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Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co

Rishi Sunak unveils £30bn 'National Recovery' package

08 July 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils a £30bn package to to turn the UK’s national recovery “into millions of stories of personal renewal”. The package included:

a £1,000 bonus for each worker that companies bring back from furlough and employ through to January next year;
a “kickstart scheme” to directly pay firms to create jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds;
cash for businesses to take on trainees and apprentices;
an eight-month temporary cut in stamp duty, with no charge on property transactions below £500,000;
a cut in VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% until 12 January;
an “Eat Out to Help Out” discount of up to £10 per head to get Britons back to restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co | Tax News

Flexible Furlough Scheme starts today

01 July 2020

Businesses will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time from today (1 July) as part of the government’s plan to re-open the UK and kick-start our economy. From today businesses can bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis.Firms will be given the flexibility to decide the hours and shift patterns of their employees – with the government continuing to pay 80% of salaries for the hours they do not work

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far helped protect more than 9.3 million jobs through the pandemic, with employers claiming more than £25.5 billion to support wages.

The scheme will remain open until the end of October and will continue to support jobs and business in a measured way as people return to work, our economy reopens and the country moves to the next stage of its recovery.

From today, a month earlier than previously announced, employers will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis.

Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

Our number one priority has always been to protect jobs and businesses through this outbreak. The furlough scheme, which will have been open for eight months by October, has been a lifeline for millions of people and as our economy reopens we want that support to continue.

Giving firms the flexibility to bring back furloughed workers on a part-time basis will help them work gradually and help them plan for the months ahead.

From August, the level of government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. Businesses will be asked to contribute a modest share, but crucially individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work.

More information about the changes can be found here.

 

Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co | VAT

Government urged to consider VAT cut to stimulate spending

23 June 2020

The government has again been urged to consider an emergency reduction in the rate of VAT in order to help businesses once the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown ends.

A new report published by think tank Policy Exchange has suggested that reducing the rate of VAT to 15% could help boost consumer spending in the short-term. The standard rate of VAT is currently 20%.

The publication of the report comes following rumours that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering cutting the standard rate of VAT to help tackle the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to reports, the Chancellor is preparing to deliver a ‘Summer Statement’ in early July, in which he is likely to outline new initiatives on skills and apprenticeships, alongside measures to help boost the UK economy.

Experts have also recommended cutting employer national insurance contributions (NICs) and extending the business rates relief scheme in England and Wales.

 

Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co

Businesses are urged to reinstate VAT direct debits

19 June 2020

The ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) has reminded businesses that they need to reinstate their direct debit mandates before the deferral of VAT payments (due to the Coronavirus) comes to an end on 30 June.

The VAT payment deferral means that all UK VAT-registered businesses have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 until 31 March 2021.

Businesses, however, need to take steps to reinstate their direct debit mandates so that they are in place in time for payments due from July 2020 onwards. Any outstanding returns should be filed and three working days should be allowed to elapse before reinstating the direct debit mandate.

The Tax Faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said: ‘HMRC has confirmed to the Tax Faculty that it will not collect the outstanding balance of deferred VAT when the direct debit mandate is reinstated. HMRC has made the necessary systems change to avoid this happening for businesses in Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTD for VAT).

‘Arrangements will also need to be made to pay the deferred VAT by 31 March 2021; further guidance is expected from HMRC on the mechanism.’

 

Accountants Chester | Hospitality

MP's call for October bank holiday and VAT cuts

15 June 2020

The government has been urged by MP’s to cut VAT rates for firms in the tourism sector in order to help them recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

A report published by the All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) for Hospitality and Tourism has called for a reduction in VAT for businesses in the hospitality sector, alongside an overhaul of the business rates system in England and Wales and the creation of a new autumn Bank Holiday.

It is thought that an extra bank holiday – recommended for October – could soften the blow of peak season losses by promoting autumn ‘staycations’.

Just 11% of businesses in the UK hospitality sector have been able to trade through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the APPG. Figures published recently by the Treasury also revealed that accommodation and food services companies have furloughed 1.4 million people, and have claimed £2.6 billion in furlough funds.

