Covid-19 update 7. More links and Vidz
Here are two very helpful vidz that lay things out in a systematic way.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme. The Chancellor announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. GOV.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.
Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June inviting them to apply.
Unfortunately we’re aware this might lead to an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Remember that HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your bank details, PIN or password.
If someone texts, emails or calls claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.
The government has also introduced the following help for the self-employed:
• Deferral of Self Assessment income tax payments due in July 2020 and VAT payments due from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020
• Grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
• Increased amounts of Universal Credit
• Business Interruption Loan Scheme
• Directors of their own company paid through PAYE may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.
We will continue to share the most up-to-date information directly with you as it becomes available.
Job Retention Scheme
The government is committed to doing whatever it takes to support businesses and individuals through the Coronavirus pandemic. As you’ll be aware, last week the Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme allows businesses to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
HMRC have been working hard to develop this scheme, and we have now published further details on GOV.UK. We are aiming to have the scheme open by the end of April 2020. More detailed guidance will be published closer to the time and we will continue to provide updates through this digest and our online channels.
• Guidance for employers
• Guidance for employees
Statutory Sick Pay
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing two weeks of COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million employers with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Individuals who are employed by a Personal Service Company are entitled to SSP on the same terms as any other employee.
HMRC will provide further details on how employers can access the rebate as soon as possible.
Working Tax Credit
Working Tax Credits payments will be increased by £1,045 to £3,040 per year from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021.
The amount a claimant or household will benefit from will depend on their circumstances, including their level of household income. But the increase could mean up to an extra £20 each week.
The increased payments will come into effect on the 6 April, but individual payment dates will vary. You should only contact HMRC if you have not received an increased payment by 18 May. You can find out more about your Working Tax Credit payments on the HMRC app or through a Personal Tax Account.
Customers who are unable to pay VAT due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, now have the option to defer that payment until 31 March 2021. They will not need to apply for deferral as eligibility is automatic. Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do this in sufficient time.
Business support campaign
The government has set up a dedicated support page where businesses can find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus.
COVID-19 scammers target taxpayers
HMRC has seen that fraudsters are taking advantage of COVID-19 to offer spurious financial support and tax refunds. They text, email or phone taxpayers offering the bogus refund or aid, or threaten them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed. These scams often target the elderly and vulnerable.
If someone texts, emails or calls claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you are owed a tax refund or can claim financial help, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it’s a scam.
1. Recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your bank details, PIN or password.
2. Stay safe – don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
3. Take action – forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599.
4. Check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and to recognise genuine HMRC contact.
5. If you think you have received an HMRC-related phishing or bogus email or text message, you can check it against examples published on GOV.UK.
6. Contact your bank immediately if you believe you’ve submitted card details to a scammer and report to Action Fraud if you suffer financial loss.