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post july 1

Further Detail Behind Latest Government Announcement

Most of you will have already seen the headlines last week but we wanted to digest this and get a little more detail behind the proposals before we expanded on them and we still await some further details as of today.

In summary though:

  • Incentives to retain staff following the end of furlough
  • Temporary reduction, until 31st March 2021, in stamp duty so that houses under £500k are exempt
  • The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme across August for participating restaurants
  • Temporary VAT reduction
  • Incentives to help young people into the workforce through apprenticeships and traineeships (more information still to follow regarding this so contact us if you wish to discuss further)
  • The COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme or as most of us know it… Furloughing
    The Government is now incentivising companies to bring back their furloughed staff and keep them until at least Jan 2021. For every furloughed member of staff, you bring back to work, continuously employ and pay over an average of £520 a month for Nov/Dec/Jan, the government will give your business £1,000.The money will be granted once you have submitted your payroll RTI submission for January 2021. This could be a very welcome cash bonus for many businesses though in our opinion could have been better spent as we personally aren’t sure jobs would be kept open this long given the size of the grant.  A thankless task; we know and the Government have done a great job but we think this one will not hit the mark.More information is expected regarding this by 31 July and full guidance is going to be published in the Autumn we’re told.

    Stamp duty change
    An increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold in England and Northern Ireland – increasing the threshold under which no SDLT is paid on the purchase of a main home from £125,000 to £500,000, with immediate effect until 31‌‌‌ ‌March 2021.

    The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme across August for participating restaurants
    during August, diners can get 50% off Monday to Wednesday on meals and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10 per person, when eating at participating restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments that have registered

    VAT changes for eat in/takeaway food, hospitality and leisure (just not alcohol)
    Of course, we wholeheartedly applaud the reduction in VAT to 5% for these categories from July 15th to 12th Jan 2021. The accountant in us would have preferred the reduction to take place at the beginning or end of a month, but that’s just life!

    The UK government will cut VAT from 20% to 5% on any eat-in or hot takeaway food and drinks from restaurants, cafes and pubs, excluding alcohol. This VAT reduction also applies to all holiday accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, as well as attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos.

Flexible Furlough Calculations

As you are all aware, we have submitted all furlough claims to date for no charge.

Following the introduction of ‘flexible furlough’ and the complexity of the calculations behind this, there will now be a charge for the calculation element of this if you wish to take advantage because of the additional time involved at our end.

If you wish to make these calculations personally, you too would then need to then make the claim as we professionally cannot make a claim for which we were not responsible for.

All other standard furlough claims will continue to be made for no additional charge.

Free Xero training

Xero are kindly hosting a series of free training sessions to a limited number of people so if this of interest then please get in touch as the topics are changing on a week to week basis.

Webinar

What to expect next (financially and operationally)
This week we are speaking at the North East Expo event which this year is naturally being hosted online so to register for this free event just follow this link here where I will discuss my thoughts and make this as interactive as possible for those attending to help people plot a route forward both financially and operationally.

Last; but by no means least, welcome three new additions

I’ve resisted any pictures but we now welcome Kate, Triveni and Fraser to the team who actually started at various times through lockdown but that is the end of our latest recruitment drive; for now, so we thought it a good time to introduce them and if you see an e-mail in your mailbox from them it is genuine.

resources 15.06

What is a flexible furlough? How do I put employees on flexible furlough?

Yes we had another late Friday night update and a client with much greater HR expertise than us has kindly shared the following with us with regards to a number of questions that might be raised.

What is a flexible furlough?

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern.

You will still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period.

How do I put employees on flexible furlough?

From 1 July 2020, only employees that you have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme.

This means they must have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020. For the minimum 3 consecutive week period to be completed by 30 June, the last day an employee could have started furlough for the first time was 10 June.

You should have a discussion with employees who you wish to place on the flexible furlough scheme because you will need to agree the arrangements of their part time work. The agreement should be confirmed in writing and you must keep a written record of the agreement for five years.

