About Wheelers

 Wheelers - providing professional advice to businesses and individuals since 1941.

At Wheelers, we believe that you should expect more from your accountant.

Our services go further than the computation of your tax and the production of your accounts. We have our clients' best interests and long term good at heart - our goal is to become your trusted mentor and, if you run a business, your expert business partner.

If you would like a copy of our GDPR Policy please email jo.warren@wheelers.co.uk










As detailed in our previous update HMRC have extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) so that eligible individuals are able to claim a second and final grant in August 2020. They have now released further details which state in order to claim you must be adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020. They will work out your eligibility the same way as the first grant (a recap is included below). It is possible to claim for the second grant even if you have not claimed for the first one. Examples of what adversely affected means are detailed below.


This grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.


Who is eligible?


A self-employed individual and member of a partnership are eligible if the following conditions are met:


-         you traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self-Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year;


-         you traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020;


-         you intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021;


-         your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income (this test may be subject to a three year average depending on when the trade commenced);


-         you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus (to claim the second grant it must have been adversely affected after 14 July 2020).




Additional guidance has been issued to help identify if you and your trade has been adversely affected by coronavirus (the last condition above). This could be evident if you are unable to work because you:


-         are shielding


-         are self-isolating


-         are on sick leave because of coronavirus


-         have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus




Or you have had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:


-         your supply chain has been interrupted


-         you have fewer or no customers or clients


-         your staff are unable to come in to work




Some limited examples of what is meant by adversely affected are on HMRC’s website:








It is recommended that you record how you have been adversely affected by coronavirus so that if HMRC were to investigate in the future you can prove you meet this criterion.




It is worth noting, if you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work.




You can use link below to check if you are eligible by entering your UTR (unique tax reference) and national insurance number:








Who will not qualify for SEISS?


-         Trusts operating a trade.


-         Individuals who started trading in 2019/20.


-         Furnished holiday lettings.


-         Individuals who do not derive more than 50% of their income from self-employment.








If you are eligible and your trade has been adversely affected, any applications for the first grant must be filed on or before 13 July 2020 if you wish to claim this.








Taxpayers can choose to defer their payment on account due on 31 July 2020. There is no requirement to notify HMRC of this. If you choose to defer this payment it will be due on 31 January 2021.








HMRC have now released guidance for businesses on how to repay an overclaim made under the CJRS scheme. If you are going to make another claim, it should be deducted from that amount. However, if you have now brought all your staff back and there will be no further claims you should repay it to HMRC. In order to do this, you will need a payment reference number which you can obtain from HMRC, by calling 0800 024 1222.



Wheelers Words Update 15/06/2020


CJRS Scheme update


Further to our last update HMRC have now released further details on how the scheme will work from 1 July. Only employees who you have claimed for prior to this date can be furloughed after 1 July. The claim window for employers closes on 31 July for all furlough claims up to 30 June. The maximum number of employees claimed for after 1 July cannot exceed the number claimed for prior to 30 June (except if an employee is returning from parental pay).


Employees working reduced hours


From 1st July, provided the employee has been furloughed before they may be able to work reduced hours and the hours not worked claimed as furlough. Examples on how to calculate can be found at:





Level of funding


As previously reported the level of funding for furloughed staff will be reduced from 1st August from the current maximum which is £2,500 (80% of £3,125) per month plus Employers NIC and Pension.


From 1st August – no claim for Employers NIC (but this may be covered by the employment allowance for small businesses which is now £4,000) or Pension contributions


From 1st September - no claim for Employers NIC or Pension contributions and reduced rate to 70% of gross pay


From 1st October - no claim for Employers NIC or Pension contributions and reduced rate to 60% of gross pay



When the CJRS ends


The Scheme ends at the end of October, the employer must the decide whether employees return to normal hours, reduce them or even terminate employment (redundancy). Normal redundancy rules will apply if you decide to terminate employment when the furlough period has ended.


CJRS and its link to holiday


A worker continues to accrue holiday entitlement whether they are on sick leave, parental leave or even furlough. During a period of furlough pay an employer can insist that a worker takes holiday provided a notice period of double the amount of time they wish the worker to take off as holiday has been given. Without disrupting a period of furlough as an employer you can give notice that a worker must take holiday, however the furlough pay (currently 80%) must be topped up to normal pay and the difference in cost must be met by the Employer. With the rates that can be reclaimed set to reduce over the coming months it might be worth considering workers takin some of their annual leave before the end of June in order to get the maximum contribution towards the payment of it.


It is worth thinking about how much holiday furloughed workers will have accrued and need to take off once they return from furlough. This may cause enormous problems if several workers all have holiday they need to take within a smaller window. It has been announced that Employers must allow the holiday to be carried forward into future holiday years if certain factors are met.



Old CJRS can now be amended


HMRC have now updated the claim process so that old overclaims can be adjusted when you make the next claim. This only works for overclaims when you have still got employees furloughed, there is still no way of paying back an earlier overclaim if you are not making a future claim – we are told this is now in development. In addition, if you have underclaimed there is still no method of adding to an original claim.


