Tax UK

Last week the self-employed income support scheme (“SEISS”) opened for claims. HMRC’s advice is that who cannot set up a Government Gateway ID because they have a Northern Ireland driving licence or Irish passport is to claim by phone (0800 024 1222) instead of using the online portal. Check our dedicated SEISS page and download our factsheet on the scheme now.  The guidance has also been updated as a result of changes in the State Aid section. In the updated guidance there is no longer a requirement that those eligible need to confirm they are below the €800,000 aid cap.  After amendments, the State Aid Temporary Framework now allows for “Aid in the form of wage subsidies” (section 3.10). This is distinct from the previous “Aid in form of direct grants, repayable advances or tax advantages” category (section 3.1), on which a €800,000 cap applies. As the SEISS was recently approved under section 3.10, the €800,000 cap does not apply to this scheme.   HMRC have also sent the below message about the scheme.  “The claims system for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) went live yesterday, 13 May, for eligible customers to begin to make their claims and we are pleased to say the first day of claims has proceeded smoothly. We appreciate the invaluable support you provide to your clients in helping them prepare to claim a grant under this scheme.  However, we have noticed some agents are using their client’s Government Gateway credentials to make claims on their behalf. Please don’t do this. It will trigger a fraud alert and will result in delays to receiving payment.  If you have claimed on a client’s behalf already, their payment may be delayed. If your clients are affected, they will have to contact us separately to resolve this.  As you know, our priority was ensuing we could get money to those who needed it most, as quickly as possible and directly to the individual's bank account.  The claims system has been designed so it is as simple as possible for customers to use and we will calculate the amount a customer is entitled to, based on the information we already hold. We’re already seeing very positive feedback from customers who’ve made their claim and have found it easy and straightforward.  How you can help your clients  Please continue to help your clients by:   talking them through why they may, or may not be eligible, drawing on our online guidance or through our daily webinars  encouraging them to use the online checker (or using it on their behalf to check eligibility) – reminding them that they will need their Unique Taxpayer Reference number and their National Insurance number to do so  encouraging clients who do not have their Government Gateway credentials to set them up online now  reminding them that the date between 13 and 18‌‌ May, which they have been given, is assigned randomly in order to help HMRC manage demand on the service so that everyone who needs to make a claim can do so  helping them understand that while they won’t be able to apply before their allocated claim date, they will be able to make a claim after that day  supporting them to find other help available on GOV.UK, if they are not eligible for a grant under this scheme, and  Not applying for a claim on their behalf.    Seeking a review of eligibility  We welcome your support in helping clients to understand if they meet the criteria for SEISS. If you, or your client, wish to seek a review of HMRC’s decision around your client’s eligibility, you can do this using the form available when the checker confirms this result. We will look at their case and we will explain their eligibility by the end of May.  It’s important to note that the checker has an extremely high accuracy rate as we use the data you or your client has previously provided us with in their tax returns.  The application process  When your clients begin the application process, they will be shown how HMRC has calculated the grant they are due to receive. Your clients will be able to share this calculation with you.  If you, or your client, wish to seek a review of HMRC’s calculation, you can do so on their behalf by logging on to your agent gateway account and submitting the online form available there using your client’s details.  Watch our animation on how to claim  We have created a short film to show step-by-step, what the claims process looks like. Please feel free to share this with your clients.  Further information  Our phone lines will be very busy over the next few days, so we would really value your help in explaining the scheme to your clients and ensuring they understand the scheme. You can do this by visiting our guidance on GOV.UK which will provide you with most of the answers you may need.  Join our webinar to find out more  You can also join one of our live webinars for further information about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. In these webinars we cover an overview of the scheme, who can claim, how much customers may be entitled to, how to claim, what happens after customers have claimed and other support available. Choose a date and time.  A word about scams  We are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Eligible customers will be invited to claim through GOV‌.UK – it is the only service they can use. If someone gets in touch with your clients claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks them to click on a link or to give information such as their name, credit card or bank details, they should not respond. It is a scam.  Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should reported to us by sending them to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. Texts should be sent to 60599.” 

