#Coronavirus #Covid19 – trusted information

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NEW***NEW***NEW***NEW***NEW

Gareth Morgan has put online and free for use, his reckoners – that help people with benefit and grant claims – estimate what they’ll get

Ferret Reckoners

These reckoners, which are amongst those normally only supplied with Ferret’s calculation advice systems, are intended to help advisers with particular assessments which may fall outside our core systems. They are designed to help advisers.

For the duration of the Coronavirus 19 emergency, Ferret are making them freely available for use by advisers.

They are not definitive advice and advisers should make sure that they check and understand the results carefully. We cannot accept any liability for the use of the reckoners… You are using them at your own risk, and by using them accept those terms.

Gareth regrets that Ferret’s Helpline, which provides support for our systems and reckoners, will only be available to subscribers. Please notify any errors or suggestions to reckoner_support@ferret.co.uk

Ferret’s Self-employment IncomeSupport Scheme (SEISS) Reckoner This reckoner provides estimates of support for self-employed people during the covid-19 crisis
Minimum Income Floor reckoner If self-employed, there will be a minimum income floor (MIF) which the DWP use for Universal Credit, even if real earnings are lower. Estimate what this should be.
Home Equity under loans for mortgage interest
(from April 2018)
See how equity could vary in future as interest rates and home prices change
Self-employed Expenses Quickly estimate the monthly expenses for Universal Credit
Surplus Earnings for Universal Credit Estimate how earnings, which have stopped Universal Credit from payment, will reduce further claims within 6 months.
Particularly useful for weekly paid people who may see 5 paydays in one period stopping UC.
Self-employed Losses carry-forward Estimate how losses in previous Universal Credit periods are taken into account for later assessments
Emergency Tax for pensions How much initial tax is payable when taking lump sums from a pension
Pay Periods in Universal Credit The payments cycle in Universal Credit
State Pension Age Shows when State Pension Age is reached and when ‘Mixed Age Couple’ rules will apply
Combined Periods Pay & Rent Periods in UC
Better Off in Work – no UC A Better-Off Changing Work Reckoner for those not receiving UC
Better Off in Work with UC A Better-Off Changing Work Reckoner for those receiving UC

 

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed.

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222.

For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

The helpline number is 0800 024 1222 – and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.

QUICK LINKS

 


How this page works

There is plenty information on the web – most of it helpful. I’ve got no commercial interest in publishing this information but I do think it’s helpful to have a blog or a page to turn to when you want the bigger picture.

This blog/page will become my sourcebook for running my and my family’s response and the response of AgeWage. My basic advice is to use the Government’s page as the basis for your strategy, you need only look at the “generally published information” section, if you want a better grasp of why the Government is following the strategy it is.

The Government is being good at putting the information you need on the web.

I am using this page to build on what the Government has shared. We await links for help in sourcing financial assistance as part of the package of measures announced by the Chancellor yesterday.


Start at the Government landing page

This is the landing page for all information

I strongly recommend you go through everything here – below are my highlights (inexpertly linked – but they all work.


Places for you and your family

Check your symptoms 111.nhs.uk/Covid-19

Health guidance nhs.uk/coronavirus

Travel guidance gov.uk/coronavirustraveladvice

COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

Cruise ship travel

COVID guidance for mass gatherings

immigration guidance

Free childcare offers to continue during coronavirus closures


New information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

CIPP

 

The Government has published more details – for the latest – follow this link here

I’m grateful to the CIPP for this excellent summary, also to be found as a blog post

The anticipated guidance in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which will see employers reimbursed for 80% of employee salaries up to a cap of £2,500 per month and associated wage costs for furloughed workers, has been published.

There is information designed to assist employees and a separate guidance page for employers.

The advice given is that should employee and employer agree, a company may place the employee ‘on furlough’ where they’re unable to operate or have no work available due to coronavirus. The employer must write to the employee to state that they have been furloughed and should keep a copy of the correspondence.

