TO FIND THE MOST UP-TO-DATE ADVICE AND GUIDANCE ABOUT COVID-19 PLEASE VISIT THE GOVERNMENT’s DEDICATED WEBPAGES. YOU WILL FIND A MASS OF INFORMATION TO GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE NEW FINANCIAL HELP SCHEMES. YOU CAN ALSO ACCESS BASIC MEDICAL ADVICE.
The virus which forms Covid-19 is so small it can penetrate most standard masks, clothing, and live on any surface – including banknotes, handrails, anything at all that is touched – for several dangerous days. What makes this so horribly different is that it spreads before the spreaders know they have contracted it, and it attacks the frail and elderly with vicious abandon. So the death toll is rising fast. But the efforts of scientists and the Government are all designed to help stem the spread. This page will provide some of the information and help to explain the practical measures already taken. The nation is now in official lockdown. We are not allowed to leave our homes unless our work is vital or we need to buy food or take exercise. It is going to be tough for everyone.
To provide some immediate assistance our district councils in Somerset have got together to help produce a special document which contains contact details for emergencies and a great deal of factual material. It is well worth downloading and keeping close at hand.
HMRC is ready to help all businesses, and self-employed individuals, in financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Any business affected by the outbreak can find detailed guidance on GOV.UK. If you are concerned about not being able to pay an overdue tax bill or a bill due in the near future due to COVID-19, you can contact our new dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. We have seen some MPs have been tweeting out the incorrect HMRC number. Please make sure you share this one.
Our telephone lines are operating on reduced hours of 8am until 4pm Monday to Friday while we have fewer advisers available due the measures put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus. If any of your constituents have missed or are worried about missing their next tax payment, please ask them to call. If it’s about a future payment, please encourage them to call us nearer the time.
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. In particular:
- for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 2 weeks of COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million employers with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. More information about this and regular updates can be found on GOV.UK
- HMRC will be supporting businesses and self-employed individuals in distress by providing support with their tax affairs, including a Time to Pay arrangement facility. You can check your tax payments using your Personal Tax Account (PTA) or the HMRC App.
This is all part of a wider package of measures which includes:
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- support for liquidity amongst large firms, with a major new scheme being launched by the Bank of England to help them bridge Coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans (more details to follow in due course)
- new legal powers in the Covid Bill enabling the government to offer whatever further financial support we think necessary to businesses.
Other HMRC updates:
One-year delay to reform of the off-payroll working rules (IR35)
The government has announced it is delaying the reforms to the off-payroll working rules (IR35) from 6 April 2020 to 6 April 2021.
This deferral has been announced in response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, to help businesses and individuals deal with the economic impacts of the pandemic. This is a deferral of the introduction of the reforms, not a cancellation.
Due to this delay we will be pausing the customer support and education programme that HMRC has been delivering to help customers get ready. We will resume education and support activities at the appropriate time ahead of the reform in April 2021. We will publish more information on GOV.UK once it becomes available and we will also keep you and those affected updated.
HMRC developed a wide range of guidance, support and communications resources to help customers prepare for the changes, which are now delayed. These products will be updated shortly and remain available to access to help you prepare for the changes due in April 2021.
Loan Charge update
As you may be aware, the government has announced a number of changes to the Loan Charge following an independent review l
You may find the following links helpful
- Guidance on what the changes to the Loan Charge mean
- Guidance on reporting and accounting for the Loan Charge
- Guidance on what to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time
HMRC would encourage anyone who thinks they may have difficulties paying what they owe to get in touch with us. We want to help people, consider their individual circumstances and work with them to agree an affordable payment plan. Please advise anyone with concerns to call us on 03000 599110 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reminder about Help to Save
Help to save is a scheme that helps those on lower incomes build up a ‘rainy day’ fund. It’s available to working people on tax credits, or Universal Credit with a minimum earned income equivalent to 16 hours per week at the National Living Wage in their last assessment period.
Help to Save offers working people on low incomes a 50% bonus, rewarding savers with 50p for every £1 saved. Over four years, a maximum bonus of £1,200 is available on savings of up to £2,400. Account holders can save between £1 and £50 every calendar month and accounts last for four years from the date the account is opened. After two years, savers get a 50% tax-free bonus on the highest balance they’ve achieved. If they continue saving, they could receive another 50% tax-free bonus after a further two years.
Apply for Marriage Allowance
HMRC is reminding couples they may be eligible for Marriage Allowance. The law has recently changed allowing heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships, and eligible civil partners are also able to claim the allowance.
Marriage Allowance lets you transfer ten per cent of your Personal Allowance, currently £1,250, to your husband, wife or civil partner – if they earn more than you.
You can benefit from Marriage Allowance if all the following apply:
- you’re married or in a civil partnership;
- you do not pay income tax (for example, or your income is below your Personal Allowance – currently £12,500);
- your partner pays income tax at the basic rate, which usually means their income is between £12,501 and £50,000 (£43,430 in Scotland);
You may also be able to backdate your claim by up to four years, currently to include any tax year since 5 April 2015 that you met the criteria above. The deadline for this is 5 April this year.