January News and Updates



Job Support Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. Claims for furlough days in December 2020 must be made by 14 January 2021. You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

Local Restrictions Support Grant

In addition to the monthly grants of up to £3,000 payable to businesses affected by lockdown measures further one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Any business which is legally required to close, and which cannot operate effectively remotely, is eligible for a grant.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The deadline to claim for the third SEISS grant is 29 January 2021. To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
    • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

VAT Payment Deferral

If you deferred VAT between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021
  • opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches in 2021
    • You cannot opt in yet. The online opt in process will be available in early 2021. You must opt in yourself, your agent cannot do this for you.
  • contact HMRC if you need more help to pay

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, interest free. All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022.

The scheme will allow you to:

  • pay your deferred VAT in instalments without adding interest
  • select the number of instalments from 2 to 11 equal monthly payments

To use this scheme you must:

  • still have deferred VAT to pay
  • be up to date with your VAT returns
  • opt in before the end of March 2021
  • pay the first instalment before the end of March 2021
  • be able to pay the deferred VAT by Direct Debit


31 January Self Assessment Deadline

HMRC has indicated that there will be no extension to the filing deadline due to the Covid pandemic. Where a return cannot be filed by the deadline the options are:

  • File the return with provisional figures for any missing information.
    • HMRC is highlighting this option and has confirmed that the practice is acceptable.
  • File the return late and appeal against the late filing penalty on the grounds of reasonable excuse.
    • HMRC has confirmed that late filing of a return due to COVID-19 related delays may be grounds for reasonable excuse for late filing. It has also stated that this may also be the case where the delay is agent related.

The period of time available to HMRC to enquire into a return is longer when a return is filed late or is amended.

An online process allows those with a SA liability of £30,000 or less to apply for time to pay over 12 months. Applications made online are granted automatically so long as the conditions (such as all returns being up to date) are satisfied.

IR35 April 2021

If you’re a contractor who works through your own limited company or other intermediary, you may be affected, depending on your client.

  • You provide services to a public sector organisation of any size. Your client will already be responsible for deciding your employment status for tax purposes.
  • You provide services to a medium or large-sized non-public sector organisation. You will no longer be responsible for deciding your employment status for tax purposes – your client will now decide this.
  • You provide services to a small non-public sector organisation. Your limited company or other intermediary will remain responsible for considering the off-payroll working rules.

If your client determines that your contract is inside the off-payroll working rules and you are employed for tax purposes, your client, or an agency in the supply chain, will deduct the necessary tax and National Insurance before they pay you. You will still need to submit a tax return, and the income and tax already paid arising from the off-payroll contract will be shown in the employment pages of your Self Assessment return.


VAT MTD and Direct Debits

HMRC will need a valid and current email address for customers wishing to continue to use Direct Debit. This allows HMRC to comply with UK banking regulations requiring them to notify customers of the date and amount to be taken by Direct Debit.

HMRC will therefore request affected customers to provide this information, ideally via their Business Tax Account. Without a valid email address, HMRC will be unable to collect VAT payments.

Specialist Foster Carers

There are foster carers who care for children with a disability or other special needs. Some specialist foster carers may incur specific expenditure that is clearly not of a type covered by normal maintenance, such as for special equipment. In this case, the amount of actual expenditure can be added to the qualifying amount.

In other cases, the specialist carer’s expenses may be exceptional by degree rather than type. In such cases, there is no practicable way of measuring the exceptional expenditure separately. Such carers should record their actual expenses for a set period, and use the resulting data as a basis for calculating the regularly recurring expenses for the full year which can then be added to the qualifying amount.

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