Additional discretionary capital grant


There is capital funding available to small businesses in the CPCA area which covers Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Fenland, East Cambridgeshire, Rutland, West Suffolk, North Hertfordshire, Uttlesford, Lincolnshire - South Kesteven and South Holland, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk. Grants of between £2,000 and £150,000 available towards a project cost which is also linked to job retention/creation. Further information at:






Other news – Construction Industry Reverse charge VAT


HMRC have advised that this has been further delayed and will now not be implemented until 31 March 2021, a sigh of relief for many businesses in that sector who are already busy dealing with trying to get their business operational again after the Corona Virus pandemic.




Wheelers Words update 5 June 2020


Discretionary Grant Business Support Fund


The Government made available additional grant funding for local councils to distribute amongst businesses in their area.


Fenland District Council have now released details on how their pot of money will be allocated. This is in addition to the Small Business Grant Funds and the Retail and Leisure grants announced back in April. If you are eligible for one of those grants you will not qualify for these new funds. It is likely that the criteria in each district will vary and it is essential you apply to the local council where your business is based. Applications close on 22nd June, so it is essential you make your claim as soon as possible.


The initial grant will be £2,500 but this could rise to a maximum of £10,000 for eligible businesses, which are split into five categories. Full details can be found at www.fenland.gov.uk/discretionarybusinessgrants


The five categories of eligible businesses are:


1)      Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces


2)      Market traders


3)      Bed and Breakfast businesses


4)      Small charity properties


5)     Local economic priorities



You must also meet two of the following criteria:


1)     No more than 50 employees


2)     Turnover not more than £10.2 Million


3)     Balance sheet total not more than £5.1 Million




King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Borough council has similar criteria and they have eligibility checker on their website at www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/discretionarygrant


South Holland District Council information can be found at the following web address www.sholland.gov.uk/article/14144/Small-business-grant




Breckland District Council




North Norfolk District Council






Please contact us if you need any help with your application.



Wheelers Words Update 1 June 2020 - Latest Corona Virus News




Over the last week or so we have seen various announcements which have made changes to the support for businesses. We have outlined the main changes below, but it should also be noted that the loan and grant schemes are still in place and remain unchanged for those who are eligible to claim.




Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)


On Friday the Chancellor announced a variety of changes to the scheme which allow for part time working but also a reduction in the amount that can be claimed back by employers.


The changes in amount to reclaim are as follows:


·         From 1st August only 80% of Gross pay (as previously) can be reclaimed, the employer will not be able to claim back employers’ pension and National Insurance contributions


·         From 1st September only 70% of Gross pay can be reclaimed with the employer paying the other 10% and employers’ pension and National Insurance contributions


·         From 1st October this will reduce to 60% of Gross pay, with the employer paying the other 20% and employers’ pension and National Insurance contributions




From 1st July employees can return part time ‘flexible furloughing’, with the employer paying for the worked hours at the normal rate and HMRC paying 80% (reducing from 1st August) of their salary on the furloughed days. In order to qualify they must be on furlough by 10th June (ie 3 weeks before the 1st July). It is essential that letters showing the date of furlough are in place and signed in case of inspection. Further guidance on calculations is expected in the coming weeks.


Additional claim points:


·         Claim periods from 1st July can no longer overlap calendar months.


·         Employers can make a claim for a minimum period of week (more frequent claims will not be allowed)


·         Employers will be asked to report the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period


·         The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim under the current CJRS.






Covid -19 Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme


HMRC opened the portal for SSP reclaims relating to Covid -19 on Tuesday 26th May. The claim is made in the same way as the Corona Job Virus Retention scheme. After you login there is a separate link to the SSP claim form.


The eligibility for claims has not changed, you can use the scheme as an employer if:


·         You are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus


·         You have a payroll scheme in place before 28 February 2020


·         You have fewer than 250 employees at 28 February 2020.


There is no need to have a doctor note in place but you can ask for the NHS isolation note or NHS/GP letter notifying that the employee is at high risk.


The repayment covers up to 2 weeks SSP, starting from the first day (no waiting days required) if the employee:


·         Has coronavirus symptoms


·         Self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms


·         Has a letter to self-isolate or is at high risk.


The weekly rate is currently £95.85 (£94.25 before 6 April 2020).


Records must be kept for 3 years including the reason the employee was off work.




Self-employed income support scheme extended


The chancellor extended the scheme for self employed people in a similar way to the furlough scheme for employees. Self-employed people affected by the virus are eligible for a second and final payment of up to £6,750 (down from £7,500) in August.


A claim must be made using the personal tax account in the same way as the first one was made. You do not need to have made a claim for the first grant to be eligible for the second one. HMRC make the calculation for you and the eligibility criteria remain the same.






Update from Wheelers


The office is still working from home with all calls to our landline being diverted to a mobile number. In the next couple of weeks, we are starting to take some steps to return some of our staff back to the office and a partial reopening of our reception. Details of this will come in the next few days but we are anticipating that our reception area will be open 9.00 – 1.00 from Monday 8th June.







