HMRC have published their Employer Bulletin for June 2020. We summarise the key content for you, with links to our detailed guidance on the topics covered. Where these have been included in previous HMRC updates we have linked to our guides on those updates rather than duplicate content.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Detailed guidance to help employers prepare for changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1 July is now live on GOV.UK.

What employers need to do now

  • Read the guidance to see how changes to the scheme impact you and use the calculator to understand how much you can claim.
  • Consider which employees you want to keep on full-time furlough and which employees will come back to work and on what hours. Agree on this with your employees in advance.

What employers need to do from 1 July 2020

  • Start the flexible furloughing of employees from 1 July. You can decide what hours and shift patterns employees work to suit the needs of your business. Employers will pay the wages for the time employees are in work and can apply for a CJRS grant to cover any of the usual hours for which the employee is still furloughed. Employees can be kept on full furlough if needed.
  • Claim for periods ending on or before 30 June, by 31 July.
  • Claim for periods starting on or after 1 July.

See COVID-19: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus (COVID-19), late filing and payment penalties

  • HMRC are supporting taxpayers by providing the option to defer VAT payments between the period 30 March to 30 June 2020 and the July 2020 Income Tax Self Assessment payment on account.
  • Taxpayers should continue to pay and file on time where possible, but HMRC will accept COVID-19 as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for people who are late filing their returns or paying their tax. The relevant penalties will be cancelled, provided they have managed to file or pay as soon as they were able to.
  • HMRC are giving taxpayers an extra three months to appeal or request a review, on top of the normal 30-day limit.
  • If an individual cannot pay their tax because of COVID-19, HMRC may be able to agree ‘time to pay’ arrangements, on a case-by-case basis and tailored them to meet their individual circumstances. If you/your clients want to talk about available options, call 0800 024 1222.

See COVID-19: VAT payments and COVID-19: Tax appeal deadlines extended

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

 The Government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was launched online on 26 May 2020.

  • Tax agents can make claims on behalf of employers.

See COVID-19: Government support tracker

Coronavirus (COVID-19), treatment of certain expenses and benefits provided to employees

If you are providing taxable expenses and benefits to your employees during the COVID-19 pandemic HMRC have published guidance on the tax treatment of certain benefits and expenses on GOV.UK .

Coronavirus (COVID-19), are you due a repayment?

The quickest and most secure way to receive your repayment is by transfer directly into your bank account. Make sure you enter your bank details on your Employer Payment Summary (EPS).

New guidance for employers from the Pensions Regulator, what you need to know

Whether you offer a defined benefit (DB) or a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, go to The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) COVID-19 hub, where you’ll find all its guidance for employers.

Automatic enrolment

  • Your automatic enrolment and re-enrolment duties still apply as normal, whether your staff are still working or are being furloughed as part of the CJRS.
  • You also need to keep paying the correct contributions.

TPR has added guidance on how the changes to the CJRS affect pension contributions, how to calculate contributions for part-time furloughed workers, technical guidance for larger employers (e.g. salary sacrifice arrangements) and what to do if you are struggling to meet pension contributions.

See Auto-enrolment: Workplace pensions (subscriber guide) 

Employers with Defined Benefit pension schemes

If you offer your staff a DB pension scheme read TPR’s latest guidance, which includes information on how to work with the scheme’s trustees if you need to temporarily reduce scheme deficit repair contributions.

Maternity and other parental pay: Changes made to the calculation of Average Weekly Earnings for furloughed employees

See Agent update June/July 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19), the tax treatment of reimbursed expenses for home office equipment  and returning office equipment

  • The government has introduced a temporary new exemption so no Income Tax or NICs liabilities will be due on reimbursed expenses for the purchase of home office equipment from 16 March 2020 until 5 April 2021.
  • If you have supplied your employees with office equipment to allow them to work from home, without a transfer of ownership, there is no tax charge when they return the equipment to you.
  • If you transfer the ownership of the equipment to the employee at any stage of their employment, a benefit charge arises on the market value of the equipment at the time of the transfer, less any amount made good by the employee.

See COVID-19: Working from home

Coronavirus (COVID-19), financial scams and cyber-security

Criminals are taking advantage of Coronavirus and the package of measures to support people and businesses contacting businesses offering spurious financial support or tax refunds to try to get financial and personal information or infiltrate computer systems to steal data or demand ransom. HMRC have detected more than 95 COVID-related financial scams since March, most by text message.

HMRC’s advice to businesses:

  • Stop: If you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? Verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first.
  • Check GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact and avoid and report scams.
  • Protect: Contact your business’ bank immediately if you think you have been defrauded.
  • Use the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phone, tablet or laptop.
  • Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and texts to 60599.

Remote working

Huge numbers of people working from home and it presents an opportunity for criminals to commit computer software service fraud. There are a number of practical steps businesses can take to reduce the risk to staff devices:

  • Support people to use stronger passwords and set up two-factor authentication.
  • Ensure staff know how to report problems, especially those related to security.
  • Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to allow users to securely access the organisation’s IT services.
  • Ensure devices encrypt data while at rest.

