Member News & Events



Update on the Job Retention Bonus Scheme

Further guidance was issued recently by the Government on the Job Retention Bonus scheme that will enable employers to claim £1,000 per qualifying employee.

Further information is to be published in September but the details provided so far give details of which employees qualify, and state that employers can make the claim from February 2021.

The scheme is aimed at encouraging employers to retain employees who have returned from furlough. 

The qualifying criteria are as follows:

  • the employer has made a qualifying claim for the employee under the Job Retention Scheme;
  • the employee has been continuously employed by the employer since the most recent furlough claim through to at least 31 January 2021;
  • the employee has earned on average £520 per month for the three months ending 31st January 2021, 
  • the employee was paid in each month and their earnings have been reported to HMRC via Real Time Information; 
  • the employee is not serving a contractual or statutory notice period that commenced before 1st February 2021.

The qualifying employees can include full-time and part-time employees, officeholders, company directors and agency workers.

The Job Retention Bonus is an incentive for the employer and does not need to be passed onto the employee, but it is taxable and should be included as income on your tax return.

If you would like to understand whether you might qualify for this bonus then please contact your TC contact or our HR team on 0330 088 7111

www.tc-group.com enquiries@tc-group.com

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Summer Statement 2020: Key Announcements

The Chancellor set out new measures in his Summer Statement today aimed at reviving the economy from its COVID slump. 

At this early stage, the announcements are characteristically light in detail, but we’ve summarised the key points below:

Furlough
The Chancellor confirmed that the existing furlough scheme will cease on 31st October. However,a new “Job Retention Scheme” will apply from November. The scheme will reward employers who bring back furloughed staff who are being paid a minimum of £520 per month and retained until January with a grant of £1,000 per person from the Government.

This is welcomed, but we await to see the details to understand which returning employees will qualify and clarification on the timeframe in which the employees need to return to work.

Training, apprenticeships and “Kick Start” Scheme
There are new schemes to support employers who create new jobs or training or apprenticeship schemes.  

Under the “Kick Start” scheme for new jobs, the Government will pay the first six months of wages and contribute towards overheads, up to £6,500 per employee. To qualify these new jobs will need to be for a minimum of 25 hours per week. 

For new traineeships and apprenticeships, employers will receive grants of £1,000 and £2,000 respectively and an additional £1,500 for apprentices over the age of 24.

Stamp Duty Land Tax
In addition to significant infrastructure spend to support the Construction Industry, Stamp Duty Land Tax on residential property is to be reduced to 0% on the first £500,000 of the purchase price until 31st March 2021. However, the 3% surcharge for additional homes will still apply to buy-to-lets and second homes, although the rates payable overall will be lower due to the increased 0% band. 


Hospitality and Tourism 
The Hospitality and Tourism sectors are to be supported with a reduction in VAT to 5% from Wednesday 15th July until 12th January 2021. This cut will apply to eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos.

An “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme providing a 50% discount up to £10 per head at participating restaurants on Mondays to Wednesdays will be introduced for August. The participating restaurants can claim the discount back from the Government and be paid within five working days. Restaurants can apply for the scheme from Monday 13th July.

Green Technology
A new voucher scheme of £5k per household or £10k for low-income households has been announced to create more energy-efficient homes.

We await further details on these new initiatives, and we will update you and provide guidance as more information is made available. If you would like to discuss how these initiatives could affect you, then please contact your TC adviser on 0330 088 7111.

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New Self Employed Income Support Scheme – do you qualify?

Self-employed businesses that continue to be adversely affected by Coronavirus may qualify for the new Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) three-month grant of 70% of average profits capped at £6,570.


In order to qualify for the new SEISS, your business needs to be adversely affected by the coronavirus on or after 14th July 2020.  

Therefore, if you cannot trade, your income is down, you have additional costs due to social distancing and PPE, your business may qualify for the scheme. 

You also need to meet the same broader criteria for the initial SEISS grant.

  • You have been trading in 2018/19 and submitted your tax return by 23rd April 2020;
  • Continue to trade in 2020/21;
  • Have average profits of less than £50,000 per year.

You can make a claim from 17th August and you can make a new SEISS grant claim even if you did not make claim under the initial SEISS grant.

Contact your TC adviser today on 0330 088 7111 if you would like to discuss whether you can make a claim under this new SEISS grant.

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Income Tax Deferral – from Taylorcocks

If you are due to make a payment on account of Income Tax on 31st July 2020 then you have the option to defer the payment until 31st January 2021.


You can defer the payment due on 31st July if you complete a tax return and you are struggling to make the payment due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. This is an automatic deferral, so does not need to be applied for, but you can still make the payment by 31st July if you are able to do so.

The income tax will be payable by 31st January 2021 and there will be no interest or penalties for deferring the payment, provided it is paid by 31st January 2021.It is worth remembering that on 31st January 2021 you will be paying, in addition to any deferred Income Tax, the balancing payment in relation to 2019/20 and the first payment on account for 2020/21. So if you do defer the July payment, then you could be paying a whole years tax liability at the same time.

