Blackman Terry Tax News for May 2021
Published: 25 May 2021
HMRC sets out penalty regime for SEISS abuse.
The fourth Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant is now live and HMRC has set out the penalties for abuse of the scheme.
An overclaimed SEISS grant includes any amount of grant which the self-employed individual was not entitled to receive or was more than the amount HMRC said the applicant was entitled to when the claim was made.
Overpayments must be notified to HMRC within 90 days of receipt of an SEISS grant.
When deciding the amount of any penalty, HMRC will take account whether the taxpayer knew they were entitled to the SEISS grant when they received it and when it became repayable or chargeable to tax because the individual’s circumstances changed.
CBI calls for extension of Kickstart Scheme as jobs market remains subdued.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to extend the Kickstart Scheme to help young people who are bearing the brunt of the subdued job market.
The Kickstart Scheme was launched in September and promised to pay the wages and associated employment costs for businesses taking on 16 to 24-year-olds in receipt of Universal Credit up to six-month contract periods.
The UK unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in the three months to February, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, 56,000 workers were cut from company payrolls in March, which represents the first monthly drop since last November.
Around 813,000 workers have been cut from company payrolls in the last 12 months as the pandemic adversely affected the jobs market. The ONS said young people continued to bear the brunt of the crisis amid job losses in sectors such as hospitality and retail.
Recovery Loan Scheme opens to business
On 6 April, the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) was introduced to replace the government’s coronavirus lending schemes.
The RLS provides financial support to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme gives lenders a guarantee of 80% on eligible loans between £25,000 and £10 million to give them confidence in continuing to provide finance to UK businesses.
The RLS is open to all businesses, including those who have already received support under the previous COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme although the amount they have borrowed under an existing scheme may in certain circumstances limit the amount they may borrow under RLS.
The RLS is initially available through a number of lenders accredited by the British Business Bank.
New claims required for home working tax relief.
Employees who are working from home will need to make new claims for tax relief for the 2021/22 tax year, HMRC has stated.
From 6 April 2020, employers have been able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they have had to work from home.
Employees who have not received the working from home expenses payment direct from their employer can apply to receive the tax relief from HMRC.
HMRC has also confirmed that the £6 per week payment is available in full, even if an employee splits their time between home and the office.
The allowance is to cover tax-deductible additional costs that employees who are required to work from home have incurred, such as heating and lighting the workroom, and business telephone calls.
Pension fraud increased to £1.8 million in first quarter of 2021
Losses from pension fraud rose to £1.8 million in the first three months of this year, according to figures from Action Fraud.
107 reports of pension fraud were made in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of almost 45% when compared to the same period in 2020.
Pension scams often include free pension reviews, ‘too good to be true’ investment opportunities and offers to help release money from your pension, even for under 55s, which is not permitted under the pension freedom rules.
Fourth self-employed grant now open for online applications
On 21 April, the online service for applications for the fourth Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant was opened for claims, HMRC confirmed.
All applications must be submitted by the individual self-employed worker and cannot be handled by accountants or tax advisers.
The fourth grant will be 80% of three months’ average trading profits, to be claimed from late April 2021.
Payment will be in a single instalment capped at £7,500 in total and will cover the period 1 February to 30 April 2021. The scheme has been extended to those who filed a 2019/20 self-assessment tax return prior to 3 March 2021.
Claimants must have been impacted by reduced activity, capacity and demand, or have been trading previously and are temporarily unable to do so. All claims must be made on or before 1 June 2021.
There is no requirement for an earlier SEISS grant to have been claimed to be able to claim the fourth grant.
Recent changes to IR35 ‘undermine the self-employed’ says IPSEss Relief
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has stated that the recent changes to the rules relating to off-payroll workers, commonly known as IR35, ‘undermine the self-employed at the worst possible time’.
The changes to IR35 took effect on 6 April 2021 and shifted responsibility for making the decision on employment status on each contract away from contractors and personal service companies (PSCs) and on to the client receiving their services. This has already been done in the public sector.
Research carried out by IPSE found that 50% of contractors planned to stop contracting in the UK once the changes took effect unless they could secure contracts unaffected by them. 24% are planning to seek contracts abroad; 12% plan to stop working altogether; 17% will seek an employed role; and 11% are looking to retire within the next year.
Additionally, 24% of contractors said their clients are planning to blanket-assess all their contractors as ‘inside IR35’.
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New 95% mortgage scheme launched
On 19 April, a government-backed mortgage scheme to help people with 5% deposits get on to the housing ladder was made available to lenders.
First announced at the 2021 Budget, the scheme will help first-time buyers or current homeowners secure a mortgage with just a 5% deposit to buy a house worth up to £600,000. The government says this will provide ‘an affordable route to homeownership for aspiring homeowners’.
The government will offer lenders the guarantee they need to provide mortgages that cover the other 95%, subject to the usual affordability checks.
May / June key tax dates
19th May- Deadline for postal payments of CIS/NICS/PAYE to HMRC (22nd for electronic submissions)
31st May- Deadline for forms P60 for 2020/21 to be issued to employees
1st June - New Advisory Fuel Rates (AFR) for company car users apply from today. The rates can be found by visiting https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advisory-fuel-rates