HK BUSINESS FORWARD UPDATE – 12 NOVEMBER 2020
This update is written and posted on 12 November 2020 and is likely to quickly become out of date. We will endeavour to update information as it becomes available.
Previous updates and other useful information can be found at our WEBSITE.
As lockdown number two progresses, a quick update, including a key date for the furlough scheme, which per our recent updates has been extended to 31 March.
JOB RETENTION SCHEME (aka Furlough Scheme)
DEADLINE - 13 November for employers to backdate arrangements.
As reported recently, following the Government announcement of the second lockdown, the furlough scheme was extended to 31 March 2021 and currently runs along the same lines as how the scheme operated in August. Details can be found at HMRC website.
One of the qualifying conditions for the scheme, and a point that HMRC will check as part of any compliance check is that there must be a contractually binding agreement in place, between employer and employee, which needs to be in writing.
As we have advised since the introduction of the scheme, it is important to discuss this process with the employees to be placed on furlough, or if their arrangement is being extended, explaining the reason why and documenting, in addition to the agreement. Employers need to be careful of discrimination in furlough selection, having documented decision processes and reasons.
Agreements to furlough can be backdated to the 1st November, PROVIDED THEY ARE IN PLACE BY 13th NOVEMBER. So if an employee has been furloughed since the second lockdown, or their furlough has been extended, this needs to be recorded in an agreement.
At some point in December, HMRC will be publishing the names of all employers using furlough. Being cynical, we feel this is a way to increase whistle blowers to report employers who are abusing the scheme, as HMRC believe that there are a significant number of fraudulent claims, one area being where the employer is not passing the furlough payment to the employees.
Remember, while an employee is on furlough, they are not able to undertake any work.
SELF EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME (“SEISS”)
The next SEISS grant covering 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 will be available from 30 November 2020.
HMRC’s website has still not been updated to reflect the new grant.
To be eligible for the grant, self-employed individuals, including members of a partnerships must:
- Have been previously eligible for the grant (although you do not have to have claimed the previous grants), which means those who had trading profits of more than £50k in 2019 are still not eligible for grant;
- Declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
- are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus; or
- were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.
As previously reported, the government has put in place a grant scheme for businesses that have been forced to close due to the second lockdown from 5 November 2020.
Grants are based on the rateable value of the property and will be paid per 28-day qualifying restriction period.
- Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under can get a grant payment of £1,334;
- Businesses with a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999 can get a grant payment of £2,000;
- Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 and over can get a grant payment of £3,000.
To be eligible for this grant, your business property must fall under one of the categories on the government’s list of businesses forced to close. The updated list for this lockdown can be found on the the government website.
(Please note that if the majority of your business has been forced to close but you are operating a takeaway or click and collect service, you may still be eligible for a grant).
Most local authorities, who were not at tier 3 measures before the second lockdown, are still putting in place arrangements for businesses to apply for the grants. If eligible or you believe you are entitled, it is a case of regularly checking your Local Authority website.As ever, matters are still developing (as can be seen with the JSS with three announcements over the last four weeks) and we will endeavour to keep you up to date, flag to you opportunities and signpost to the key details as best as we can via our updates. A summary of the Government’s support schemes can be found at our website, including a list of non-Government funding opportunities, which we update regularly and can be found HERE.
We know that this is a very difficult time for all businesses and some difficult decisions are having to be made. We have spoken to hopefully all of you and if not, we would like you to know that we are here ready to help if you need us to provide advice, deal with queries, or just be a business sounding board.
It's vital that everyone follows the guidelines & remember:
#Hands #Face #Space