If you are struggling to pay taxes generally then it is possible to agree on an instalment plan with HMRC to spread the payments, but there will be an interest charge for late payments.If you require any support on this, please contact your TC adviser today on 0330 088 7111.

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Furlough Scheme Update & Actions from TC Group

The Chancellor this afternoon announced changes to the Government’s furlough scheme, extending it in its current form until the end of July, with additional changes being made for August to October. As with previous announcements, today’s was lacking in solid details, and more information will follow in due course.

However, at this stage, the immediate action you as a business owner need to take is to send a letter to your furloughed staff extending their furlough leave until 31st July.  Our TC HR department can provide you with this extension letter if you have signed up for our COVID-19 HR contract.In addition to the extension of the scheme in its current form, the Chancellor has made some further announcements that will come into effect from 1st August, all of which will require further clarification before you take any action. These are: 

  • Furlough Scheme extended from the end of July until the end of October;
  • Employer contributions – The Government have confirmed that the payment to employees will continue at 80% of normal salary level but have said they will ask businesses to share the cost of this, so there are some question marks over whether business owners will be required to contribute and the level of the contribution;
  • Part-Time Furloughed Employees – This will be employees returning from furlough and working reduced hours and remaining furloughed for the remainder of the week – It is unlikely that the Government will pay the furloughed salary at the current 80% rate and so employer contributions may be required. 

Next steps:

  • Detailed guidance will be released by the end of May and we will send you a summary as soon as we have reviewed it;
  • You will then have 2 full months to review and implement your furlough strategy in line with the latest guidance and our HR team can talk you through your options and advise on the best solution for you;
  • There will be a number of options available to you that will need careful consideration including phased returns to work, reduction in working hours, short-time working, part-time furloughing or even possible redundancies.   

As previously mentioned, the furlough scheme has already changed multiple times and that will continue to happen as the Government has to adapt to the economic needs of the country. The furlough scheme is one of the UK’s main fiscal responses to COVID-19 and will become increasingly complex with each iteration particularly when combined with part-time workers and other return to work obligations that will soon be placed upon business owners. If you haven’t already we would encourage you to speak to our Head of HR Wendy McGarvey whose team of HR experts can support you with a discounted support package that will cover everything you need during this period including return-to-work advice and staff template letters that comply with the latest guidance. 

Honorary Accountants to the Chamber.

www.tc-group.com

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Free Return To Work Consultations

With the announcement, yesterday that the lockdown may be easing we thought it would be useful to give you a few points to consider for a return or staged return to the workplace and offer you a free ‘Back To Work Consultation’ by the HR team at TC Group.


The key points you should be considering as you plan your return to the workplace are:

  • Workplace assessment – can you maintain a 2m physical distance between employees? 
  • Limit any hot desk arrangements and sharing of stationery and equipment; 
  • Look at how you will manage meetings / other interactions ie communal areas; 
  • Consider a deep clean if you have been closed; 
  • Daily sanitisation of phones, computers, desks and door handles with an anti-viral cleaner; 
  • Consider staggering working hours so employees are not all in at the same time; 
  • Ensure there are adequate handwashing facilities and provide hand sanitiser at regular stations; 
  • Decide whether you need to provide additional PPE; 
  • Consider staff concerns re travelling to work on public transport.

You may find you have more requests for flexible working due to employees having children or elderly relatives at home to look after.  Consider these carefully and in line with legislation. 

At this stage, the furlough scheme is currently available until the end of June, although we are aware the Government are being pushed to consider making it more flexible and to also extend it.  As soon as we know more about this we will let you know.

It may be that you need to consider short-time working, layoffs, redundancies or a temporary reduction in hours/salaries for your employees until your business is back up and running fully.  Please remember that all of these are variations to contracts and need to be handled correctly. 

To arrange your full free ‘Back To Work Consultation’ please contact our head of HR Wendy McGarvey or call 0330 088 7111.


Cyber Scam Warning

A few unfortunate clients have contacted us recently to make us aware that they have been victims of cyber scams. As TC clients we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you to be ultra-vigilant at this time to COVID-19-related fraud and cybercrime.

The Government has released guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from attacks, which they refer to as ‘Stop. Challenge. Protect’. 
Full details of the guidance can be found here on the www.gov.uk website.

TC Group

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Financial Support Reminders & Couples Inheritance Tax Thresholds

The Government has today launched two much-anticipated schemes directed at small businesses and the self-employed in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Bounce Back Loans
As of 9 am today, small businesses can gain access to a new fast-track finance option, known as the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan. Since the launch of the scheme, this morning we have had lots of interaction with the banks on behalf of our clients and the process appears to be working well.We have covered the scheme in detail elsewhere in previous communications, but the key points you should be aware of at this time are;

  • Loans of £2,000 – £50,000 available up to a maximum of a ¼ of a firm’s annual turnover;
  • Applications made online via a seven-question form;
  • 12 months no interest, fees or repayments;
  • Repay over 6 years, 2.5% interest rate, no early penalty;
  • Can’t apply if already under CBILS;
  • No restriction on the total amount of the facility that may consist of refinancing – whereas with CBILS you can only use 20% of the loan to refinance.

