Summary of HMRC Bulletin for October 2020

30 October 2020

HMRC has recently released its latest bulletin of updates for employers. There have been some further significant changes in relation to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) as well as other key areas.

The full bulletin can provide more detail however we have summarised a number of the key points below.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - The CJRS scheme closes 31 October 2020 and the final claim must be made by 30 November 2020. Any claims after this date will not be processed. From the 1 October 2020 the Furlough will be 60 per cent of employee’s wages whilst the employer must make this up to the 80 per cent as well as cover employees National Insurance and Pension contributions. This will also be a good time to check that you have made your furlough claims correctly.

Job Retention Bonus - This scheme allows employers to claim £1000 for every employee who has been furloughed using the CJRS. The bonus will be open to be claimed between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. To be eligible the employee must earn at least £1560 between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021 and have earnings in November, December and January tax months. Employees must also not be serving notice on 31 January 2021.

Job Support Scheme (JSS) - The Job Support Scheme was updated on 22 October and more detail is to be announced by 31 October. The 22 October changes are targeted as additional support for employers whose businesses are open but are experiencing considerable difficulty, including those under Tier 2 restrictions.

The Job Support Scheme now has two parts; Job Support Scheme Open (JSS Open) and Job Support Scheme Closed (JSS Closed). Businesses that are operating but facing decreased demand can get support for wages through JSS Open. Those businesses that are legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK can get the support they need through JSS Closed. 

Coronavirus and working from home - If employers have asked their employees to work from home the employees may have additional expenses they can claim for. Employers may pay these expenses back however if they cannot the employee is entitled to claim tax relief of £26 per month to help with these extra costs.

IR35 - A reminder had been provided that as of April 2021 the changes of off payroll working will be in effect. HMRC have released more support and detail on how to prepare for the changes including the use of the Check Employment Status Tool (CEST), Employment Status Manual (ESM) and general advice on the gov.uk website.

Student and Postgraduate Loans - HMRC have reminded that employers should include Student and Post- Graduate loan information on the new starter checklist to ensure loans are deducted correctly immediately. HMRC also confirm that they will write to employers if a refund is required through payroll for any incorrect loans within the current tax year. Any repayments for previous tax years will work in a new way due to coronavirus. These repayments will now be taken via electronic payment rather than a payable order.

The full bulletin can be found here and is very useful for employers to find more detail on the above and other important updates. For many employers being informed on items such as the above could assist on navigating the current difficulties being faced as a result of coronavirus. If you have any questions or concerns about the above, please contact Simon Balaam.