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Other news in brief

Other news in brief

A round up of other news this week.

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On 13 October 2020, HMRC issued a press release promoting their new online portal, which allows eligible employees to claim income tax relief in respect of qualifying home working expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced that, as an easement during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is waiving daily late filing penalties for 2018/19 Self-assessment tax returns and will consider COVID-19 as a reasonable excuse for missing return deadlines. Self-assessment tax returns for 2018/19 were due to be filed by 31 January 2020. Daily penalties are usually charged at £10 per day for each day the return is more than three months late (i.e. from 1 May 2020), for a maximum of 90 days. It is noted that the tax geared penalty (i.e. £300 or five percent of tax due if greater) will still apply if a return is six months late and again if 12 months late.

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has published a claims and elections review which explores ways in which the administrative processes for making claims and elections could be simplified, across income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and VAT. It makes 15 recommendations, both on general areas that would help to improve the operation of claims and elections across the tax system and on specific claims and elections where processes could be simplified.

The Government has introduced a new access review process for businesses applying for funding from its Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) which is open to businesses deemed to be investment grade equivalent as at 1 March 2020, and who make a material contribution to the UK economy.

The Government has announced that it will increase the Local Restrictions Support Grants scheme, first announced in September, so that businesses in England that are required to close can receive up to £3,000 per month (rather than up to £1,500 per three weeks).

On 13 October 2020, the European Commission announced that it had adopted a further amendment to the EU’s Temporary Framework for State aid measures in relation to COVID-19. The Temporary Framework was initially set to end on 31 December 2020, with the exception of certain recapitalisation measures that could be granted until 30 June 2021. The framework has now been extended until 30 June 2021, with the recapitalisation measures being prolonged until 30 September 2021. In addition a new measure has been introduced to enable EU Member States to support companies facing a decline in turnover during the eligible period of at least 30 percent compared to the same period of 2019 due to COVID-19 with their fixed costs, to the extent they are not met by revenues up to a maximum amount of €3 million per undertaking. There have also been changes to the conditions for recapitalisation measures under the Temporary Framework, and an extension of the temporary removal of all countries from the list of ‘marketable risk’ countries under the 2012 short-term export-credit insurance communication. The UK Government has previously confirmed that its intention is for the UK to follow World Trade Organisation (WTO) subsidy rules and other international commitments, replacing the EU state aid laws, from 1 January 2021. Those commitments will include any international obligations on subsidies which the UK agrees to in any future free trade agreements. It is therefore expected that the Temporary Framework will cease to apply to the UK on 31 December 2020, subject to the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU on the future relationship after the end of the implementation period.

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for September has been published with Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG in the UK, stating “the resilience of British retailers has been nothing shy of remarkable in recent months, with 6.1 percent like-for-like growth in September serving to reinforce that”.

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