You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. In addition, you can continue to fully furlough employees if you wish.

How long can flexible furlough last?

Flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. This means that they do not need to last for a minimum of 3 weeks. However, the period that you claim for must be for a minimum period of 7 calendar days. Any flexible furlough period of less than this cannot be claimed for via the scheme.

Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

What do I pay an employee on flexible furlough?

You will pay the employee for the hours they work, along with national insurance contributions and pension contributions for those hours.

The scheme will allow you to recover the remainder of wages to a maximum cap. Wage caps are proportional to the hours an employee is furloughed. For example, an employee is entitled to 60% of the £2,500 cap if they are placed on furlough for 60% of their usual hours.

The amount that the scheme will cover will begin to decrease from September 2020, and you will be responsible for all of the national insurance and pension contributions from August 2020, regardless of the employee being on flexible furlough.

Claims under the new scheme will be open from 1 July 2020.

When claiming for employees who are flexibly furloughed you should not claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours they will have worked during the claim period. This means that you should claim when you have certainty about the number of hours your employees are working during the claim period. If you claim in advance and your employee works for more hours than you have told HMRC about, then you will have to pay some of the grant back to HMRC.

What records do I need to keep?

You’ll need to keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed during flexible furlough. For example, you will need to record that an employee who normally works for 37 hours a week is actually working for 15 hours and is furloughed for 22 hours.

Can my employees work for me during ‘down time’ in flexible furlough?

During flexible furlough, employees are not allowed to do any work for you or any linked or associated organisation during the periods that you record them as being on furlough.

Employees on flexible furlough can do training during the hours that they are recorded as being on furlough, but must be paid at least national minimum wage for those hours.

How do I calculate normal working hours?

If your employee is flexibly furloughed, you’ll need to work out your employee’s usual hours and record the actual hours they work as well as their furloughed hours for each claim period.

There are two different calculations you can use to work out your employee’s usual hours, depending on whether they work fixed or variable hours.

You should work out work out usual hours for employees who work variable hours, if either:

  • your employee is not contracted to a fixed number of hours
  • your employee’s pay depends on the number of hours they work

Where the employee’s working hours are fixed, or their pay does not vary with the amount of hours worked, the reference period for calculating their hours is the hours your employee was contracted for at the end of the last pay period ending on or before 19 March 2020.

Where an employee works variable hours, you will use the higher of:

  • the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020.

 

Webinars (NOT TO BE MISSED)

One of the first and most important lessons that I have learnt is the time lost with family whilst I was working on the business and this is where Joe Laws of Joe Laws Photography will be joining us to discuss what he has planned to help people always appreciate this.  Already I have scheduled in our family photoshoot and these are memories that whilst might have in the past have been forgotten, but in the future, will always be remembered.

Family versus work versus you
Book here to join us at 11.30 on Thursday 18 June.

In our second webinar, planned for two weeks’ time on Thursday 25 June, I will be discussed what I think lies ahead and what we can potentially anticipate.

What to expect next
To join click here on Thursday 25 June at 11am where I will discuss my thoughts and make this as interactive as possible for those attending to help people plot a route forward.

Don’t forget that you can register for webinars previously missed by clicking on the links on past newsletters to access a recording, going to our website, or visiting our company YouTube channel.

resources 02.06

Government Support Update

Rather than rush to get this out to you on Friday evening, we’ve taken a closer look at this and the detail then followed so can now summarise the latest announcements below.

Furlough changes
From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work.

Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

  • June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
  • August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

Self-employment income support scheme extension
Rishi Sunak announced last week that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended – with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570.
Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

New Funding/further updates

Local authority grants:

It now appears that local authorities are gradually starting to drip feed out the discretionary grants that we mentioned on previous newsletters though they appear to each be operating at different speeds.  If you feel like you fell between the cracks then contact your local authority today for an update or keep an eye on their website.