Latest Corona Virus Update 14/05/2020


Self Employed Support Scheme

The new portal for claiming opened this morning for people with an allocated slot. Please refer back to the update from Monday on who is eligible to claim. Once you have completed the eligibility checker you will be allocated a slot to login and make the claim.

The claim process (which we cannot complete as agent) is very simple. You just need your bank details handy at the time of the claim. The way HMRC calculate your claim amount is clearly shown on the screen. You will be given a claim reference which we suggest you note for any future query. We are expecting the money to be received into bank accounts within 6 working days.


Changes to the Furlough Scheme

Yesterday the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended by four months to the end of October. The scheme will remain the same until the end of July, but after that there will be some flexibility on workers returning on a part time basis. It is also expected that employers will have to contribute to the wages of their employees but full details are expected by the end of this month.


Government issues guides to working safely during COVID-19

A suite of useful guides has been issued by the Government on how to open workplaces safely during and after the pandemic. They can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Each guide gives practical tips on how to social distance and keep employees safe.


Wheelers update


Our offices remain closed under the current guidance from the Government as we can safely work from home. We will of course update you when this changes.





HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have issued an online tool which can be used to help you find out what support may be available to you and your business during the Covid-19 crisis. The tool can be found at:







Hopefully many of you that are eligible for the governments Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) have been contacted by HMRC by now. If you have not been contacted and you think you may be eligible it is possible to check on the following website by entering your UTR (unique tax reference) and national insurance number:




Who is eligible?

A self-employed individual and member of a partnership are eligible if the conditions are met:


you traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year


you traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020


you intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021


your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income (this test may be subject to a three year average depending on when the trade commenced)


you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus


Additional guidance has been issued to help identify if you and your trade has been adversely affected by coronavirus (the last condition above). This could be evident if you are unable to work because you:


are shielding


are self-isolating


are on sick leave because of coronavirus


have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus

Or you’ve had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:


your supply chain has been interrupted


you have fewer or no customers or clients


your staff are unable to come in to work


It is recommended that you record how you have been adversely affected by coronavirus so that if HMRC were to investigate in the future you can prove you meet this criterion.


It is worth noting, if you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work.


Who will not qualify for SEISS?


Trusts operating a trade


Individuals who started trading in 2019/20


Furnished holiday lettings


Individuals who do not derive more than 50% of their income from self employment


Application and calculation of the grant


The scheme is due to open on 13th May 2020, eligible individuals are being allocated a window for their claim between 13th – 18th May by HMRC on a random basis. This is being done to ensure the new system can cope with demand. As of yet, there has been no indication that this scheme will close after this window, however we recommend you complete the check above to identify your allocated claim window and try to complete during this time if at all possible.


Please note, the HMRC scheme is not accessible by us as your agent, this will mean the grants will need to be applied for by yourselves. This was the route chosen by HMRC to ensure that the system was complete, and to enable funds to be issued as soon as possible.


If you are in a partnership, each individual partner should complete their own claim and consider their eligibility individually.


The claim process should be straightforward, HMRC are requesting basic details. This will include the bank account you wish for the payment to made into. The calculation of the grant will be completed by HMRC using the information submitted on tax returns. Once you have completed the application you should be given an instant response and claim calculation. We strongly recommend you print this for your records. We have not received any further guidance that this information will be saved anywhere or can be retrieved, so if you can save/print for your files this can then be checked afterwards if you believe something may be incorrect. As this grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance it will also need to be kept with your accounting records.


Once you have submitted your claim, you should receive the grant income in your nominated bank account within 6 working days.


This doesn’t apply for many people, but if you are considered digitally excluded, it is possible to apply over the phone however it is expected that the phone lines could be busy.


If you do not have a personal tax account set up, once you have completed the eligibility checker above, you can then continue through this process and set one up. In order to prove your identity, you will need either your driving licence, passport or proof of some financial details HMRC hold.


Spam emails



Please watch out for phishing emails and any links included on these with respect to Covid-19 support as there has been an increase in spam emails prompting for bank details to get financial help.  



HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will begin contacting customers who may be eligible for the governments Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) from today. HMRC are contacting customers who may be eligible via email, text message or letter.


The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.


Who’s eligible


Individuals are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020, intend to continue trading, and they:


earn at least half of their income through self-employment


have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year


traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year


HMRC is using information that customers have provided in their 2018 to 2019 tax return – and returns for 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 where needed – to determine their eligibility.



If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work.


The scheme is expected to open on 13th May 2020, however HMRC seem be allocating a claim window for eligible individuals. The claim window may be mentioned on communications you receive from HMRC. It is also possible to go on the following website to see if you are eligible and identify when a claim can be made, you will be prompted to enter your UTR (unique tax reference) and national insurance number:




HMRC are also encouraging individuals to ensure their details are up to date. You can do this by logging on to your personal tax account. If you do not currently have one, it can be set up by using the following link:




If you need any assistance with the above, please do not hesitate to contact us. 



HMRC have been contacting Employers directly by email if they hold an email address for the business. Yesterday they released further details on how the claim system for furloughed workers will be claimed. They also changed the date when the member of staff had to be employed by the company to 19 March 2020 (previously 28 February 2020).