Commenting on the matter, Steve Double, Chair of the APPG, said: ‘The UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors have been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, and this report highlights the scale of the damage done to businesses.

‘Whilst the support provided to the sector so far has been very welcomed, we are under no illusions that the path to recovery will be tough.’

Tourism is a ‘vital pillar of the economy’, with 37.9m visitors to the UK in 2018 and an overall visitor spend of £22.9bn. The north west welcomed 3.1m of those visitors, with an average spend of £443 per visit totalling £1.46bn.

 

Accoutants Chester | Phillips & Co | VAT Reverse Charge

HMRC delays VAT reverse charge on construction services

08 June 2020

The government has announced a five-month delay to the introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

The change, which is being introduced to reduce fraud in the sector, will now apply from 1 March 2021 and will overhaul the way VAT is payable on building and construction invoices. Under the domestic reverse charge, the customer receiving the service will have to pay the VAT owed straight to HMRC instead of paying the supplier, if they report via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

The change which has now been put back from 1 October 2020 to 1 March 2021 was originally scheduled to come into effect from 1 October 2019. It was deferred for 12 months after industry bodies highlighted concerns about the lack of preparation and the impact on businesses.

There will also be an amendment to the original legislation. This will make it a requirement that for businesses to be excluded from the reverse charge because they are end users or intermediary suppliers, they must inform their subcontractors, in writing, that they are end users or intermediary suppliers. The amendment, HMRC have said, is designed to make sure both parties are clear in regard to whether the supply is excluded from the reverse charge. It reflects recommended advice published in HMRC guidance and brings certainty for subcontractors as to the correct treatment for their supplies.

 

Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co | Small Business Accountants

Strong economic recovery likely, but not certain

04 June 2020

A strong economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic is likely, with conditions ripe for a quick turnaround, a new report by Oxford Economics suggests.

The unusual nature of this recession could be a silver lining for recovery, the report, which was commissioned by chartered accountancy body ICAEW, said. GDP has fallen because of a planned, partial economic shutdown, so in theory activity and demand should rebound as restrictions lift, particularly given fiscal and monetary support from government and the Bank of England since the crisis began.

The report predicts that the economy should return to growth in the second half of the year if the lockdown continues to be relaxed over the summer.

Some households and private sector companies will have saved cash during the crisis, which could lead to a spike in demand when the lockdown eases, particularly with inflation likely to reach zero in the summer.

The impact of coronavirus should hopefully be a short, if very sharp, shock, the report said, with most of the damage quickly repaired. With low interest rates likely to persist, and gilt yields at historic levels, reducing the deficit should not be an urgent government priority.

Risks to the economy are however high, Oxford Economics said. Recovery could falter if lockdown is extended; if a second wave of coronavirus triggers another lockdown; if long-term economic damage is worse than expected; or if government support is withdrawn too early. A collapse of UK-EU trade talks could also hamper recovery.

Martin Beck, Oxford Economics lead UK Economist said:  “Coronavirus and the restrictions on daily life imposed in response are inflicting a once-in-a-century downturn on the economy. But the nature of the shock and the massive support put in place by policymakers mean a strong bounce back is achievable. However, with no precedents to draw on, the outlook is clouded by multiple risks.”

 

Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co

Businesses are urged to reinstate VAT direct debits

19 June 2020

The ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) has reminded businesses that they need to reinstate their direct debit mandates before the deferral of VAT payments (due to the Coronavirus) comes to an end on 30 June.

The VAT payment deferral means that all UK VAT-registered businesses have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 until 31 March 2021.

Businesses, however, need to take steps to reinstate their direct debit mandates so that they are in place in time for payments due from July 2020 onwards. Any outstanding returns should be filed and three working days should be allowed to elapse before reinstating the direct debit mandate.

The Tax Faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said: ‘HMRC has confirmed to the Tax Faculty that it will not collect the outstanding balance of deferred VAT when the direct debit mandate is reinstated. HMRC has made the necessary systems change to avoid this happening for businesses in Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTD for VAT).

‘Arrangements will also need to be made to pay the deferred VAT by 31 March 2021; further guidance is expected from HMRC on the mechanism.’

