November 6, 2020: Wheelers Words

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November 6, 2020 | COVID-19 Support Update

First, apologies for the number of updates we are sending at the minute. We can only blame the Chancellor for setting new guidance on an almost daily basis at the moment!

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – update 5 November 2020

The scheme which we were told would end on 31st October and was to be replaced with the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) has now been extended until March 2021. The JSS will now commence after the CJRS has come to an end.

HMRC will again pay 80% of wages of furloughed staff up to a cap of £2,500 but will not contribute towards any Employers National Insurance or pension contributions. As before, employers are able to top up the wages to 100% if they wish to do so. The level of funding is due to be reviewed in January 2021.

Employees can continue to work ‘flexibly’. I.e. part time hours and HMRC will fund 80% of the hours that are not worked. The claim system is not yet open, but once it is you will be able to make a claim via the same portal as before. The portal will open on 11th November for claims since 1st November. HMRC have announced that they will issue guidance on how to calculate the amount that can be claimed on Tuesday 10th November.

For an employee to be eligible for the extended CJRS they must have been part of an RTI submission before 30th October. This does mean that new employees recruited since the initial lockdown and other employees who have never been furloughed before can be part of the new funding system.

Employees made redundant since 23 September can also be re-employed and put back on furlough.

Job Retention Bonus

We had previously been advised that a £1,000 per employee bonus for those who had been furloughed in the past and met certain conditions up until the end of January would be payable in February. Unfortunately, today it was announced that this has been put on hold and may not happen at all.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) extended and updated 5 November 2020

The extension will last six months from November 2020 to April 2021 and will be paid in two lump sums. The grant will be 80% (up from 55% announced earlier in the week) of average trading profits (as previously calculated) capped at £7,500 for the first one, HMRC are yet to announce the level of support for the second payment. In order to claim these grants you must have been eligible to claim for the first two and you can still claim even if you didn’t actually receive the grant if you were entitled to it.

You must declare that you intend to continue to trade and either:

  • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus, or
  • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.

The first grant will cover the period from 1 November to 31 January 2021 and the claim window is expected to open on 30th November 2020.

Bounce back loans

You now have until 31 January 2021 to apply for one of these if you haven’t already. Due to the recent changes you are now allowed to ‘top up’ if you’ve not borrowed the full amount (25% of turnover) you were eligible to. In summary, there is no interest for 12 months and then 2.5% fixed thereafter. The loan can now last for up to 10 years, but you can repay earlier if you wish.

HMRC online support checker

HMRC still have their online support checker available to use if you are unsure of the level of support available to your business. The link to the site is:

https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae