Our guest blogger is Steve Oakes, Business Development Manager at Peninsula. you can contact Steve by e-mail at Steve.Oakes@peninsula-uk.com or by phone at 07814 585 089. Here Steve answers questions on the Flexible Furlough scheme.
The government’s new flexible furlough scheme launches on the 1st of July, giving your clients the chance to bring staff back part-time and still claim grants to cover some of their wages.
While it’s great that you can access funding as your clients get back to work, the new rules do make furlough more complicated.
I thought you and your clients would be interested in the details of the scheme.
Who can go on flexible furlough?
Only employees that you’ve successfully claimed previous grants for are eligible for the scheme.
This means your employee must have been on furlough for at least three consecutive weeks at any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020.
How do I put someone on flexible furlough?
First have a discussion with the employees who you wish to place on flexible furlough and agree the arrangements of their part-time work.
Then you’ll need to confirm your new agreement in writing and keep a written record for five years.
You don’t need to place all your employees on flexible furlough, and you can continue to fully furlough employees if you wish provided you have successfully claimed a grant for them previously.
How long must flexible furlough last?
Flexible furlough agreements can cover any amount of time, but the minimum period that you can claim for is seven calendar days.
Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once, so you have the option to change working hours as lockdown eases.
How much can I claim?
You’ll need to pay your employee in full for the hours they work, plus 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 each month.
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.
From August, you will also be responsible for employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions for the furloughed hours. The amount that the scheme will cover will then start to drop from September 2020.
When claiming for employees who are on flexible furlough, you should not claim until you are sure of the exact hours they will have worked 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 back some of the grant.
What records should I keep?
You’ll need to keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are on 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.
How do I calculate working hours?
To calculate the working hours for someone on flexible furlough, you’ll need to know:
- Your employee’s usual hours.
- The actual hours they work during flexible furlough.
- And the number of hours spent on furlough.
How you calculate your employees’ usual working hours will depend on their contracts.
If they work fixed times each week, then you need to use 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 average hours worked in the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020.
If you want a meeting to discuss HR concerns or safety requirements to make sure they are Covid secure please contact Steve Oakes, Business Development Manager at Peninsula
Tel; 07814 585 089
Views expressed by Leeanne are Go Simple Tax’s not OETs
Our guest blogger is Leeanne Ogden of GoSimpleTax. GoSimpleTax can help local companies and can be contacted on 0161 413 5060 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Needs A UTR Number Anyway?
A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is required by all sole traders, partnerships and limited companies in the UK. It’s unique to that individual or organisation and remains unchanged forever.
You will also need a UTR if you have other forms of income or expenses that require you to file a Self Assessment tax return.
If you don’t have a UTR, you won’t be able to submit a Self Assessment tax return, therefore running the risk of upsetting HMRC. Plus, you may open yourself up to heavy penalties.
So, to help reiterate the importance of UTR numbers and how to correctly acquire your own, we’ve asked Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax to shed some light on their role in tax return submissions.
What is a UTR?
A UTR helps HMRC identify and process tax returns against the correct taxpayer’s records.
If you have income outside of PAYE or own a business and don’t act compliantly when it comes to your Self Assessment tax return, you could face criminal prosecution.
Who uses them?
Any individual with self-employed income or income from rental property probably forms the biggest group that will need a UTR.
These individuals will need to perform a Self Assessment tax return. For other taxpayers, it may also be relevant when registering for the Construction Industry Scheme or working with an accountant.
How can I get one?
As you won’t receive a UTR number unless you’re registered as either self-employed or a new business, you’ll need to do so on HMRC’s website. Alternatively, you can call them on 0300 200 3310. There is no cost to doing either.
Be careful if you have already started trading. HMRC expects you to register within at least three months of the end of your first month in business. They will consider strict penalties if you fail to do so.
To avoid such fines, register as soon as you can with all the below information to hand:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Home address
- Phone number
- National Insurance number
- The date you started self-employment
Double-check that you have fully completed the process if you’re still waiting on your UTR following registration.
What if I’m already registered?
You should already have a UTR code somewhere. If you’ve misplaced it, start by checking any correspondence that you may have received from HMRC. All previous tax returns will reference it, along with any notices you may have had to file a return, payment reminders or statements of account.
In addition, your HMRC online account will also display the code, provided you can access it. If none of these options prove fruitful, contact the Self Assessment helpline.
Getting your UTR is the easy part. What trips up most UK taxpayers is submitting the Self Assessment tax return itself. With GoSimpleTax software, however, users are able to avoid leaving submissions to the last minute with an up-to-date overview that can be checked throughout the year.
Filing has never been easier thanks to features that allow you to take a picture of expenditure and upload it to your records, as well as log all forms of income. With the documentation you need in one place and learning resources to help minimise your tax liability further, all that’s left for you to do is press submit.
Readers, get your free trial, no credit card required here.
Late Filing of your Self-Assessment Tax Return?
The 31st January 2020 deadline has been and gone and you have not yet filed your tax return. Time got away from you or maybe you did not realise that you needed to complete one until now? Whatever the reason you need to be aware of the following;
Penalties are highly likely at this stage and it is recommended you file your return as soon as you can.
