Breaking News. This very morning across the UK we’ve now transitioned from alert level 4 to 3 on COVID RISK ALERT table - such good news
I’m delighted that we now have places of worship open for private prayer - this will be a great comfort to many people of faith. There is something very special about the atmosphere of somewhere where people have prayed for generations. I have to say personally I can talk to God where ever I am - I once asked the question of how I was to rebalance my life when having to care for my father after my mother died and I was finding the whole thing excessive in terms of the time burden on myself. The answer I got was, "just remember when you’re 85 you won’t have enough to do", and I have to say that’s been my philosophy ever since, "just remember you may be too busy but when you’re 85 you won’t have enough to do", - what better answer is this for someone who does not know how to sit down?!
Back to subject of toilets which has been on my mind since it featured in these ‘Thoughts’ a couple of weeks ago. Given a complete lack of practical guidance I’ve been concerned about the assessment someone could make on the procedures that I’ve put in place to keep my staff ‘Covid secure’ here in the office. This was put into context last weekend when I went to Lowther Castle and Gardens with my little granddaughters. If you’ve not been there, it is absolutely fantastic - particularly when you’re faced with something that has to be pushchair friendly. Anyway, they’ve been open since the beginning of June - even the café is open though you can’t go inside, and the toilets are just wonderful. You approach the loo area where there is hand sanitiser available before you go into the ladies, obviously usual washing facilities once you’re in there, and then as you leave - in and out operated by a one way system - there’s another hand sanitiser, so I think they’ve got it all sorted. In terms of sitting outside at the café - every time somebody got up to leave, they just came along with the disinfectant and disinfected the chairs as well as the table. A fantastic initiative and a good start in trying to get visitors back to Cumbria.
NHS Test and Trace in the workplace: As confirmed by Matt Hancock and by Dido Harding in the coronavirus briefing on Thursday 11th of June 2020, a Covid-secure workplace means that people that you work with are NOT close contacts for the purposes of Test and Trace. This is a reminder of the gov.uk link to Test and Trace, which I do urge you to read fully: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works. Here is another link – this time containing guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed to understand how to work safely in a number of different workplaces: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/5-steps-to-working-safely
It has now been clarified that the 2nd Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant is for those eligible businesses that have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic on or after 15 July 2020. You will be able to claim the 2nd grant from August. Claims for the 1st grant must be made by 13 July 2020. We have contacted our clients affected by this separately with additional details. For those of you interested in statistics, 3.4 million self-employed people were identified as potentially eligible for the grant from their tax information. At 31 May 2020, 2.4 million of these (70%) had made a claim for SEISS totalling £7 billion, with the average claim £2,900.
CJRS: More guidance was released by the government last Friday and I have sent a detailed update to affected clients. What is clear is that if you have furloughed employees that you bring back on a part-time basis, the calculations could get very tricky – particularly in July when you are able to claim employers NI and employers’ pension from the scheme. See the HMRC document below which summarises the key dates
The deferral of VAT payments, due to the Coronavirus, comes to an end on 30 June 2020. Businesses need to remember to reinstate direct debits to pay any VAT due from 1 July onwards – so this will include 31 May 2020 returns in that the payment is due by 7 July. The direct debit should be reinstated at least three working days before the VAT return is filed to be sure that it will be effective. HMRC will not collect any deferred VAT payments when the direct debit is reinstated, only the amount due on the return just submitted will be collected. Any deferred payments of VAT should be settled by 31 March 2021, and further guidance from HMRC is awaited regarding how these payments can be made. This also applies to those on annual accounting for VAT, so annual accounting balance payments that fall in the period are also automatically deferred to 31 March 2021.
BEWARE - if you get a call, real or automated, purporting to be from HMRC accusing you of tax fraud – THIS IS A SCAM. It is very clever in that most of us would lose our confidence when accused of fraud. HMRC would never contact you in this way.
Finally for this week - if you had to pay the higher rate of stamp duty when you bought a second property, as of 24th March 2020 you will have 3 years in which to sell one of them to claim the refund (previously it was 18 months).