 If we operate your payroll and you have advised us that you have furloughed employees we are likely to be able to make a claim on your behalf as agent. If you operate your own payroll you must start getting prepared to make the claim now. We are advised that claims will be paid within 6 working days of the information being submitted on the new portal which opens on 20 April 2020.


 HMRC have said you will need the following information to make a claim:


  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
  1. Name.
  2. National Insurance number.
  3. Claim period and claim amount.
  4. PAYE/employee number (optional).
  • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
  • if you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.


If we operate your payroll for you we will already hold the required information, but we may contact you to confirm the bank details where you wish the funds to be paid. If you are at all unsure who is asking for the bank details we suggest you call the main office number and leave your details with reception.



It is essential that you retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims. 

We have attached a list of frequently asked questions as supplied by our free protection providers Croner-I which we thought you might find useful.


What is the Job Retention Scheme?

By designating employees as “furloughed”, you will be able to recover 80% of your wage costs through the Job Retention Scheme. This means that your furloughed employees will still receive at least 80% of their wages, even though they are not carrying out any work. It is a way of avoiding unpaid lay off or redundancy and allows you to keep employees on until you can provide work again.

Do I need to get employees to agree to the furlough?

Unless there is a term allowing furlough in employees’ contracts, you will need to obtain agreement from employees to designate them as furloughed and reduce their pay (if that is what you want to do — you may decide to furlough and keep on 100% pay by topping up the Government grant).

You will need to agree the pay reduction with employees as part of the agreement to furlough, because normal employment law principles apply.

The agreement should be confirmed in writing to the employee and a record kept for five years.

Do I have to collectively consult if 20 or more employees are involved?

Possibly. If there is a pre-existing consultation process in place, you may have to follow it. If there is no consultation process in place and to begin consultation on this would present difficulties with the election of representatives and actually fulfilling consultation, there may be a defence because of the special circumstances. In all but the most extreme cases, there is likely to be an expectation that some form of consultation is undertaken.

Who will the Scheme apply to?

The Scheme is open to all UK employers that had a PAYE scheme in place on 19 March 2020, is enrolled for PAYE online and has a UK bank account. Any organisation with employees can apply, including charities, not for profit organisations and recruitment agencies.

Whose wages can I claim?

To be eligible, the individual must be PAYE and must have been on the payroll on 19 March 2020. This means that you cannot recover wages for anyone who started on 20 March or later. Full time, part time, temporary and zero hours and fixed term staff can all be included as long as they are PAYE. Office holders, (including directors), salaried members of LLPs, agency workers and those who fall into the employment status category of ‘worker’ can be included.

What do we use as the starting point for employee pay?

Salaried employees’ pay is that which they earned in the last pay period prior to 19 March 2020. You can reclaim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2500 per month, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions on that reduced wage. Guidance published on 15 April 2020 clarifies that, if, based on previous guidance, you had calculated your claim based on the employee’s salary as at 28 February 2020 (and that differed from their salary in their last pay period prior to 19 March 2020), you can choose to still use this calculation for your first claim.

The situation for those with variable/irregular pay is different. If the employee has been employed (or engaged by an employment business) for a full 12 months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of either:

·         the same month’s earning from the previous year

·         average monthly earnings from the 2019–20 tax year.

If the employee has been employed for less than a year, you can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.

What is covered in terms of elements of pay?

The Government guidance is that commission, bonuses and discretionary payments are not included when calculating pay. All elements that you are obliged to pay your employees including wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments can be included.

Will the payment be taxable?

Yes, payments you make to furloughed employees will be subject to PAYE and National Insurance contributions.

Will I be able to recover Employer’s NI contributions and pension contributions under the Job Retention Scheme?

You remain liable for Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on behalf of their furloughed employees. However, you can claim a grant from HMRC to cover:

·         wages for a furloughed employee (equal to the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular salary or £2500 per month), plus

·         the Employer National Insurance contributions associated with that (capped) payment, plus

·         minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions in respect of that (capped) payment.

HMRC will issue more guidance on how you should calculate their claims for Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions before the scheme becomes live.

Do I have to pay 100% of the wages in order to claim?

No. You can choose to top up to 100% but do not have to. Those who choose to top up can still only claim the 80%.

Do I have to meet minimum wage with the 80%?

Minimum wage applies to hours worked. So, if employees are furloughed and do not work and 80% of their normal earnings would take them below the NMW, this is fine.

How will I apply for the reimbursement?

You can make one claim at least every three weeks. The Government will issue further guidance on the mechanics of claiming the payment, and the online portal to use, in due course.

What if I have already made redundancies?

Anyone on the payroll on 28 February 2020 who was made redundant before 19 March 2020 can be re-hired and put on the scheme. There is no obligation to re-hire, just that you can agree to this. Employers can use the letter to withdraw a redundancy and offer furlough .

Can I agree to re-hire and furlough in any other circumstances?

Yes. Anyone who left your organisation after 28 February 2020 but before 19 March 2020 can be re-hired and placed on furlough. However, this is not an obligation and you can decide whether to do this or not. Anti-discrimination laws are likely to apply here.

