HMRC Covid-19 update 19.2.21
I’m writing to provide you with more information on the financial support schemes available to help you through the COVID-19 pandemic, including updates on deferring VAT and claiming for furloughed staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
- VAT deferral new payment scheme – join from 23 February
- January CJRS claims
- You can now make February CJRS claims
- Publishing information about your CJRS claims
- Frequently asked questions about the CJRS
- Where can I get further support?
- Protect yourself from scams
VAT deferral new payment scheme – join from 23 February
If you deferred paying VAT due in the period from 20 March to 30 June 2020, you should pay it by 31 March 2021 if you can.
If you can’t afford to pay by 31 March 2021, you can join the VAT deferral new payment scheme and pay your deferred VAT over a longer period.
The online service will open on 23 February 2021 and close on 21 June 2021. You can make up to 11 monthly instalments, interest free. The earlier you join, the more months you can spread your payments across.
You can join the scheme online without the need to call – search ‘Pay deferred VAT’ on GOV.UK for more information and to join quickly and simply online when the scheme opens.
If you need more time, please contact us – go to GOV.UK and search ‘if you cannot pay your tax bill on time’.
January CJRS claims
Thank you if you submitted your January claim by the deadline of 15 February.
If you didn’t, we may still accept it if you have a reasonable excuse for not claiming by the deadline, such as you were self-isolating (and no-one else could make the claim for you) or had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from completing it.
If your reason means you can apply to claim late, please do so as soon as you’re able to. For more information on reasonable excuses, go to GOV.UK and search ‘claim for wages’.
You can now make February CJRS claims
You can now submit your claims for periods in February. These must be made by Monday 15 March.
You can claim before, during or after you process your payroll. If you can, it’s best to make a claim once you’re sure of the exact number of hours your employees will work so you don’t have to amend your claim later.
Check if you and your employees are eligible and work out how much you can claim using our CJRS calculator and examples, by searching ‘Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV.UK.
What you need to do now
- If you haven’t submitted your claim for January but believe that you have a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline, check if you can make a late claim by searching ‘claim for wages’ on GOV.UK.
- Submit any claims for February no later than Monday 15 March.
- Keep records that support the amount of CJRS grants you claim, in case HMRC needs to check them.
Publishing information about your CJRS claims
We are now publishing a monthly list of employers who claimed under the CJRS for periods from December onwards on GOV.UK, as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims.
This will include (from 25 February) employer names, Company Registration Numbers (for those who have one) and banded amounts of how much the claim was for. This means your information may appear differently to the list of company names we published in January. We will not publish the exact amount of your claims, but rather the band within which your claims fall; for example £0-£10,000, £10,000-£25,000, or £25,000-£50,000. To find the full list of these bands, search ‘Employers who have claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV.UK. The details we publish will not include information about your employees.
If you think publishing these details would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to you or others, you can request that details of your claims are not published. More details are given in our frequently asked questions below.
Your employees will also be able to check if you have made a CJRS claim on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account (PTA) from 25 February. If they do not already have a PTA, they can set one up by going to GOV.UK and searching ‘Personal Tax Account: sign in or set up’. HMRC will not be able to provide any further details apart from those available in the PTA, so if your employees have any questions about the information shown in their PTA, they should speak to you as their employer in the first instance.
Frequently asked questions about the CJRS
You can find everything you need to know about the CJRS on GOV.UK by searching ‘Job Retention Scheme’, but here are some answers to the questions employers have been asking us recently.
Will information for each branch of my company be published separately?
If there is more than one PAYE scheme attached to your company, we will publish your information together under one Company Registration Number on GOV.UK.
How do I ask HMRC not to publish my claim details?
If publishing your claim details could leave someone at risk of violence or intimidation, you can request for these not to be published by completing the online application form – go to GOV.UK and search ‘Ask HMRC not to publish your Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim details’.
Please submit your request by 23 February at the latest to allow us time to process your request before the publication date. Your agent can do this on your behalf.
We will not publish your details until we have informed you of our decision on your request. You’ll only need to make this request once, as the decision will cover all CJRS claim periods starting from 1 December 2020.
What happens if I pay back my grants?
If you choose to pay back the money you have received, your details will be removed from the list of claims when it is next published (usually in the following month).
Can my employee work elsewhere if they’re furloughed?
If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Employees can be furloughed in one job (and receive that furloughed payment) but continue working for another employer and receive their normal wages.
An employee can also take part in volunteer work during hours when they are furloughed, as long as it’s for another employer or organisation which is not connected with you.
Can I claim for employees who are training?
You can claim for employees who undertake training while they are furloughed, as long as they don’t provide services to, or generate revenue for your business or a linked or associated organisation. For more information, go to GOV.UK and search ‘Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages’.
For more information on training that is available for your employees, search ‘Career Skills and Training’ on GOV.UK.
Can I furlough an employee if they are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities or are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable?
If an employee asks to be furloughed, you can claim for them under the CJRS if:
- they are off work or on reduced hours due to caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school or childcare closing
- they are clinically extremely vulnerable, or in the highest risk group for severe illness from coronavirus according to the public health guidance for your area.
For other circumstances where you can furlough an employee, go to GOV.UK and search ‘check which employees you can put on furlough’.
The decision to offer furlough rests with you as an employer.
Where can I get further support?
Thousands of people have benefitted from our webinars which offer support on the CJRS, and how it applies to you. To book online, or to view updated guidance, go to GOV.UK and search ‘help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus’. If you’re booked on a webinar but can no longer attend, please cancel your place where possible to allow space for others to register.
There’s a list of monthly claims deadlines and a helpful step-by-step guide on GOV.UK, summarising the latest information on the CJRS and the steps you need to take to make a claim – you can find these by searching ‘Job Retention Scheme step by step guide’.
Our phone lines and webchat remain very busy, so the quickest way to find the support you need is on GOV.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most.
Protect yourself from scams
Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic. Search ‘scams’ on GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599.
Access the National Cyber Security Centre’s guide on how to stay secure online and protect yourself and your business against cyber crime by searching ‘Cyber Aware’ on GOV.UK.
I hope this information helps you and your business, and we’ll continue to keep you updated.