Employees can receive 80% of their wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500 and they will continue to pay taxes in the usual manner. They will pay income tax, national insurance contributions and employee automatic enrolment contributions (on qualifying earnings), unless they have opted out of the scheme, or choose to stop contributing.

Employees must not complete any work for their employer in the period in which they are on furlough, so must not provide services or generate any revenue. If employees are still working, but on, for example, reduced hours, then their employer must continue to pay them accordingly and will not be able to claim this back through the CJRS. Employees are still able to complete volunteer work or training, but if they are, for example, completing an online training course, they must be paid at least the National Living Wage (NLW) or National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the hours that they spend doing so. The guidance confirms that as NMW / NLW is only applicable to the hour’s someone works, it does not apply to furloughed workers as they are not carrying out any work.

It is hoped that the scheme will be operative by the end of April, and the grant will start on the day a person is placed on furlough and can be backdated to 1 March 2020.

Any UK employers with a UK bank account can claim, but employees must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020. Employees can be on any of the following types of contract:

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Employees on agency contracts
  • Employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

This scheme is not applicable to the self-employed or to any income obtained through self-employment. There is a separate scheme that will be implemented for these individuals, as announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on 26 March 2020.

In circumstances where employees are on sick leave or self-isolating due to COVID-19, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable for that period, but they can be furloughed after this point. Individuals who are shielding in line with public health guidance should speak to their employer about whether they intend to place staff on furlough, but employers do have the option to place these people on furlough.

The expectation is that not many public sector organisations will utilise the scheme as most public sector workers will continue to provide essential services for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak. Employers in receipt of public funding for staff costs should continue to use that money to pay staff as usual, and there is no requirement to furlough them. The same applies to non-public sector employers receiving public funding for staff costs. Organisations accessing public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to COVID-19 are not expected to furlough staff.

For anybody made redundant after 28 February 2020, their employer can agree to re-employ them and instead place them on furlough.

Employees can be placed on furlough by one employer but continue to work for another. Those placed on furlough by more than one employer will receive separate payments from each employer.

For individuals earning less due to being on furlough, their Universal Credit payments might change to reflect this.

For women on Maternity Leave, those eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA), normal rules apply, and they will be entitled to 39 weeks of SMP or MA. For employers who provide more than the statutory rate of maternity pay, this falls within the wage costs that the employer can claim back through the scheme, and the same applies if individuals qualify for contractual adoption pay, paternity pay or shared parental pay. For those who are currently pregnant and due to start Maternity Leave, they should start their leave as normal. If someone’s earnings have reduced due to a period of furlough or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) prior to the commencement of Maternity Leave, they should be aware that this may affect their SMP.

Employees on unpaid leave cannot be furloughed, unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February 2020.

Claims can be for a minimum of three weeks and a maximum of three months, but this may be extended in dependent on how the situation relating to the outbreak of coronavirus evolves. Employers can choose to pay more than the grant but there is no requirement to do so.

Where individuals have been employed for a full year, their monthly earnings will be calculated based on the higher of either:

  • The amount earned in the same month the previous year
  • The average of the monthly earnings from the last year

For those in employment for less than a year, employers will claim the average of the monthly earnings they’ve received since they started work. This will also apply where monthly pay is variable, for example, for those on zero-hours contracts. For anybody who started work in February 2020, their employer will pro-rata their earnings from that month. Fees, commissions and bonuses should not be included.

Once the employee’s salary claim figure has been established, employers must calculate the amount of ER National Insurance (NI) contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions they can claim, as they will be reimbursed in addition to the 80% of the employee’s salary, or £2,500 per month. If employers decide to top up employee salaries, they cannot claim for the associated ER’s NI and automatic enrolment pension contributions through the scheme

The scheme is open to all UK employers who had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020, and they must have a UK bank account. Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:

  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)
  • Public authorities

If a company has been taken under the management of an administrator, that administrator will have access to the Job Retention Scheme.