How long does furlough last?

Furlough must be taken in minimum blocks of three weeks in order to be eligible for the funding. For now, the maximum period would appear to be three months because that is how long the Government has said the Scheme will be available for. However, it may be extended.

Can I rotate employees on furlough?

Yes, it appears so. Employees can be put on furlough more than once so you can, for example, place Employee Set A on furlough while Employee Set B continue to work. Then Set B can be put on furlough while Set A come back to work. Set A can then be furloughed again, etc.

Can the employee undertake any work during furlough?

No. The employee must not be working for you at all, or for any linked or associated organisation. . If they work for even an hour (during their minimum three week furlough period) you cannot claim the grant for this period.

Are all types of work-related activity banned during furlough?

Employees are able to undertake training and do volunteer work, as long as they do not provide services to or make any money for you or any linked or associated organisations. If training is done, it is likely that this will need to be online because of the social distancing measures in place. Furloughed employees undertaking training should be paid for the time because this will be work, albeit the kind permitted during furlough.

Can my employee get another job while on furlough with me?

Your normal rules on employees getting second jobs will still apply; however, you may wish to be flexible in the circumstances. It will be in your best interests to continue any restrictions on other employment which may create a conflict of interest, eg work with a competitor or client. If you do allow your employees to take on other work during their normal working hours, you should ensure that they understand that they must be available for duty when work is available again.

How do I select employees for furlough leave?

You must be careful not to discriminate when deciding who to furlough. In some cases it will be all employees, in others it will be certain departments. Where selection does need to take place, it may be appropriate to implement a similar selection period as would be used in a redundancy situation so that the most effective employees remain in work.

What about employees on sickness or self-isolating?

Employees on sick pay or self-isolating cannot be furloughed but can be furloughed afterwards. You cannot claim the grant for employees who are getting statutory sick pay.

Government guidance released on 9 April 2020 clarified that whilst an employee receiving SSP cannot be furloughed, an employer can decide whether to place a sick employee on furlough or on sick leave. This includes those who are already on sick leave, including long-term sick leave. Where the employer places a sick employee on furlough, SSP is longer payable and the employee should receive furlough pay. Both the SSP recovery scheme, introduced as part of coronavirus emergency legislation, and the Job Retention Scheme can be used for the same employee but not at the same time. The guidance made clear that an employer should not use the Scheme as a way to “top up” sick pay for short term sickness. In any case, the minimum furlough period eligible to claim the grant is three weeks. Where an employee falls sick while on furlough, the employer can decide whether they will be on sick leave or remain on furlough. Employers should bear in mind that a furlough period of less than three weeks does not qualify for a claim to the Scheme. Employers who decide to place sick employees on SSP cannot claim for wages under the Scheme.

What about employees who are ‘shielding’?

Previous Government guidance stated that employers can furlough individuals who are shielding if they are unable to work from home and they would otherwise have to be made redundant.

However, updated guidance from 9 April 2020 now simply states that those who are shielding can be placed on furlough when they are unable to work. The “redundancy” criterion has now been removed which widens the circumstances in which a shielding employee can be furloughed. Despite this, the guidance still says that the Scheme is for use by organisations who are severely affected by coronavirus, though it acknowledges that different organisations will face different impacts.

What’s the position with apprentices?

Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whilst furloughed. However, apprentices must get at least the appropriate minimum wage rate for all the time they spend training which is not covered by the 80% reimbursement.

Where apprentices are furloughed or placed on unpaid leave, or where the nature of their employment changes and no longer supports their apprenticeship, the apprentice, employer and training provider should consider whether a break in learning would be appropriate.

Apprentices can be made redundant, however, specific advice should be taken on this as different rules may apply in different parts of the UK.

Employers who are subject to the apprenticeship levy payment must continue to pay this as normal; it is not recoverable under the scheme.

What’s the position with those with caring responsibilities?

Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) can be furloughed. For example, employees that need to look after children can be furloughed.

Can I furlough employees working on a visa?

Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed, including employees on all categories of visa.

Does annual leave accrue during furlough?

Statutory minimum annual leave entitlement will continue to accrue because the contract of employment is still in existence. You may want to agree that contractual leave in excess of the statutory minimum does not accrue; however, this may present a blocker to obtaining employees’ agreement.

Can annual leave be taken at the same time as furlough?

The Government guidance is not clear on this but the developing position is that it is possible to take annual leave while on furlough. Latest guidance from Acas indicates that employers may still require employees to take leave on Bank Holidays. The Working Time Regulations 1998 do not recognise Bank Holidays as a separate entitlement and so it appears that there is no reason to consider leave on Bank Holidays as any different to non-Bank Holiday leave. It also appears, then, that annual leave does not break a period of furlough and a three-week furlough period which contained a week of annual leave still qualifies the employer to make a claim under the Scheme for the 80% wages. The question of pay for annual leave during furlough is less clear. Workers must receive normal remuneration when on annual leave. Although it may be arguable that normal remuneration during furlough is 80% (where such has been agreed between employer and employee), it is not permissible to contract a worker out of their WTR rights. The safe option would appear to be payment of 100% wage as a top up to that recoverable under the Scheme. However, some employers may choose to pay only the 80% recoverable and hold the remainder aside until further clarification becomes available.

