme. They can apply quickly and simply online without needing to call us. To find out more, including what your clients need to sign up online, go to VAT deferral on GOV.UK.

If businesses are still unable to pay and need more time, they should contact us.

Businesses may be charged a 5% penalty and/or interest if they do not sign up to the VAT deferral scheme by the deadline of 21‌‌‌ ‌June, or pay in full by 30‌‌‌ ‌June, or get in touch with us to make an alternative arrangement to pay by 30‌‌‌‌‌ ‌‌June‌‌ ‌2021.

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  1. Claiming tax relief for working from home

Your clients or their employees may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if they have to work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week. Additional costs include heating, metered water bills or business calls that have been incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily as a direct result of working from home. They don’t include costs that would stay the same whether employees are working at home or in an office.

Your clients or their employees can apply quickly and easily using the HMRC online service, which is now open for claims covering periods up to 5‌‌‌ ‌April 2022. For more information go to working at home on GOV‌‌.UK.

Employees who have to complete a Self Assessment tax return will need to claim working from home expenses through the employment income pages of their tax return instead of the digital service.

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  1. Where can I get further support?

Many agents have benefitted from our webinars which offer information on the CJRS and SEISS, other government support and how it applies to your clients. Go to help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus to book online, or to view updated guidance.

If you’re booked on a webinar but can no longer attend, please cancel your place to allow space for others to register.

For the CJRS, there’s also a 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 you need to take to make a claim.

Find out what other government financial support may be available for you and your business as part of the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs on GOV.UK.

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  1. A word about scams

With the launch of the fourth SEISS grant, we’re aware that criminals are using this opportunity to try and scam our customers. We’d appreciate it, if you could signpost your clients to our guidance on identifying scams. The only place that your clients can claim the grant is on GOV.UK.

We are also aware of recent increases in scam phone calls, emails and texts. If someone contacts you claiming to be from HMRC saying that you owe tax and face arrest, are due a tax refund, that your National Insurance number has been compromised or asking you to transfer money or give bank or other personal details, it might be a scam.

Search GOV‌‌‌‌.UK for our ‘scams checklist’ and to find out how to report tax scams. You can also access the National Cyber Security Centre’s new guide on how to stay secure online and protect yourself or your business against cybercrime by searching ‘Cyber Aware’.

Thank you for providing invaluable support to your clients during these challenging times, including to potentially vulnerable customers who can also seek help from our Extra Support Team.

I hope this information helps you and your business, and we’ll continue to keep you updated.

Yours faithfully

Jim Harra

Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary – HMRC


Originally published by HMRC