In order to make a claim, employers will need:

  • Their ePAYE reference number
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • The claim period start and end date
  • The amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of three weeks)
  • Their bank account number and sort code
  • Their contact name
  • Their phone number

Claims can be backdated to 1 March 2020, where applicable. HMRC will pay the amounts via BACS to the designated employer bank account.

When the scheme ends, employers must decide whether employees can return to their duties, and if they can’t, redundancies may be considered.

Employees who have been furloughed retain the same employment rights, such as entitlement to SSP, maternity rights, other parental rights, redundancy payments and protection against unfair dismissal.

Payments received by businesses under the scheme must be included as income in the business’s calculation of its taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes, in accordance with normal principles. Businesses can deduct employment costs as usual when calculating taxable profits for those same purposes.

CIPP comment

The CIPP welcomes the guidance in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and thinks that the separation of the employee and employer guides will help both businesses and workers to understand how it will work.

Whilst the information provided will serve to answer many of the questions posed by our members, there are still many other points that require clarification, and the CIPP will endeavour to publish any further updates as soon as we are aware of them.

CIPP

 


Help for the self-employed

The Chancellor has announced new help for the self-employed; this is the CIPP’s summary with links to what Rishi Sunak said

Help for businesses.

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to
support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption
caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
● a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
● deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
● a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
● a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and
nursery businesses in England
● Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
● Nursery businesses that pay business rates
● Business that pay little or no business rates
● the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to
£5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
● Larger firms through the COVID-19 corporate financing facility
● the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to
access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those
employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.
How to access the scheme
You will need to:
● designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your
employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject
to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may
be subject to negotiation
● submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed
and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further
details on the information required)
HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500
per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.
Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.
If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

See above for the latest details


Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3
months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the
Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to
make a VAT payment during this period.

Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.

VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid  by the government as normal.


Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be
deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Eligibility

If you are self-employed you are eligible.
How to access the scheme
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who
are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax
liabilities.


Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to
employees

We will bring forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and
employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to
COVID-19.

The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
● this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has
been off work because of COVID-19
● employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an
employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of
28 February 2020
● employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has
claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of
COVID-19
● employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of
SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is
required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an
isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that
has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
● eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations
on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
● the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up
the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

Eligibility

You are eligible for the scheme if:
● your business is UK based
● your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250
employees as of 28 February 2020

How to access the scheme

A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course
once the legalisation has passed.


Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
that pay business rates

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
We will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure
businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be
rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:
● your business is based in England
● your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are
wholly or mainly being used:
● as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music
venues
● for assembly and leisure
● as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.
However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the
business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.
You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year
using the business rates calculator.
Further guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount
guidance.


Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail,
hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of under
£15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between
£15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the grant if:
● your business is based in England
● your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are
wholly or mainly being used:
● as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live
music venues
● for assembly and leisure
● as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are
eligible for this grant.
Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly. Any enquiries
on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the
relevant local authority.


Support for nursery businesses that pay business
rates

We will introduce a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to
2021 tax year.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:
● your business is based in England
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:
● occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
● wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.
However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to exclude the business rate
charge. They will do this as soon as possible.
You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year
using the business rates calculator.


 

Generally published information

Over the past few days, I have seen a few articles that have helped me to understand the Government’s strategy better and why we need to follow it.

The Imperial College Covid Response team have published this important information

Read Stuart Macdonald’s micro-blogs for up to data analysis  

For a demographic view, Isaac Chattiner is good

To understand Italy (which is said to be 3 weeks ahead of us – read this daily updated information


Can you help?

If you have really important information which you’d like me to add to any of these , please send it to henry@agewage.com.

My blogs are a personal response and may be of some help in building your resilience. Personally, I find consolation in Christ and I know many find consolation in other creeds.

These personal thoughts are also worth sharing, so if you have written or found a piece that  is useful , please send it the same address.

Finally, you may want to help with the construction of this Q&A sheet.