Accounting and Taxation advice in Hexham, Northumberland


Thoughts for the week ending 14th August

Hi folks

If the hot and thundery weather was not bad enough this has been the dreaded week of the A-level results. Although it’s now 12 years since as a family we were on tenterhooks for the last set of these results I can still remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach – these results are so important to not only ones child’s future, but also to their feeling of self-worth. So to be faced with the results that seem to be based not on your individual performance by exam or even teacher assessment but on the school you go to seems pernicious to me. I hope the appeal process goes well for those who need to take advantage of it and my heart goes out to every child, parent, grandparent and wider family trying to negotiate their way through this casualty of the coronavirus academic.

We’re now into week two of Eat Out to Help Out. My daughter-in-law tells me that she is getting so much free cake that she’s going to need to go on a diet after August! The places that I frequented seem to have been very well organised, in terms of their COVID security, and I would urge you to take advantage of these early week discounts. I actually feel a little bit guilty about it as we have always tended to go out when it’s quiet - with apologies to David Bowie Monday in normal times is the night when “if the homework brings you down then we'll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown” (Kooks - Hunky Dory for those of you who are too young to remember!). So we’ve certainly been making up for lock down at Government expense these past couple of weeks.

The latest update released yesterday on what we can and can’t do, which features many FAQs about what is now acceptable and what still isn’t, can be found here:

I personally find this a useful link - best to get the rules from the ‘horse’s mouth’ rather than filtered through journalistic interpretation!


On to the more technical stuff:

The self-employed income support grants go live next week and I have set out below how this works. Apparently 16,000 claims have been miscalculated as per HMRC (not bad given the 2.7 million claims that have been paid out) so if you think your grant is wrong - get that appeal in!

Additionally there is grant funding for small businesses for professional advice and for equipment which I think has been little publicised. Here is the link to information regarding the £20million in new grant recovery fund for small businesses:

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The online HMRC claims portal for the 2nd SEISS grant opens on Monday 17 August.   HMRC are contacting those people who are eligible, and these are the same people as for the first grant which is broadly based on your average profits over the tax years 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19, and the income from self-employment needs to be more than 50% of your total income.  The value of the grant is three months of 70% of your average earnings over the tax years 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19.  The first grant was based on 80%.  We have already contacted all our eligible clients.

To be fully eligible your business must have been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.  In many cases whether you have been adversely affected will be quite clear, but in some cases it will be less so.  There is no financial value by which you need to have been adversely affected, indeed if the rest of the year sees a great improvement you will not have to repay the grant if your profits for 2020/21 are higher than usual.  Equally the value of the grant may be more than the additional costs you have had to incur.  You should base your judgement on current events and not anticipate future events.  A list of how you could be adversely affected is on the following HMRC web page, under the sub heading “Who can claim”.  There is also a link taking you to some examples.

It is important to keep evidence of why you believe your business has been adversely affected.

Claims are expected to close on 19 October 2020.  You may not be adversely affected now, but you may be later and be able to claim at that point.  You don’t have to have claimed the first grant to claim the second. 

Link for repaying SEISS back if over claimed:

To end on a down beat note apparently the UK economy is officially in recession for the first time for 11 years. If there is good news from this a number of economic pundits think that we are unlikely to face the problems of inflation for several years despite the Government measures to put money into the economy. It just depends which end of the see-saw you’re on I suppose.

Until next week

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