May 18, 2020
Tax UK

Members can visit our dedicated UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) page, which provides guidance on the scheme. Download our factsheet on the who, what, where, when and why of the scheme.   Readers are also advised to ensure they are using the latest CJRS. You are advised to bookmark the relevant links and print a copy of the guidance which applied at the time you submit a claim for the CJRS grant. The guidance is available at the following links and has been updated as follows since last week:-       Page title Changes made 1 Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update headline text to give high level intro to CJRS and also reflect CX announcement on extension of the scheme 2 Check if you can claim for your employee's wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update headline text to reflect CX announcement on extension of the scheme We’ve pulled out the ‘Employees you can claim for’ section of the ‘Check’ guide into its own piece of guidance called ‘Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. 3 Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme New separate page for this content Clarification on volunteering to emphasise that it cannot be for the same or a different role. Section on consolidated payroll moved to be next to TUPE section. Content unchanged. 4 Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Non-discretionary payments clarification to better explain what meets this criteria. Wording tweaked. Non-discretionary overtime payment clarification to better explain the distinction here. New wording setting out what periods a claim should cover and how far in advance claims can be made Examples from this page separated out into supplementary HTML document, no change to content. Moved the ‘After you’ve claimed’ section from this page to the service start page where it sits better and makes more sense for the user. Link to BEIS Holiday Entitlement guidance added to Holiday Pay Section. 5 Examples for ‘Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ New separate page for this content, no changes to content. 6 Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Added in that records must be kept for at least 6 years Clarification around where employers can search for employee's National Insurance Numbers Added wording to the 'After you've claimed' section which was removed from the 'Work out 80% if your wages page'. 7 Reporting employees' wages to HMRC when you've claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme No changes to content   'Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  'Reporting employees' wages to HMRC when you've claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reporting-payments-in-paye-real-time-information-from-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  ‘Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' is available at:   https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  'Find examples to help you work out 80% of your employees' wages' is available at:   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/find-examples-to-help-you-work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages  'Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  'Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  'Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' is available at:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers  This guide explains the information that employers need to provide to claim for their employees’ wages and has also recently been updated. 

May 18, 2020
Tax UK

HMRC are holding a number of webinars with the latest information, guidance and tips to help you support your clients. There are a limited number of spaces, so book your place now.  Coronavirus COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme  Providing an overview of the scheme, this webinar looks at who can claim, when to start paying SSP, employees you can claim for, making a claim, keeping records, and more.  Choose a date and time  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – How to make a claim  This guides you through making a claim, including the essential information you need, what to do before you make your claim, calculating and processing your claim.  Choose a date and time  Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)  This webinar covers the aim of the scheme, who can apply, how much may be claimed, applying for the scheme, what happens after you’ve applied and other support available.  Choose a date and time 

May 18, 2020
Tax UK

The latest coronavirus Stakeholder Digest is now available.  “This HMRC Stakeholder Digest provides a round-up of the steps HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is taking to help support the UK economy during the Coronavirus outbreak. We want to ensure everyone knows about the support available, so we’d be grateful if you could share these messages with your clients, customers or members.  The government has set up a dedicated support page where businesses can find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus.  Self-Employment Income Support Scheme  Chancellor announces next steps on the Job Retention Scheme  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - update to guidance and online service  Updated guidance following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation  New guidance for Tax Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare  Advice on scams”   

May 18, 2020
Tax UK

HMRC is currently undertaking scheduled maintenance to the Making Tax Digital (“MTD”) service to enable the release of additional functionality. The MTD service is closed from 4.00pm Saturday 16 May until today 5.00pm Monday 18 May.  During this period, the following MTD for VAT services will be unavailable:  Submission of returns  Payment Services  Business Tax Account (BTA) view & change  During this period, the following MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment services will be available, although there may be some intermittent downtime experienced from 14 May to 15 May between 19:45pm to 02:30am.  Do you use HMRC online services? Don’t be caught out by the planned downtime to some services. HMRC regularly warn about the non-availability of specific services on the HMRC website. Check the relevant page for information on planned downtime.

May 18, 2020
Tax International

The Czech Republic and Korea have deposited their instruments of ratification for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI). The MLI will enter into force in these countries on 1 September 2020.

May 18, 2020
Public Policy

As an update to the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the UK government has confirmed to the EU it will enhance inspection posts at Northern Ireland's ports in order to deliver on the Brexit deal. Junior Minister Declan Kearney told a Stormont committee that the Northern Ireland Executive had been given a briefing by officials on Monday on the latest stage of Brexit negotiations between the UK government and the EU. This communication took place via letters, which have been understood to have been exchanged in the last two weeks, focused on what are known as Border Control Posts (BCPs). Under the Brexit deal, reached in October 2019, Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU single market rules on agricultural and manufactured goods. The EU has strict rules on the entry of animals and food products into the single market, and these products must always enter the single market through designed BCPs. Therefore, the establishment of BCPs at Northern Ireland's ports was always going to be a consequence of the Brexit deal.  

May 18, 2020
Tax

Following the review of Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) earlier this year, the OECD held a public consultation meeting last week. The meeting focused on the key questions identified in the consultation document and raised in the written submissions as part of the consultation process. The BEPS Action 13 report required that a review of the CbCR ‎minimum standard be completed by the end of 2020 (the 2020 review). You can watch a recording of the meetings here for more information on the review read our update here.

