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Job Retention Scheme
The furlough scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.
Until 30 June, employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500. Employers will not need to cover any salary costs, but must pay National Insurance and pension contributions. Furloughed employees must have been employed on or before 30 October 2020.
From 1 July, employers will need to pay 10% of furloughed staff’s salaries as well as NIC and pension contributions. From 1 August this will increase to 20%.
Furloughed employees are able to return to work on a part-time basis through ‘flexible furlough’. They will continue to receive 80% of wages up to £2,500 p/m through a combination of government support and employer contribution. Employers will need to pay employees for the days worked (e.g. 2 p/w) and government will subsidise the remaining amount.
You can claim for this scheme here.
Self Employed Income Support Scheme
The SEISS has been extended, with freelancers eligible to claim two further grants, one covering the period of February to April, and a final grant in May.
The Feb-April grant will be worth 80% of average monthly trading profits over a 3-month period, up to £7,500.
The May grant will cover 80% of trading profits for self-employed individuals whose profits have fallen by over 30%. Those whose profits have fallen by less than 30% will receive a grant worth 30% of average trading profits.
Individuals who became self-employed in the past year will be eligible to claim, provided they filed tax returns by midnight on 3 March 2021.
You can claim here.
Nearly £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations to support businesses impacted by the crisis, excluding hospitality, retail and tourism (who are eligible for different grants). These are to be distributed at the discretion of the respective Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and local authorities in England.
Employers who create 30 new positions for 16-24 year-olds on Universal Credit will be able to claim back funding equal to 25 hours of minimum wage per week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrollment contributions. You can apply for the scheme here.
Help to Grow
SMEs will be eligible to receive 50 hours of high-quality MBA-style training from Business Schools across the country for £750, 10% of the unit cost.
SMEs will also be eligible for free digital skills training and 50% discounts on productivity-enhancing software worth up to £5000.
Businesses can register their interest here. The scheme is expected launch in the Autumn.
The Super Deduction
Over the next two years, companies will be able to claim back 130% of investment costs into new equipment as a tax cut.
Apprenticeships and Training
Companies hiring apprentices of any age will be eligible for a £3000 bonus. This is an increase from the £2000 bonus (or £1500 for 25+) offered from 1 August 2020 – 31 March 2021.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on apprenticeships, including allowing the modification of assessments, extending assessment time frames, and support for apprentices made redundant. More information can be found here.
VAT and Tax Deferral
Businesses who chose to defer their VAT bills in spring can pay the full amount in March 2021, or pay back the sum in 11 interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year. More information about how to opt-in to the payment scheme can be found here.
Self-assessment taxpayers will be eligible for a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.
Government loan schemes, including CBILS, large CBILS and Bounce Back Loans, are open for applications until 31 March.
From 1 April, these schemes will be replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme. Businesses of any size will be able to apply for loans of between £25,000 and £10m. Government will guarantee 80% of the value to lenders.
On 24 September the Chancellor announced a Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system for firms repaying Bounce Back Loans. This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, and offering interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays.
You can see more details about the different loan schemes here.
Workplace Specific Guidance
BEIS have issued workplace specific guidance for businesses on safe operating procedures. The guidance for offices can be found here, all other workplaces, here. All employees who can continue to work from home are asked to do so.
Further information and resource pages
HMRC COVID-19 helpline regarding tax issues: 08000 241222 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
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