Can I require my employees to take annual leave during furlough?

For the reasons set out above in “Can annual leave be taken at the same time as furlough?”, it appears that annual leave does not break a period of furlough. It follows then that normal application of the WTR still applies, including requiring employees to take annual leave during furlough. However, despite the lack of Government guidance on this, it may seem contrary to the general purpose of the WTR which provides paid time off when the worker would otherwise have been working. Enabling an employer to require an employee to take annual leave during furlough would allow them to run down an employee’s entitlement potentially leaving them with no remaining leave to take when operations return to normal. This does not seem to fit squarely with the principle of the WTR, especially if an employer were to pay only 80% of wages during leave. For these reasons, employers may choose not to require furloughed employees to take annual leave until further clarification is received.

It should be mentioned that the Working Time Regulations 1998 have recently been amended to allow for four weeks of leave to be carried over into the next two leave years where leave could not be taken due to coronavirus. This now means that all statutory minimum annual leave can be carried over, albeit carrying over the 1.6 weeks of additional leave is still subject to agreement by the employer and can only be carried over into the next leave year. Carry over of any contractual leave in excess of the statutory minimum is subject to agreement between employer and employee.

This extension to the carry over rules means that it is less of a concern for employers that employees have a potentially large amount of backed leave to take once the pandemic passes.

What steps have been taken to prevent abuse of the Scheme?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated in his Government briefing on 8 April 2020, that the Scheme had been put together in a way to prevent spurious claims. HMRC’s Chief Executive, Jim Harra, confirmed measures had been put in place to minimise fraud, which were:

·         the requirement for an employer to have already been authenticated by HMRC

·         a four- to six-day payment processing period to allow background checks

·         checks on employers after a payout has been made to verify a claim was real.

A hotline has also been set up on which employees can report employers’ abuse of the system.






Latest update from Wheelers on COVID – 19 support -

9 April 2020


HMRC online portal for Furloughed Employees

It was announced that HMRC were to fund 80% of employees pay to a maximum of £2,500  as well as the respective Employers National Insurance and Pension contributions. At the time of the announcement it was not clear when and how this funding would be paid to the Employer.

HMRC are not known for their speed when it comes to introducing new computer packages, but on this occasion we are advised that this particular portal is already in the testing stage. HMRC have said:

‘We are confident that it will be able to handle the large volume of employers that will use it. It is important that the maximum number will be able to self-serve. We will be issuing guidance next on how to compile claims.’

The portal is set to open on 20 April for submissions from Employers, giving a 10-day window to month end for PAYE payroll reporting. They have indicated that the payments will be made by 30 April to the Employer, but we are yet to receive detailed guidance on how this will work.

If Wheelers do your payroll processing we are anticipating that we will be able to make the claim on your behalf as agent. Clearly, we will not be able to process every claim on the first day of the portal being open due to the large number of payrolls that we prepare. We do acknowledge that cashflow will be difficult for many of you and will do our best to get through them as soon as we can.








Self Employed Income Support

We have now been advised that people wishing to claim grants through the self-employment income support scheme are likely to need access to their business tax account. As agents we have limited access to your affairs and it is possible we will not be able to make a claim on your behalf. Various professional bodies representing tax advisers have made arguments that agents should have access, but this may not be possible in the short time available to develop these services. It is not yet possible to apply for this support and contacting HMRC will clog up the helplines.

It may be beneficial to register for a personal tax account now in advance of when the claim can be made. Go to: www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account and create a new account if you do not already have one.

We will of course be available to give you the information you need to make the claim and whether you will qualify for the grant, which is not expected to be available until June.








Directors being "Furloughed"

The guidance has now been clarified in this area, on the basis that Directors’ responsibilities may not fully be able to stop even if they had been furloughed. To be furloughed the guidance says that you cannot perform any work. The updated release now has the following statement:

"As office holders, salaried company directors are eligible to be furloughed and receive support through this scheme.

Company directors owe duties to their company which are set out in the Companies Act 2006. Where a company (acting through its board of directors) considers that it is in compliance with the statutory duties of one or more of its individual salaried directors, the board can decide that such directors should be furloughed. Where one or more individual directors’ furlough is so decided by the board, this should be formally adopted as a decision of the company, noted in the company records and communicated in writing to the director(s) concerned.
Where furloughed directors need to carry out particular duties to fulfil the statutory obligations they owe to their company, they may do so provided they do no more than would reasonably be judged necessary for that purpose, for instance, they should not do work of a kind they would carry out in normal circumstances to generate commercial revenue or provides services to or on behalf of their company."

We have a standard company minute prepared to agree that Directors can be furloughed but still maintain their statutory obligations. Please let us know if you have Directors on furlough leave and need a minute prepared.








Local Authority Grants

We are already seeing letters from local authorities to eligible businesses from local authorities on how to make a claim for these grants. If you think you should have received one and you haven’t it may be worth contacting them now.