There is also other financial support still out there that is not all directly related to COVID-19 with us including just a handful below:

General support for start-ups and those businesses looking to grow:

https://nbsl.org.uk/
https://www.rtcnorth.co.uk/

A great resource for finding grants generally:
https://www.grantfinder.co.uk/

15.04

Furlough and Help for Self-Employed Update

The timing of our two webinars; links towards the foot of this newsletter, couldn’t have been timed better.  We’ve just outlined the headlines below together with the links to the full HMRC articles and will go through all of this in more detail this coming Friday.

Furlough Update
Thousands more employees will now be able to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) after the eligibility date was extended to 19 March 2020, the government announced today (full article can be found here).
Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.
This change makes the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control and is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees.
HMRC are aiming to have the scheme fully operational next week but anticipate issues and the system crashing when it first goes live.

Update for the Self-Employed
How the figures will be calculated has now been outlined in detail and the breakdown of which can be found here.It will be based on those figures declared on your tax returns covering the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 tax years as appropriate.

Any more queries around either of the above, please come along to our webinar on Friday where we will look to answer as many as we can.

COVID 19 Strike Back – Lets hit back and lets hit back hard!

Now that the dust has settled and we should have digested the support there and how we access this; though some finer details are still yet to be clarified, let’s hit back with all of this rather than feel sorry for ourselves and our business.  If you don’t, you more than likely won’t have a business to return to.

To start with we are ecstatic that we can now share our co-branded document that has been produced alongside one of our software providers that has a walk-through of how best you can do this.  This can be found here.

There is still time to jump onto our second 30 minute LIVE work-out webinar without the spandex this week where we will look at pivoting your business to bounce back (register here).

Following on from this I am opening up the diary for the team for the week commencing 20 April 2020 for you to have a 30 minute one-to-one free session to discuss anything we cover next week in more detail.

Just to stress, now is not the time to stand still, it is the time to strike back!

Further guidance

Following our previous newsletter and as referred to above, people have been asking for further guidance around:
  • Help for the self-employed (to book on click here)
  • Furloughing of staff (to book on click here)

As a result of this we will be doing two separate 30 minute live webinars this Friday covering the above two areas and will add access to finance to each of them also.

To book on, click either of the respective links above.

 

Finally – Client Exchange (APRIL ONLY)

Don’t worry we are not exchanging any clients.

During such unprecedented times we are going to support one another and we won’t always be able to do this for free.

We can however help one another out in exchange for goods/services to the value.

In light of this; and only for the remainder of this month as a trial, if you need some assistance but are struggling financially, can you email what you need to enquiries@gtaccountants.com and we will try to see if we can match you up with another customer.

Please note this is not a free advertising tool but instead to help those clients in need so that we can be specific.

If you are looking to advertise, let me know and I will do a separate client-led newsletter with content provided by you so you can advertise your services but by way of a newsletter rather than direct e-mail as I don’t think any of us would appreciate being sold to in the current climate unless we were looking to buy.

april 10

COVID-19 Strike Back.

Now that the dust has settled and we should have digested the support there and how we access this; though some finer details are still yet to be clarified, let’s hit back with all of this rather than feel sorry for ourselves and our business.  If you don’t, you more than likely won’t have a business to return to.

To start with we are ecstatic that we can now share our co-branded document that has been produced alongside one of our software providers that has a walk-through of how best you can do this.  This can be found here.

Following on from this, I am going to run two further 30 minute LIVE work-out webinars without the spandex next week:

  • Understanding and improving your cash flow in such troubled times (register here)
  • Pivoting your business to bounce back (register here)

Please note that neither of these sessions will be recorded.

Following on from this I am opening up the diary for the team for the week commencing 20 April 2020 for you to have a 30 minute one-to-one free session to discuss anything we cover next week in more detail.

To summarise our four step approach from next week to strike back:

  1. Register for our deep-dive into improving your cash flow
  2. Register for pivot your business session
  3. Schedule a 30 minute on to one session in the diary

Please note that if steps 1 to 2 have not been followed we will not have the meetings as time is of the essence and we need to be best prepared to make the most from the 30 minutes that we have.