 TC Group can work alongside you to collate all the necessary documentation for your self-certification and should you need support to do so is on hand to help submit it for you. 


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
HMRC has today begun contacting customers who may be eligible for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment.Although we cannot claim on your behalf, we can assist you in checking whether you are eligible and when you can make a claim via HMRC’s new online tool.In order to make a claim you will require the following information:

  • Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – if you do not have this you can find it here;
  • National Insurance number – if you do not remember it, you can find it here;
  • Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online;
  • An account number and sort code for the bank account you want the grant paid into (only provide details where a Bacs payment can be accepted).

 While HMRC will calculate the grant, as your agent TC can check the calculation to see if it is correct. Contact your TC Partner on 0330 088 7111 to discuss further.

Couples Inheritance Tax Thresholds
Just as you would regularly review your financial affairs, it is advisable to regularly give your Will a health check to make sure it still works for you and takes advantage of all available tax allowances. Our private client team has been working closely with our clients and their family members to do just that, and in the last few weeks, we have seen a number of clients with out of date Wills who were missing out on significant inheritance tax savings. We wanted to highlight one of these specific areas.From April 2017 the Government introduced the residence nil rate band with a headline of increasing a couples inheritance tax threshold to £1 million by April 2020. This new relief could save a further £140,000 in inheritance tax per couple if they leave their home to their children or grandchildren. However, the rules around this can be complex and in certain circumstances, the relief can be restricted, so it is important that your Will is reviewed to ensure that your family are able to benefit from the extra tax savings available.If you haven’t updated your Will since 2017, we can review and update your Will where necessary to ensure that you are eligible for this additional tax relief.

Please contact privateclients@tc-group.com or call our Private Client Team on 0330 088 7111 to arrange your free consultation.

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Chancellor Announces 100% Government Backed Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans

The Chancellor today announced that small businesses will from 9am on Monday 4th May gain access to a new fast-track finance option, which is being referred to as the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan. The scheme has been designed to ensure that small businesses who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance of up to £50,000 in a matter of days. The key details for your information are as follows; 

  • Loans are expected to be turned around within 24 hours;
  • 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • No forward eligibility checks;
  • Simple 2 page self-certification form to be completed online;
  • £2,000 – £50,000 available up to a maximum of a ¼ of a firm’s annual turnover;
  • No repayments will be due during the first 12 months;
  • The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

Although this scheme is not available to those businesses already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), it will provide much needed funds to small businesses who have been adversely affected by the crisis.

According to the guidance a CBILS loan application (if less than £50k) can be transferred to this new scheme in order to provide faster cash delivery.

 TC Group can work alongside you to collate all the necessary documentation for your self-certification and should you need support to do so is on hand to help submit it for you. Contact your TC Partner on 0330 088 7111 to discuss further.

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Changes to the Furlough Scheme – Action Required. Message from TC Accountants.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, today announced changes to the Government’s furlough scheme. Most importantly, all previous versions of the Guidance (including guidance released today at 7pm) stated that it was sufficient to notify your staff in writing of the fact that they were being furloughed. The Directive now contradicts that and requires the employees to have agreed to this in writing too. We are hoping the government applies common sense to this and offers some flexibility but if not it is likely that many employers will not be compliant so we would recommend that you take steps to get all employees signed up before you submit your claim via the portal. 

This latest development comes in addition to a number of other important changes: 

  • The scheme has been extended until the end of June; 
  • Employers can now defer the obligation to pay wages until they have been paid under the scheme; 
  • The date for eligibility under the Scheme has been brought forward from 28 February to 19 March but it will only apply to employees whose details have been submitted to HMRC using RTI by that date; 
  • Employees who are eligible for SSP may be furloughed by the employer instead. 

 As a reminder the portal goes live on Monday 20th April but if you don’t have signed letters from the staff agreeing to the furlough, there is a risk that you now won’t be eligible to make a claim. If you haven’t already please speak to our HR team about our COVID-19 support package. This is the 4th significant change in 3 weeks and clearly there will be more to come, which is why we don’t charge a ‘project fee’ for our furlough guidance and support, instead we have designed a discounted support package that will cover everything you need during this period. As always our head of HR Wendy McGarvey and her team will be available for consultations over the weekend and will also be able to provide you with template staff letters to ensure you comply with the latest directive. 

Wills & Estate Planning – Free Consultations
Following our email on Wednesday, we have received a large number of requests from clients about reviewing or updating their Wills in light of COVID-19. As a reminder, our Private Client Team offer a complete end-to-end servicecovering all aspects of estate planning which starts with a well-drafted Will. We are offering all TC clients (and their family members) a free consultation with our Private Client Team to review their affairs. If you would like to take advantage of the consultation please email our Private Client Team on privateclients@tc-group.com, or contact us today on 0330 088 7111

Kind regards

TC Group

www.tc-group.com

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