Business Tax Briefing

A weekly round-up of corporate, employment and indirect tax news  


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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: updated guidance

HMRC have updated their guidance on the  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)  to confirm that each month, after the deadline for making amendments to claims, an indication of the value of an employer's claim within the banded ranges set out will be published, together with the employer’s name and the Companies House number, where applicable.

The following CJRS guidance  has also been updated to take account of the fact that the 30 November claim deadline for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020 has now passed:

Check if your employer can use the CJRS 

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the CJRS

Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the CJRS 

Reporting employees' wages to HMRC when you've claimed through the CJRS

Other types of employees you can claim for

Calculate how much you can claim using the CJRS

Find examples to help you calculate your employees' wages

Claim for wages through the CJRS

Steps to take before calculating your claim using the CJRS 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: online service for third grant is now available

HMRC have updated their guidance on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to reflect that the online service for the third SEISS grant is now available. A further update confirms that applicants who have already established parental leave entitlement need not do so again.

HMRC as a preferential creditor: policy paper

HMRC have published a policy paper on HMRC as a preferential creditor. The paper covers recent changes to give preference to certain debts due to HMRC in the event of insolvency. Regulations were made in September 2020 amending the Insolvency Act 1986 so as to make HMRC a secondary preferential creditor for certain balances (VAT, PAYE income tax, employee NICs, students loan repayments, construction industry scheme deductions) in insolvencies commencing on or after 1 December 2020.

Use of marketed avoidance schemes: HMRC report, HMRC/ASA action

HMRC have published a report which sets out the numbers and characteristics of taxpayers using avoidance schemes in 2018 to 2019. It covers the types of schemes most used, occupations, locations and the average declared income of those involved. The report accompanies the announcement of a new action by HMRC and the Advertising Standards Authority aimed at reducing misleading marketing by promoters of tax avoidance schemes. A new joint enforcement notice requires promoters to be clear about the potential consequences of tax avoidance in any online advertisements. Immediate sanctions include having their paid advertising removed from search engines and follow-up compliance action, which can include referral to Trading Standards. HMRC have also launched a new media campaign aimed at educating the public, and in particular contractors, on the dangers of mass-marketed tax avoidance schemes. The main webpage Tax avoidance – don’t get caught out covers warning signs to look out for, and includes a number of case studies. Mary Aiston, Director Counter Avoidance, HMRC, has written to Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Meg Hillier MP with an update on HMRC’s activities to tackle mass-marketed tax avoidance.

Loan Charge review: HMRC report on implementation; interest review

HMRC have published their report on the implementation of the disguised remuneration loan charge review. This fulfils one of the recommendations in the review conducted by Sir Amyas Morse, who was asked to consider whether the loan charge policy was an appropriate response to the tax avoidance behaviour in question, and related issues. Suggestions for the future include doing more to counter disguised remuneration schemes and scheme promoters early and better communication with taxpayers.

Also arising from the loan charge review, the government conducted a review of policy on interest rates within the tax system, and has now published its conclusions. Suggestions include reconsidering the automatic link with the Bank of England base rate if the rate rises above 3%, and possibly giving HMRC greater discretion on the application of interest in exceptional circumstances.  

Virtual Christmas parties

HMRC have confirmed that the exemption from a taxable benefit arising when an employer provides an annual party (e.g. a Christmas party) to its employees will apply to the costs associated with virtual parties in the same way that it would for traditionally held parties. This is subject to the usual conditions being met, including making the party available to employees generally, and keeping the average cost below £150 per head. HMRC have updated their manual accordingly.

Dbriefs webcasts

The next Dbriefs webcast is on Tuesday 8 December 2020 at 12:00 GMT/13:00 CET. The title is SAP S/4HANA®: SAP Advanced Compliance And Reporting from our SAP S/4HANA series, hosted by Per Evers, with guest speaker Dr. Andreas Lindenblatt from SAP. The panel will discuss SAP Advanced Compliance and Reporting, including a look at key characteristics and functionality.

There is another Dbriefs webcast from our Global Mobility and Employment Taxes series on Thursday 10 December, at 13:00 GMT/14:00 CET entitled On The Remuneration Committee Agenda – Year End Decisions And Looking Ahead, hosted by Mitul Shah. Our panel will discuss what remuneration committees and HR teams should be considering now for 2020 year end decisions.

End of Transition Period: HMRC guidance

With only a few weeks to go to the end of the Transition Period, volumes of new and updated guidance are being released by HMRC. Links to some of this can be accessed through two new Brexit transition communications resources relating to imports and exports. Amongst the new developments, VAT-registered business trading in Northern Ireland (NI) or between NI and the EU have been advised to contact HMRC via a form on the Government Gateway, so that they can continue to account for VAT on acquisitions and dispatches. This is in addition to the Trader Support Service (which over 7,000 businesses have signed up for) which will assist businesses moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol. (Contact: Andrew Clarke).

SI 2020/1412: duty-free post-Transition Period

In line with HM Treasury’s announcement in September, SI 2020/1412 will come into effect at the end of the Transition Period and will extend the rules on sales of duty-free excise goods to travellers departing GB for the EU as well as the rest of the world. The allowances for duty-free alcohol have been increased, and a new simplified method of calculating the excise duty has been introduced. Despite reports of a possible legal challenge by the sector, the SI will also withdraw the VAT Retail Export Scheme. A Tax Information and Impact Note estimates that the additional VAT from cancelling VAT-free shopping will be almost double the cost of extending duty-free to passengers bound for the EU. 

COVID-19: help and information

To help inform our clients and to enable them to understand how businesses can respond, recover and thrive in these times we are running a series of webinars focused on the economy, on particular sectors and on key roles within an organisation. You can register for future webcasts and view archived webcasts here. You can access more information here and also at our Deloitte global COVID-19 webpage. You can also sign up to our Deloitte Tax Atlas COVID-19 Tax and Fiscal Measures microsite, which provides a high-level summary of tax and fiscal coronavirus measures that have been announced by governments, and our COVID-19 Signal Topic email alerts, here.