If there is anything we can help with please don't
hesitate to get in touch with us.




Latest update from Wheelers on COVID – 19 support - 30 March 2020

Income Tax July 2020 payment deferral

HMRC had originally indicated that the payment due on 31st July 2020 could only be deferred if you were self-employed. They have now confirmed this is available to all taxpayers who have a payment on account to be made at the end of July.

HMRC Helpline

The support telephone number has changed to 0800 024 1222, they are open Monday – Friday 8.00 -4.00.

Employees working from home (rules are not new but worth repeating at this time)

Check which expenses are taxable as benefit in kind if your employee works from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Extracts from HMRC guidance:

Mobile phones and SIM cards (no restriction on private use)

If you provide a mobile phone and SIM card without a restriction on private use, limited to one per employee, this is non-taxable.


            If your employee already pays for broadband, then no additional expenses can be claimed.

If a broadband internet connection is needed to work from home and one was not already available, then the broadband fee can be reimbursed by you and is non-taxable.

In this case, the broadband is provided for business and any private use must be limited.

Laptops, tablets, computers, and office supplies

If these are mainly used for business purposes and not significant private use, these are non-taxable.

Additional expenses like electricity, heating or broadband

Payment or reimbursement to your employees of up to £4 a week (£6 a week from 6 April 2020) is non-taxable for the additional household expenses incurred when your employee is working from home.

Employer provided loans

A salary advance or loan to help your employee at a time of hardship counts as an employment-related loan. Loans provided with a value less than £10,000 in a tax year are non-taxable.

Employees using their own vehicle for business

You can pay approved mileage allowance payments of 45p per mile up to 10,000 miles (25p per mile thereafter) free of tax and National Insurance contributions.

Significant private use


For items which are taxable, exemptions for work related benefits must show that there is no significant private use.








There have been new measures released to support self-employed workers in a similar way to employees. The Chancellor has announced that the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on their earnings. Earnings will be calculated based on three years average profits (or less if you have traded for fewer than that) submitted on self-assessment tax returns. The grant will be 80% of the average earnings figure and capped at £2,500 for a minimum of three months. 



Who can apply? 



1) Individuals who had self-employed income before 5/4/2019 and submitted a tax return. 


2) Individuals with self-employed profits of up to £50,000 over an average of three years. 


3) Individuals where the majority of their earnings has come from self-employment. 


4) Those who have traded in year ended 5/4/2020 and at the point of the outbreak. 


5) Those who are expecting to continue trading in 2020/2021. 


6) Those who have lost trading/partnership profits. 



Newly self-employed people will not qualify for the grant and will have to seek financial support via a claim for Universal Credit. 



HMRC will be contacting the individuals they think qualify and hope to have the payments to those people by the end of June. 



There was a word of warning that if self-employed people were to be given similar benefits to that of employees then the contributions they make to the tax system might have to be aligned in the future. 



This support is in addition to the measures already released last week in respect of business rates, VAT payment deferral, loans and the ability to defer payments on account at the end of July. 








Both the employee and employer must agree for the employee to be furloughed. The employer must put the decision in writing to the employee. Please ask us if you would like a template letter to use. The scheme applies to permanent, temporary and zero-hour contracts.



Employees can be furloughed by one employer but continue to work for another.



The claim of 80% of earnings (maximum £2,500) is for a minimum of 3 weeks. 


The employer can top up to 100% but does not have to. 



The payment will be subject to Tax and National Insurance in the normal way as earnings. 




Earnings calculation: 



If employed for a full year, you can claim the higher of: 


- The amount you earned in the same month last year;

- The average of your monthly earnings last year. 



If employed for less than one year, earnings will be calculated based on average since you started work. 



Bonuses, commissions and fees are NOT included as part of monthly earnings.


Vulnerable people 



HMRC’s guidance to employees says: 



‘If you are shielding in line with public health guidance, then you should speak to your employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough’. 



This statement suggests that if your employees are in the vulnerable category they can still be furloughed and entitled to 80% pay rather than just SSP.






There still appears to be no support for owned managed companies of Limited companies who derive the majority of their income from dividends. 






As previously announced the VAT that would have ordinarily been collected in the first week of April, May and June can be deferred without application to HMRC.

HMRC has now confirmed that it will NOT automatically cancel collection of VAT payments by direct debit. Businesses that have a direct debit mandate in place to pay their VAT and wish to defer payment will need to contact their bank to cancel that mandate. This needs to be done before the direct debit is due to be collected. VAT returns should be filed as normal by the due date. You can of course still pay the VAT due if you wish. 


Businesses will also need to remember to reinstate their direct debit mandate once the deferral is over and to make arrangements to pay the accumulated VAT by the end of the 2020/21 tax year.





On 20th March 2020 the Chancellor notified the Country about a raft of measures to help business and employees survive the social distancing measures that have been introduced. We have tried to summarise them below from the information we have at the moment but the detail on how some will be funded is still to be released. We will try to keep you up to date when we know more. Although we are working from home as much as possible, we are doing our best to keep normal service running. Robert, Helen and Emma are available to discuss your queries over the telephone as required.