 

Accountants Chester | Hospitality

MP's call for October bank holiday and VAT cuts

15 June 2020

The government has been urged by MP’s to cut VAT rates for firms in the tourism sector in order to help them recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

A report published by the All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) for Hospitality and Tourism has called for a reduction in VAT for businesses in the hospitality sector, alongside an overhaul of the business rates system in England and Wales and the creation of a new autumn Bank Holiday.

It is thought that an extra bank holiday – recommended for October – could soften the blow of peak season losses by promoting autumn ‘staycations’.

Just 11% of businesses in the UK hospitality sector have been able to trade through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the APPG. Figures published recently by the Treasury also revealed that accommodation and food services companies have furloughed 1.4 million people, and have claimed £2.6 billion in furlough funds.

Commenting on the matter, Steve Double, Chair of the APPG, said: ‘The UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors have been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, and this report highlights the scale of the damage done to businesses.

‘Whilst the support provided to the sector so far has been very welcomed, we are under no illusions that the path to recovery will be tough.’

Tourism is a ‘vital pillar of the economy’, with 37.9m visitors to the UK in 2018 and an overall visitor spend of £22.9bn. The north west welcomed 3.1m of those visitors, with an average spend of £443 per visit totalling £1.46bn.

 

Accoutants Chester | Phillips & Co | VAT Reverse Charge

HMRC delays VAT reverse charge on construction services

08 June 2020

The government has announced a five-month delay to the introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

The change, which is being introduced to reduce fraud in the sector, will now apply from 1 March 2021 and will overhaul the way VAT is payable on building and construction invoices. Under the domestic reverse charge, the customer receiving the service will have to pay the VAT owed straight to HMRC instead of paying the supplier, if they report via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

The change which has now been put back from 1 October 2020 to 1 March 2021 was originally scheduled to come into effect from 1 October 2019. It was deferred for 12 months after industry bodies highlighted concerns about the lack of preparation and the impact on businesses.

There will also be an amendment to the original legislation. This will make it a requirement that for businesses to be excluded from the reverse charge because they are end users or intermediary suppliers, they must inform their subcontractors, in writing, that they are end users or intermediary suppliers. The amendment, HMRC have said, is designed to make sure both parties are clear in regard to whether the supply is excluded from the reverse charge. It reflects recommended advice published in HMRC guidance and brings certainty for subcontractors as to the correct treatment for their supplies.

 

Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co | Small Business Accountants

Strong economic recovery likely, but not certain

04 June 2020

A strong economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic is likely, with conditions ripe for a quick turnaround, a new report by Oxford Economics suggests.

The unusual nature of this recession could be a silver lining for recovery, the report, which was commissioned by chartered accountancy body ICAEW, said. GDP has fallen because of a planned, partial economic shutdown, so in theory activity and demand should rebound as restrictions lift, particularly given fiscal and monetary support from government and the Bank of England since the crisis began.

The report predicts that the economy should return to growth in the second half of the year if the lockdown continues to be relaxed over the summer.

Some households and private sector companies will have saved cash during the crisis, which could lead to a spike in demand when the lockdown eases, particularly with inflation likely to reach zero in the summer.

The impact of coronavirus should hopefully be a short, if very sharp, shock, the report said, with most of the damage quickly repaired. With low interest rates likely to persist, and gilt yields at historic levels, reducing the deficit should not be an urgent government priority.

Risks to the economy are however high, Oxford Economics said. Recovery could falter if lockdown is extended; if a second wave of coronavirus triggers another lockdown; if long-term economic damage is worse than expected; or if government support is withdrawn too early. A collapse of UK-EU trade talks could also hamper recovery.

Martin Beck, Oxford Economics lead UK Economist said:  “Coronavirus and the restrictions on daily life imposed in response are inflicting a once-in-a-century downturn on the economy. But the nature of the shock and the massive support put in place by policymakers mean a strong bounce back is achievable. However, with no precedents to draw on, the outlook is clouded by multiple risks.”