May 18, 2020
Public Policy

The European Commission launched infringement proceedings against the United Kingdom on Thursday 14 May 2020, for failure to comply with EU law on the free movement of EU citizens and their family members. UK national legislation limits the scope of beneficiaries of EU free movement law in the UK as well as the possibilities for EU citizens and their family members to appeal administrative decisions restricting free movement rights. During the Brexit transition period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020, EU law on free movement applies to the UK as if it were still a member of the bloc. The Commission said it was concerned that current shortcomings endanger the implementation of EU citizens' rights that was formally agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK signed in January. “The UK now has four months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission," the Commission statement said, adding that otherwise it might have to send a formal request to UK authorities to comply. This news comes as a part of the European Commission’s regular package of infringement decisions, where the body pursues legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law.

May 18, 2020
Tax UK

The latest update from HMRC is set out below.  “Digital Taxpayer Support Services (DCSS) – Agent Forum (March 20) Update for VCG  Agent Forum (AF)  As at the end of March 2020 the Forum had over 773 (up 65) on February registered Agent subscribers, of 1229 users signed up to the old forum. The Agent Forum re-platforming has been live for seven months now and even though registrations have not reached the levels of its predecessor, participation and issues traffic are increasing During 2019/20 we have dealt with over 650 issues, across all Heads of Duty. The new ‘Knowledge Base’ feature is also increasingly popular and carries announcements and real time taxes information and supported a Self-Assessment 2018/19 EoY filing programme. To support agents through the COVID-19 crisis, we have established a dedicated panel to deal with related issues and publish guidance. We have in conjunction with our Issues Overview Group (IOG) stakeholder colleagues, developed procedures to identify high priority widespread issues to be taken forward for resolution with our internal technical specialist and communications partners.  This will be implemented on the Agent Forum going into 2020/21. We continue building our internal HMRC Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) capability, formalising recruitment from across HMRC to improve the quality and timeliness of issue resolution responses and to focus on Agent Forum operations. Performance metrics carried forward from the previous platforms now include over 1750k views, 8500 posted messages on over 1600 current topics, all since July 2017; which are moderated daily with appropriate responses given, as determined by subject matter, related traffic generated, and referrals provided by line of business. For 20/21, we are reviewing what performance metrics are reported in future, as we better understand new functionality provided by the MS Dynamics platform.     The Digital Taxpayer Support Services (DCSS) Agent Team is staffed by a Service Manager and 2.5 FTE Moderators, who moderate and run the forum.”

May 18, 2020
Brexit

The third round of Brexit negotiations between the EU and UK government concluded on Friday 15 May 2020. The negotiations began on Monday 11 May and lasted for the whole week. The full agenda of the negotiations can be found on the European Commission’s website. The parties discussed issues in areas such as trade in goods, transport, and the UK's participation in future programmes of the Union, however no real progress has been reported and the negotiations have said to have reached an ‘impasse’. As per chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier’s concluding press statement, there was no real progress on topics such as a single governance framework, fisheries or level playing field provisions. To further make matters difficult, both sides insist progress can only be made if the other side gives up its core demands. While Mr. Barnier urged the UK “to change its strategy”, UK’s chief negotiator David Frost has stated, “we very much need a change in EU approach”. Even though both sides agreed on a divorce package last year that allowed the UK to continue to trade with the EU, the two sides remain at an impasse on various issues. Mr. Barnier has yet again reiterated the EU stance, that “this is not an opportunity for the UK to “pick and choose” the most attractive elements of the EU Single Market”, which has been countered by Mr. Frost’s statement stating the EU position as “a major obstacle…on a reaching a mutually beneficial agreement”. Further highlighting the disagreement, Irish Tánaiste Simon Coveney has also said that a no-deal Brexit is now a real risk because the UK is looking for something different to what was committed in the Political Declaration. Meanwhile, UK cabinet minister Michael Gove has said there was a post-Brexit trade deal to be done with the EU, providing the bloc agreed to compromise. Both sides are due to decide by the end of June whether the current deadline for negotiating an agreement should be extended beyond the end of December. The fourth round of negotiations is scheduled for 1 June 2020. The UK government has also said that it intends to make public all of its draft legal texts next week. The Brexit timetable now looks more difficult than ever.

May 18, 2020
In the media

In his regular column in the Business Post, Dr Brian Keegan talks about how we need simple and quick supports to cope with the COVID-19 unemployment crisis, not a complex new industry of loans, grants, tax breaks and deferrals. In his column in the Irish Examiner, Dr Keegan discusses how increased COVID-19 funding costs are set to turn up the heat on extending the much-debated state retirement age to 67 next year.

May 18, 2020

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