Support for businesses with employees



Job Retention Scheme


HMRC have laid out the following advice so far:

‘Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.


You will need to:


designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation


submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.’


Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

The reclaim of SSP from HMRC was withdrawn several years ago. It has been announced that Employers with fewer than 250 employees can now claim back SSP for up to 2 weeks if sickness is due to COVID – 19. HMRC guidance is copied here:

‘The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:



this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19


employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020


employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19


employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website


eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force


the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legislation has passed.’


General Business Support


VAT payments

The next VAT quarter payments will be deferred, meaning no VAT payments until end of June 2020. Taxpayers will be given until 5 April 2021 to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds will be processed as normal.

It is not yet clear how businesses with Direct Debits set up will get the payment holiday. We will have to wait and see whether all the DD instructions are cancelled or whether each business needs to do themselves. We are currently working on the assumption that the VAT return will still need to be filed on time despite the fact no payment will be needed.


Income Tax Payments

The Income Tax payments on account for self-employed people due on 31 July 2020 will no longer be payable, they will be deferred until 31 January 2021. The guidance does not seem to allow a deferral for others in the Self-Assessment system at present, for example people in receipt of dividends or rental income who are within the Self-Assessment system.


Business rates holiday

HMRC have released guidance for those in the hospitality and leisure industry as well as small businesses in general. Their guidance is copied below:

‘We will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:


your business is based in England


your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:


as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues


for assembly and leisure


as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

There is no action for you, however it might be worthwhile checking the local council is aware you come within the relief. This will apply to your business rates bill for 2020/21. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to include 100% relief. They will do this as soon as possible, but you could consider cancelling your DD.

More general advice for businesses that pay little or no business rates. The government will provide an additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), Rural Rate Relief (RRR) and Tapered Relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. 

You are eligible if:


your business is based in England


you are a small business and already receive SBRR and/or RRR 


you are a business that occupies property

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.’


Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of up to £25,000.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:


as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues


for assembly and leisure


as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

The above grants are administered by the local councils and should be paid automatically, although it could be worthwhile contacting your local council to ensure that they are aware you are within the scheme.


HMRC time to pay

This arrangement is not new, but firms and individuals can apply to delay payments of outstanding liabilities due to the COVID – 19 outbreak, the dedicated number is 0800 0159 559. Currently HMRC will not accept deferral requests from us as Agents so it is likely that you will have to call yourselves to arrange this.



Business Interruption Loan Scheme


These should be available from Monday 23 March and are delivered by all major banks that partner with the British Business Bank. The lender receives a guarantee of 80% of the loan amount from the Government.



They are available for UK-based businesses with turnover of no more than £45 million and can provide for a facility up to £5 million. The borrower remains liable for 100% of the debt.



No interest will be charged for the first 12 months.


Mortgage and rent holidays

Mortgage borrowers can apply for a three-month payment holiday from their lender. Both residential and buy-to-let mortgages are eligible for the holiday. It is important to remember that borrowers still owe the amounts that they don't pay as a result of the payment holiday. Interest will continue to be charged on the amount they owe.


Tenants can apply for a three-month payment holiday from their landlord. No one can be evicted from their home or have their home repossessed over the next three months



Insurance claims

We suggest you contact your broker but the current HMRC guidance is as follows:


‘Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.


Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.  Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.




Coronavirus COVID-19 our office - 16th March 2020

These are uncertain and unprecedented times, as Coronavirus effects the health and safety of individuals and businesses around the UK.  As a result, we are all having to make changes to the way that we work and operate, whether this be as businesses or individuals. 

Wheelers have already implemented a number of measures to ensure that we are able to continue to support you through these times: 

·                We have implemented a policy whereby the majority of our employees have already moved to remote working. 

·                In order to protect the wellbeing of both you as clients and our employees, we have taken the decision not to hold any client meetings in our office. 

·          Our reception remains open to facilitate the dropping off and collecting of documents, but we are asking all clients to make these visits to the office as expedient as possible and only where absolutely necessary. 

·       With regard to on-site visits and bookkeeping, we are implementing where possible, that this is done by your Wheelers contact remotely (where the technology allows), or by way of the information being sent directly to us where possible.  As a result of these measures, we will be contacting you directly to establish how these changes can be implemented in a practical way.  

·          Although we will continue to send documents out by post, it is likely that over the next few weeks more communications will revert to being by electronic means.

For those of you who are in business, I would expect that many of you have already started assessing how Coronavirus will affect your business operationally and financially.  Ultimately, businesses need to understand the key risks and the likely effects on the business’ future income streams.  Some businesses may have business interruption insurance and it may be sensible to talk to your respective brokers to understand what is covered through such policies.  

Please see the link below which is a very useful Government website with information on the help available.


Ultimately our aim is to continue,  as far as possible, to be business as usual providing support for you and your businesses.  It is likely, over the coming weeks, that many businesses will need to access additional funding, whether this be through the business support, HMRC time to pay arrangements, additional bank financing or other sources of capital likely to be put in place in the near future.