Additional COVID-19 financial support announced – what you need to know
Today, as part of the Budget, the UK Government has announced further support for you and your employees.
Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of September 2021.
The UK Government will continue to pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, up to the end of June 2021.
For periods in July, CJRS grants will cover 70% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,187.50. In August and September, this will then reduce to 60% of employees’ usual wages up to a cap of £1,875.
You will need to continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work during this time, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This means, for periods between July and September, you will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grants yourself. You can also top up wages above the 80% if you wish, but you are not required to do so.
You must continue to pay the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions on subsidised furlough pay from your own funds.
CJRS eligibility from May
For periods from 1 May 2021 onwards, you will be able to claim for eligible employees who were employed by you and on your PAYE payroll on 2 March 2021. This means you must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying us of earnings for that employee.
You and your employees do not need to have benefitted from the scheme before to make a claim, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
For more information on the extension to the scheme and the support available, search 'Job Retention Scheme' on GOV.UK.
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 worked 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 of 15 February, 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 need to check them.
If you deferred VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you should pay by 31 March 2021 if you can.
If you cannot afford to pay by 31 March this year, you can now use the online VAT deferral new payment scheme to spread your payment.
The new scheme lets you pay your deferred VAT in equal monthly instalments, interest free. You can spread your payments across a number of months depending on when you join – the earlier you join, the more months you have to spread your payments across.
11 instalments if you join by 19 March
10 instalments if you join by 21 April
9 instalments if you join by 19 May
8 instalments if you join by 21 June.
You can join the scheme quickly and simply online without the need to call HMRC. To find out more information, including the things you need to do before joining, go to GOV.UK and search 'VAT deferred'.
The online service will close on 21 June 2021 – if you want to join the scheme online, you must do so before this date.
If you’re on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, you’ll be able to join the new payment scheme later in March. We will share more information on this shortly.
If you have a Time to Pay arrangement already in place for your deferred VAT, you cannot use the online scheme. If you need to amend your Time to Pay arrangement, contact HMRC to do this.
Where can I get further support?
Thousands of people have benefitted from our webinars which offer information on the CJRS and other support, and how they apply 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.
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
As part of the Budget, the Chancellor today announced a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to tackle the minority who deliberately claim money they’re not entitled to. If you suspect fraud, please report it using our online form. Go to GOV.UK and search 'Report fraud to HMRC' for more information.
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.
Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary – HMRC