 

Accountants Chester | Hospitality

MP's call for October bank holiday and VAT cuts

15 June 2020

The government has been urged by MP’s to cut VAT rates for firms in the tourism sector in order to help them recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

A report published by the All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) for Hospitality and Tourism has called for a reduction in VAT for businesses in the hospitality sector, alongside an overhaul of the business rates system in England and Wales and the creation of a new autumn Bank Holiday.

It is thought that an extra bank holiday – recommended for October – could soften the blow of peak season losses by promoting autumn ‘staycations’.

Just 11% of businesses in the UK hospitality sector have been able to trade through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the APPG. Figures published recently by the Treasury also revealed that accommodation and food services companies have furloughed 1.4 million people, and have claimed £2.6 billion in furlough funds.

Commenting on the matter, Steve Double, Chair of the APPG, said: ‘The UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors have been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, and this report highlights the scale of the damage done to businesses.

‘Whilst the support provided to the sector so far has been very welcomed, we are under no illusions that the path to recovery will be tough.’

Tourism is a ‘vital pillar of the economy’, with 37.9m visitors to the UK in 2018 and an overall visitor spend of £22.9bn. The north west welcomed 3.1m of those visitors, with an average spend of £443 per visit totalling £1.46bn.

 

Accoutants Chester | Phillips & Co | VAT Reverse Charge

HMRC delays VAT reverse charge on construction services

08 June 2020

The government has announced a five-month delay to the introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

The change, which is being introduced to reduce fraud in the sector, will now apply from 1 March 2021 and will overhaul the way VAT is payable on building and construction invoices. Under the domestic reverse charge, the customer receiving the service will have to pay the VAT owed straight to HMRC instead of paying the supplier, if they report via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

The change which has now been put back from 1 October 2020 to 1 March 2021 was originally scheduled to come into effect from 1 October 2019. It was deferred for 12 months after industry bodies highlighted concerns about the lack of preparation and the impact on businesses.

There will also be an amendment to the original legislation. This will make it a requirement that for businesses to be excluded from the reverse charge because they are end users or intermediary suppliers, they must inform their subcontractors, in writing, that they are end users or intermediary suppliers. The amendment, HMRC have said, is designed to make sure both parties are clear in regard to whether the supply is excluded from the reverse charge. It reflects recommended advice published in HMRC guidance and brings certainty for subcontractors as to the correct treatment for their supplies.

 

Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co | Small Business Accountants

Strong economic recovery likely, but not certain

04 June 2020

A strong economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic is likely, with conditions ripe for a quick turnaround, a new report by Oxford Economics suggests.

The unusual nature of this recession could be a silver lining for recovery, the report, which was commissioned by chartered accountancy body ICAEW, said. GDP has fallen because of a planned, partial economic shutdown, so in theory activity and demand should rebound as restrictions lift, particularly given fiscal and monetary support from government and the Bank of England since the crisis began.

The report predicts that the economy should return to growth in the second half of the year if the lockdown continues to be relaxed over the summer.

Some households and private sector companies will have saved cash during the crisis, which could lead to a spike in demand when the lockdown eases, particularly with inflation likely to reach zero in the summer.

The impact of coronavirus should hopefully be a short, if very sharp, shock, the report said, with most of the damage quickly repaired. With low interest rates likely to persist, and gilt yields at historic levels, reducing the deficit should not be an urgent government priority.

Risks to the economy are however high, Oxford Economics said. Recovery could falter if lockdown is extended; if a second wave of coronavirus triggers another lockdown; if long-term economic damage is worse than expected; or if government support is withdrawn too early. A collapse of UK-EU trade talks could also hamper recovery.

Martin Beck, Oxford Economics lead UK Economist said:  “Coronavirus and the restrictions on daily life imposed in response are inflicting a once-in-a-century downturn on the economy. But the nature of the shock and the massive support put in place by policymakers mean a strong bounce back is achievable. However, with no precedents to draw on, the outlook is clouded by multiple risks.”

 

Accountants Chester | Hospitality

MP's call for October bank holiday and VAT cuts

15 June 2020

The government has been urged by MP’s to cut VAT rates for firms in the tourism sector in order to help them recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

A report published by the All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) for Hospitality and Tourism has called for a reduction in VAT for businesses in the hospitality sector, alongside an overhaul of the business rates system in England and Wales and the creation of a new autumn Bank Holiday.

