Accounting and Taxation advice in Hexham, Northumberland

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Thoughts for the week ending 21st August

So here we are again folks and straight into technical information:

Parents and carers in receipt of the childcare element of Working Tax Credits who have continued to pay childcare fees they have incurred, despite their children being unable to access childcare because of COVID-19, must notify HMRC if they expect this to continue beyond 7 September. After this date HMRC will no longer pay the childcare element for those in this position.

HMRC has confirmed parents eligible for 30 hours of free childcare whose income has fallen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will continue to receive financial support until 31 October. Good news for mums and dads trying to balance work & family. Parents need to reconfirm their eligibility every 3 months.

Less than 60,000 of landlords have told HMRC they owe it tax – that’s only a small amount of the total number the tax office estimated had underpaid. If you are letting a property and have not told HMRC, it’s one of the ways they are raising money to pay for all the latest financial support. There is a Let Property Initiative enabling you to report a failure to return to such income. By using this you can actually end up saving yourself quite a lot of money in terms of interest and penalties. So, if you know anyone who is in this situation get them to give us a ring as it’s something we’ve got loads of experience in. Unfortunately, having a rental income that only just covers the mortgage doesn’t mean you don’t have tax to pay.

HMRC is investigating 10,428 reports of phishing scams designed to exploit the coronavirus pandemic. Please, please, be vigilant to such activities.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS or furlough) rules change again on 1 September, when only 70% of the employee’s wage, (up to a cap of £2,187.50 a month), can be claimed through the scheme.  The remaining 10%, to take the total pay to employees up to the lower of 80% or £2,500, must be funded by the employer. As for August, employer NI and employer pension contributions cannot be claimed through the furlough scheme.  Here is a link to how changes to the CJRS may impact you or your clients:  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHMRCED/bulletins/29a88dd.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) part 2 opened for applications on 17 August.  The process is the same as before and feedback from clients so far is that it is straight forward, and they are already receiving the money into their bank accounts!  The full eligibility criteria were in my “Thoughts” last week, but in brief you can apply if you meet the financial criteria and have been adversely affected by the coronavirus on or after 14 July 2020.  The scheme plans to close on 19 October 2020.  Here is a link to HMRC see if you are eligible and to make an application: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has made loans of up to £5 million to over 57,000 business, lending over £12.6 billion.  The eligibility criteria have recently changed meaning that businesses which were classed as “undertaking in difficulty” were unable to access CBILS because of EU rules on state aid.  The businesses in this category, and which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £9million, can now apply to CBILS.  The deadline for applications is 23 September 2020.

The weekly technical webinar that I watch, with a colleague, to keep me up to date on all things Covid related was on the subject of stress, not tax this week. We therefore decided that watching a webinar on stress for an hour may likely increase our stress levels rather than decrease them, so we gave it a miss!

There was a headline in the Times last week referring to ‘Zoom dystopia’. I have to confess to have really enjoyed getting back to being able to see clients face-to-face - albeit at a social distance of 2 metres. The thought of us engaging in the majority of our interpersonal transactions on a computer or mobile phone, however useful that’s been through this restricted time, actually fills me with horror so for once I agree with the journalist!

Finally I just want to include a link to what remains closed: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england. I wonder how many other people are still unable to enjoy any Christmas presents such as a trip to Manchester with their son and partner - like the one I am still waiting for!

Keep well,
Tricia

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