Just to stress, now is not the time to stand still, it is the time to strike back!

A friend or contact in need

Never has it been more important to stick together in such times and no more than ever we are here for you to support you however we can.

Can we kindly ask that you listen out across social media, in your circle of friends and contacts, for anybody who too would benefit from the same support that you too are receiving.

Even if they just registered for our newsletter; which they can do by just clicking onto our website here, or if they were to take advantage of our newly introduced and dedicated COVID-19 (click here) and Cash Flow SOS page (click here), you would be helping them out.

Together, we can get through this.

Further guidance

Following our previous e-mail people have been asking for further guidance around:
  • Help for the self-employed (to book on click here)
  • Furloughing of staff (to book on click here)

As a result of this we will be doing two separate 30 minute live webinars next week covering the above two areas and will add access to finance to each of them also.

To book on, click either of the respective links above.

Finally – Client Exchange (APRIL ONLY)

Don’t worry we are not exchanging any clients.

During such unprecedented times we are going to support one another and we won’t always be able to do this for free.

We can however help one another out in exchange for goods/services to the value.

In light of this; and only for the remainder of this month as a trial, if you need some assistance but are struggling financially, can you email what you need to enquiries@gtaccountants.com and we will try to see if we can match you up with another customer.

Please note this is not a free advertising tool but instead to help those clients in need so that we can be specific.

If you are looking to advertise, let me know and I will do a separate client-led newsletter with content provided by you so you can advertise your services but by way of a newsletter rather than direct e-mail as I don’t think any of us would appreciate being sold to in the current climate unless we were looking to buy.

 

april 1

Import update on HMRC direct debits

We thought we should send an update out, given how quiet things have been over the past few days.

In short, the detail behind the Government announcements is where there is change hence there has been very few updates and thus our newsletters may become more sporadic again over the coming weeks.  Don’t worry though, if anything new comes to light for us to urgently share we will continue to do so.

One important update though; can you please cancel any direct debits to HMRC in respect of your VAT or self-assessment if you plan to take advantage of the ‘deferring payment’ otherwise money will still be taken automatically. 

As we continue to focus more on the detail and roll out of everything introduced by the Government, we are asking everybody take advantage of any extra time they have on their hands to ask themselves the following:

  • If you could start your business from scratch today; knowing what you have learnt and with the resources that you have accumulated, how would you structure it differently?  What will you do differently going forward?
  • Given the troubled times we are now facing; if you had known in advance that they were coming, what would you have done differently to prepare?

Now that we can start to focus on what changes need to be made, finance accessed etc. we can focus on how we bounce back positively on the other side of this so you will notice a change in direction in terms of being more upbeat again as we take on you the next step of making the best of a horrible situation.

A friend or contact in need

Never has it been more important to stick together in such times and no more than ever we are here for you to support you however we can.

Can we kindly ask that you listen out across social media, in your circle of friends and contacts, for anybody who too would benefit from the same support that you too are receiving.

Even if they just registered for our newsletter; which they can do by just clicking onto our website here, or if they were to take advantage of our newly introduced and dedicated COVID-19 (click here) and Cash Flow SOS page (click here), you would be helping them out.

Together, we can get through this.

Further help on it’s way

Whilst we have provided you all with a deluge of updates and information we acknowledge that we can do more.

Naturally we are stretched significantly as it is so would like to get this help out to as many of you at the same time as possible but appreciate that a newsletter may not always be the best method.

In light of this, we propose to run a series of live webinars; that will be not be more than say 30 minutes in length; allowing for a 15-20 minute update from us and 10 minutes for questions.

The most popular areas that we are being asked about and that we would look to run a live webinar on include:

  • assistance for those that are self-employed
  • furloughing staff
  • access to finance including government grants
If any of these are of interest, please e-mail us at enquiries@gtaccountants.com and we will set up a group live webinar subject to demand.