As the UK enters week five of lockdown we have seen the pace of announcements of new measures to support taxpayers slow. The Government is now focusing on the implementation of flagship measures including, most notably, the Job Retention Scheme where there have been significant changes since HMRC’s initial guidance was published and employers should ensure their claims comply with the latest position before they are submitted. HMRC have also provided further guidance on some other areas. This article provides a high level overview of developments from the previous two weeks since our last edition of Tax Matters Digest.
- The Job Retention Scheme legislation (JRS) will now run to the end of June. HMRC have updated their guidance for employees and employers, and published both detailed and step by step calculation guides, in advance of the online claims portal launching on 20 April 2020. The Treasury has also published the Direction that provides the detailed legal basis of the scheme. Please see our separate article for more information;
- The Chancellor has expanded the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) to cover all viable businesses with turnover of more than £45 million. Businesses with a turnover of more than £500 million were originally not eligible for the scheme but now all firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million. CLBILS will launch on Monday 20 April 2020;
- The European Commission has approved a £50 billion UK ‘umbrella’ scheme to support businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our separate article explains how EU state aid rules currently apply to the UK;
- HMRC and the OECD have published guidance for businesses on their views of the impact of COVID-19 on corporate tax residency and permanent establishments. This is summarised in our separate article;
- HMRC have issued formal notices to some small and mid-sized businesses confirming a temporary pause on enquiry work. The notices state that HMRC will temporarily pause work on cases unless they are asked to continue progressing them by taxpayers. We understand that enquiry work is still continuing for large and complex businesses and that HMRC are willing to hold virtual meetings to progress these;
- Duty deferment account (DDA) holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT (due on the 15th of each month) can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended;
- HMRC have extended the end of year payroll reporting deadline for employers of Appendix 7A and B internationally mobile employees from 31 March 2020 to 31 May 2020, and the reporting deadline for Appendix 4 Short Term Business Visitors from 31 May 2020 to 31 July 2020;
- HMRC have provided an update on how requests for certificates of residence are being processed. In short, requests should continue to be processed even where they are posted to HMRC.