You will receive a penalty of £100 if your tax return is up to 3 months late. You will have to pay more if it is later, or if you pay your tax bill late! You’ll be charged interest on late payments.
If you are completing a partnership tax return and this is late all partners can be charged a penalty.
I think I have a genuine reason for filing late?
There may a very good reason that you have not yet filed your return, unfortunately HMRC will not accept an excuse such as ‘my dog ate it’ which happens to be one of the top excuses they have received over the years
They will however, accept reasons such as; you may have had an unexpected stay in hospital or you had a serious or life-threatening illness. HMRC have compiled a list of reasonable excuses and you should notify them as soon as you can. It would be worth having proof to hand when contacting them and to also demonstrate to them that you are doing all you can to now file your return.
I have filed, but I cannot pay
Ok, so now you filed your return you will be left with a bill to pay which also should have been paid by 31st January. Should you not be able to meet the payment for your tax bill contact HMRC at your earliest opportunity.
It may be that you can schedule a payment plan to pay in instalments.
Think ahead for Making Tax Digital
With MTD over the horizon begin converting to a software such as GoSimpleTax and utilising their income tax calculator and submission tool for your business will help you file on time next year. Giving you full visibility of your tax liability in real time whilst giving and reviewing your pension contributions and investment opportunities.
GoSimpleTax supports the self-employed and sole traders all over the UK to file accurate Self Assessment tax returns. You’ll be able to do so quickly as well – their software automatically calculates income, expenditure and tax owed in real time, and from a variety of devices.
Views expressed by Leeanne are Go Simple Tax’s not OETs
Our first guest blogger is Steve Oakes of Peninsula. Steve has a wealth of experience helping local companies and can be contacted on 07814 585089 or Steve.email@example.com
I hope you are well and business is good for you?
I like to send you interesting articles that we send out to our clients that I feel would be of interest to you also.
Please remember I’m here to support clients through any staffing or safety concern FREE of charge.
Every April, the government releases a raft of updates to various laws, and this year is no exception.
There’s the familiar increase to the minimum wage, but also a new law related to the gender pay gap and a big change to data protection law.
So let’s take a look at the changes that may affect you…
- Minimum wages rise again
Hot on the heels of the government releasing its name-and-shame list of companies who underpay their staff, minimum wages rose again on 1st April.
National Living Wage—the rate that applies to workers aged 25 and over—rose by 4.4% up to £7.83 per hour.
All rates of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) also increased:
- Workers aged 21 – 24: from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour
- Workers aged 18 – 20: from £5.60 to £5.90 per hour
- Workers over compulsory school age but not yet 18: from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour
- Apprentice rate: from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour
- Auto-enrolment contributions go up too
You’ll now have to contribute at least 2% to your employees’ pension scheme (up from 1%), while employees themselves must contribute a minimum of 3% (also up from 1%). These changes come into effect from 6th April.
Just as with the minimum wage, failure to follow the law could mean a hefty fine and the embarrassment of being on a public name-and-shame list.
- Time’s up for gender pay gap reports
If you employ more than 250 people, the law now requires you to publish data on the difference between the amount you pay male and female employees.
You must submit your figures to the Government Equalities Office by 4th April 2018.
The next ‘snapshot date’ for private companies to collect pay data is 5th April 2018. You’ll then need to put together a report based on this data and publish it by 4th April 2019.
As this quote from the chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission shows, you shouldn’t be taking this issue lightly:
“Let me be very, very clear: failing to report is breaking the law…We have the powers to enforce against companies who are in breach of these regulations. We take this enormously seriously. We have been very clear that we will be coming after 100% of companies that do not comply.”
Specifically, companies could face a summary conviction, an unlimited fine and be forced to publish the data under a court order.
- Changes to the taxation of termination payments
From 6th April 2018, HMRC will treat all payment in lieu of notice (PILON) that you make to your employees as earnings, and subject to tax and NI deductions.
This is regardless of whether PILON is a clause in your employees’ contracts or you decide to offer it on a case-by-case basis.
- Losing a tribunal case gets more expensive
It’s not been a good 12 months for employers who face a tribunal case.
Last July, the Supreme Court banned tribunal fees, removing a barrier for employees who were thinking of making a claim but couldn’t afford it. In fact, there was a 90% increase in tribunal claims in the period October-December 2017 compared to the previous year.
And now the maximum award for an unfair dismissal is increasing again. From 6th April, the maximum award for unfair dismissal will reach £98,922—that’s no joke for a small business.
- GDPR – a massive change to data protection law
GDPR is a new data protection law that’s coming into force on 25th May across the whole of the EU. That includes the UK—Brexit or not.
It changes everything about how you store and use the data of your customers, your staff and even job applicants.
We can’t stress enough how important it is that you review your policies to make sure you have a legitimate reason for collecting and processing data.
How certain can you be that all your legal obligations are met?
Peninsula can come in and give your business a once-over completely free of charge. There’s no obligation to use their services and no pressure. Guaranteed.
The local consultant is Steve Oakes, Steve has a wealth of experience helping local companies and can be contacted on 07814 585089 or Steve.firstname.lastname@example.org
Peninsula are one of the UK’s most trusted HR, employment law and health & safety consultancy firms.
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