It is thought that an extra bank holiday – recommended for October – could soften the blow of peak season losses by promoting autumn ‘staycations’.

Just 11% of businesses in the UK hospitality sector have been able to trade through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the APPG. Figures published recently by the Treasury also revealed that accommodation and food services companies have furloughed 1.4 million people, and have claimed £2.6 billion in furlough funds.

Commenting on the matter, Steve Double, Chair of the APPG, said: ‘The UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors have been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, and this report highlights the scale of the damage done to businesses.

‘Whilst the support provided to the sector so far has been very welcomed, we are under no illusions that the path to recovery will be tough.’

Tourism is a ‘vital pillar of the economy’, with 37.9m visitors to the UK in 2018 and an overall visitor spend of £22.9bn. The north west welcomed 3.1m of those visitors, with an average spend of £443 per visit totalling £1.46bn.

 

Accoutants Chester | Phillips & Co | VAT Reverse Charge

HMRC delays VAT reverse charge on construction services

08 June 2020

The government has announced a five-month delay to the introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

The change, which is being introduced to reduce fraud in the sector, will now apply from 1 March 2021 and will overhaul the way VAT is payable on building and construction invoices. Under the domestic reverse charge, the customer receiving the service will have to pay the VAT owed straight to HMRC instead of paying the supplier, if they report via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

The change which has now been put back from 1 October 2020 to 1 March 2021 was originally scheduled to come into effect from 1 October 2019. It was deferred for 12 months after industry bodies highlighted concerns about the lack of preparation and the impact on businesses.

There will also be an amendment to the original legislation. This will make it a requirement that for businesses to be excluded from the reverse charge because they are end users or intermediary suppliers, they must inform their subcontractors, in writing, that they are end users or intermediary suppliers. The amendment, HMRC have said, is designed to make sure both parties are clear in regard to whether the supply is excluded from the reverse charge. It reflects recommended advice published in HMRC guidance and brings certainty for subcontractors as to the correct treatment for their supplies.

 

Accountants Chester | Phillips & Co | Small Business Accountants

Strong economic recovery likely, but not certain

04 June 2020

A strong economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic is likely, with conditions ripe for a quick turnaround, a new report by Oxford Economics suggests.

The unusual nature of this recession could be a silver lining for recovery, the report, which was commissioned by chartered accountancy body ICAEW, said. GDP has fallen because of a planned, partial economic shutdown, so in theory activity and demand should rebound as restrictions lift, particularly given fiscal and monetary support from government and the Bank of England since the crisis began.

The report predicts that the economy should return to growth in the second half of the year if the lockdown continues to be relaxed over the summer.

Some households and private sector companies will have saved cash during the crisis, which could lead to a spike in demand when the lockdown eases, particularly with inflation likely to reach zero in the summer.

The impact of coronavirus should hopefully be a short, if very sharp, shock, the report said, with most of the damage quickly repaired. With low interest rates likely to persist, and gilt yields at historic levels, reducing the deficit should not be an urgent government priority.

Risks to the economy are however high, Oxford Economics said. Recovery could falter if lockdown is extended; if a second wave of coronavirus triggers another lockdown; if long-term economic damage is worse than expected; or if government support is withdrawn too early. A collapse of UK-EU trade talks could also hamper recovery.

Martin Beck, Oxford Economics lead UK Economist said:  “Coronavirus and the restrictions on daily life imposed in response are inflicting a once-in-a-century downturn on the economy. But the nature of the shock and the massive support put in place by policymakers mean a strong bounce back is achievable. However, with no precedents to draw on, the outlook is clouded by multiple risks.”

 

Accountants in Chester

Government Urged to Extend self-employed income support scheme

30 May 2020

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has urged the government to extend its coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for as long as self-employed individuals require it.

IPSE has said that the difference between the SEISS and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for employees is a ‘glaring injustice’. It warned that the self-employed could be forced to work in unsafe conditions.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of October. However, the SEISS only covers March to May.

Under the SEISS, the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years.