Data theft and malware

The National Cyber Security (NCSC) website has information on the steps businesses can take to protect devices and operating systems and help educate employees.

The Global Cyber Alliance has created a Work From Home Community Forum support group where experts answer questions about security issues related to working from home.

Holiday Pay and Entitlement: Changes to carrying forward Annual Leave

The Government has passed emergency legislation to relax restrictions on carrying leave between leave years during the Coronavirus pandemic. Most workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks of statutory holiday, split into four weeks under regulation 13 and 1.6 weeks under regulation 13A of the Working Time Regulations 1998. Holiday above this amount is 'contractual' leave and not within the scope of the legislation.

From 26 March 2020, where it has not been reasonably practicable for a worker to take some or all of the four weeks’ holiday due to COVID-19, the untaken amount may be carried forward into the following two leave years. This does not apply if workers are still able to take leave.

Examples of where it may not be reasonable to take holiday include:

  • Where the business has faced a significant increase in demand due to Coronavirus.
  • The health of the worker and how soon they need to take a period of rest and relaxation.
  • How long is remaining in the worker’s leave year, can they take holiday later in the year?
  • The ability of the rest of the available workforce to provide cover for a worker going on leave.

Carried leave is subject to further protections. If a worker asks to take carried holiday, you will need to provide a good reason to refuse their request. For further information, see GOV.UK or contact ACAS.

Reminder for reporting Expenses and Benefits for the tax year ending 5 April 2020

The deadline for reporting any Expenses and Benefits is 6 July 2020. HMRC need employers to report online wherever they can, due to COVID-19.

See P11Ds: Top tips tool kit

Paying HMRC Paying Class 1A National Insurance contributions (NICs)

Electronic payment for Class 1A NICs declared on your P11D(b) return for the tax year ended 5 April 2020 must clear into the HMRC account by 22 July 2020.

  • Ensure your payment is correctly allocated by providing the correct payment reference. Use your 13-character Accounts Office reference followed by the numbers 2013. The reference should have no gaps between the characters.
  • Log in to your HMRC online account to make a single Direct Debit payment.
  • Go to Pay employers’ Class 1A National Insurance at GOV.UK and click the green ‘Pay Now’ button to select one of three secure payment methods or for more information on how to pay.

Do you operate under any Short-Term Business Visitors special arrangement?

This applies only to employers who operated under the previous PAYE special arrangement (pre-2020-2021 tax year).

  • Employers must provide HMRC with their decision to apply/move onto the new Appendix 8 special arrangement by 13 July 2020 or cease operating under any STBV special arrangement.

You can respond via two methods:

1. By post: Follow the instructions on the invitational letters HMRC have sent you.

2. By email: Provide a digitally signed copy of the application form at PAYE81950 or letter HMRC issued you, to the STBV Appendix 8 Referrals (CS&TD) mailbox.

If HMRC have not received your application by the deadline date, you must cease your arrangement, are not permitted to use your previous arrangement after 2019-2020, and will have to reapply as a new customer.

Do you have employees who are on short-term business visits to the UK?

If you have employees on short-term business visits to the UK, CWG2 advises that it may be possible to relax some PAYE requirements in certain circumstances. Further guidance is at PAYE82000.

Due to COVID-19, HMRC have extended the deadline to return the end of year report for employees on short term business visits to the UK from 31 May 2020 to 31 July 2020.

Withdrawal of P45 and P60 bulk stationery

From 1 August 2020 HMRC will withdraw the facility for employers to order blank P45s and P60s. They will contact those who requested blank forms last year to tell them what to do. Employers who are exempt from reporting their payroll online will not be affected.

Updates to the online disguised remuneration Loan Charge form

See Agent update June/July 2020

Employment Allowance claims for 2020-2021 tax year

See Agent update June/July 2020

Payroll Software Updates

See Agent update June/July 2020

The UK’s new immigration system

From 1 January 2021, free movement within the EU will end and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. A guide for employers on the new system has been published. For further information, you can register to receive updates on the new system.

Preparing for the new system:

  • From 1 January 2021, anyone coming to the UK to work must have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor. The job must be at the required skill and salary level and the individual must speak English.
  • Employers who want to recruit workers from outside the UK from this date must become an approved sponsor. You can apply online; the standard processing time is eight weeks.

Toolkits: helping to reduce errors, recently updated toolkits

Spotlight 55

HMRC published Spotlight 55 to warn people about comparison and broker websites that are promoting tax avoidance schemes through non-compliant umbrella companies.

See Spotlight 55: Comparison & broker websites marketing umbrella companies are not always what they seem

Deferring Self Assessment payments on account

See Agent update June/July 2020 and COVID 19: Deferring Income Tax payments

External link

Employer Bulletin: June 2020 

 

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