GOVERNMENT SCHEMES: JOB RETENTION “FURLOUGH” SCHEME EXTENDED TO OCTOBER

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on 12 May that the CJRS scheme will be extended until the end of October. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July with the Government paying 80% of employees wages up to £2,500 a month. For accounts purposes the amounts received should be credited to a “grants received” account, and this will therefore increase taxable profits of the business.

From 1 August to the end of October, HMRC will introduce more flexibility so employers will be able to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time and contribute to paying employees’ wages while still receiving support from the scheme.

On Friday 29 May the Chancellor announced that the Government will stop reimbursing NICs and pension contributions from 1 August 2020. From 1 September 2020 the amount reimbursed by the Government will be reduced to 70%, limited to £2,190. There will be a further reduction to 60% from 1 October 2020, limited to £1,875.

We will of course continue to assist you in making furlough claims.

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES: SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT GRANTS ALSO EXTENDED

Sole traders and members of partnerships started making claims under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme on Wednesday 13 May and many have already received their grant.

Unfortunately, unlike the CJRS furlough scheme, claims could not be made by agents on behalf of clients although we can of course check that you have received the correct amount and request a review if the amount is incorrect.

In order to be eligible your self-employed profits in 2018/19 must not exceed £50,000 and must be more than 50% of your total income. If that test is not met, then the same £50,000 and 50% tests are applied to average profits and total income over the three years (or shorter period) to 5 April 2019.

The amount of the grant that can be claimed is 80% of average profits for the three years to 5 April 2019. The grant is capped at £2,500 a month and the maximum amount is £7,500 for the initial 3 month period. The Chancellor has now announced that this scheme would be extended for 3 months from 1 June but reduced to 70% of average profits, limited to £6,570.

There are a number of anomalies, for example if the trade commenced 6 October 2017 the profits for 2017/18 and 2018/19 are divided by 2 to establish an annual profit figure rather than divided by 18 months which we consider to be unfair.

Like the CJRS furlough payments the amounts received are included in your trading profits and thus subject to income tax and national insurance.

CAN WE “FURLOUGH” THE COMPANY CAR?

During the lockdown period many employees and directors have not been using their company cars and it has been sitting on their driveway. You might think that means that the benefit of having a company car does not apply but unfortunately HMRC do not agree.

HMRC have recently confirmed that there continues to be a taxable benefit unless the car is unavailable for private use for 30 or more consecutive days. They would continue to regard the car as available to the employee unless the keys or fobs are returned to the employer or to a third party as instructed by the employer.

This guidance needs to be taken into consideration when form P11Ds are completed.

Note also that where the employee is provided with a motor car with zero CO2 emissions there is no taxable benefit in kind for 2020/21.

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