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE, said: ‘The self-employed aren’t just a vital and major part of the workforce, they are also the hard-working entrepreneurs we will need to kick-start the economy after coronavirus. However, most of them cannot continue their work in the midst of this deadly pandemic and they are relying on government support to keep their businesses afloat.

‘We were delighted when the government heeded our calls and set up the SEISS, but now it must keep it open as long as the self-employed need it. It must not commit a glaring injustice by extending the employee CJRS but pulling the rug from under the self-employed.’

 

Accountants in Chester

HMRC changes process for obtaining Government Gateway ID

11 May 2020

HMRC has updated the process for acquiring a Government Gateway ID for its Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The Revenue stated that it has changed the process by which it allows taxpayers to create Government Gateway IDs in order to avoid delays. HMRC is advising individuals who need to create a Government Gateway ID to do so via the SEISS service to make sure the correct type of ID is generated.

Taxpayers who already have a Government Gateway ID will be able to use it to apply for an SEISS grant.

HMRC recently started contacting taxpayers who may be eligible for the SEISS. The SEISS claims service opens on 13 May and aims to ‘help millions of self-employed people, covering a wide range of industries and jobs, whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the cronavirus’.

HMRC stated that the SEISS claims process will be simple, and eligible taxpayers will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May, or within six working days of completing a claim.

From 6 April CGT due on the sales of residential properties must be reported and paid within 30 days of completion

21 April 2020

From 6 April Capital Gains Tax (CGT) due on the sales of residential properties must be reported and paid within 30 days of completion. This will apply if you are selling a buy-to-let property or second home. It will also apply if you are selling your main residence and Private Residence Relief (PRR) is not available in full. 

HMRC has agreed that it will not charge any penalties for late reporting for the first three months that the new rules are in place. This effectively means that anyone selling their property now has until the end of June to make their online return.

 

HMRC investigations into taxpayers and businesses suspended

14 April 2020

HMRC enquiries into taxpayers and businesses under investigation have been suspended as a result of capacity constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Taxpayers have been contacted by letter asking them not to request information or documents from HMRC or press for responses to requests that have already been made. In some cases, enquiries are being suspended entirely.

HMRC said it was less able to carry out investigations under the shutdown and taxpayers would also have reduced capacity to carry out the necessary follow-ups.

This will come as a relief to those in HMRC’s firing line, but targets should not be lulled into a false sense of security, tax firm Blick Rothenberg has warned. Tax dispute resolution partner Fiona Fernie says: “Whilst this may seem to be welcome news, there may be good reasons to press ahead if taxpayers or their businesses are already under enquiry.

“For individual taxpayers and businesses whose activities are currently curtailed, it would be sensible for them to use the time they have now to deal with HMRC rather than store up problems for the future…After all, if tax is due – it is still going to be due when we come out of this.”

Rental tenants face eviction notice

09 April 2020

The issue of non-payment of rent has arisen in the public housing sector, according to a landlords’ group, as furloughed tenants struggle to pay.

The London Renters’ Union has requested a suspension of all rent payments, to avoid a build-up of unsustainable debt. To counter this, however, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has said this is not feasible to suspend rent payments as it will punish small landlords.

The NRLA has demanded action from the government to clear up what support can be provided by landlords and lenders to tenants.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said that landlords needed to be more flexible when tenants were legitimately struggling, and a rent ‘holiday’ of up to three months should be introduced, provided that the system is safe from abuse.

“This is not a green light to tenants everywhere to stop paying their rent,” he said.

According to the NRLA, many smaller landlords whose sole income is from lettings do not have the size and sway of corporate landlords and are dealing with the extra burdens of council tax on empty properties and upkeep alongside mortgage payments.

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unveils new measures to SME loan scheme

03 April 2020

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is extending the Coronavirus loan scheme for small and medium businesses who have been affected by the disease.

The Covid Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was originally created to help firms who were struggling to secure regular commercial financing during the economic downturn of the virus.

But now Mr Sunak has extended CBILS to all viable small and medium business who have faced financial difficulty during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals.

Since 23 March, around 1,000 loans worth around £90m have been processed.

The number is expected to increase in the coming days and weeks as lenders get used to the new system.

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