Weekly tax brief | 18 August 2020

Is HMRC short-sighted in restoring Crown preference at a time when many SMEs and their lenders are already struggling?
Tyrone Courtman
From 1 December 2020, arrears of Crown debts (unpaid VAT, PAYE, employee National Insurance Contributions and CIS deductions) will obtain secondary preferential status. This means they will rank ahead of some debts secured by lenders, reducing cashflow for businesses and increasing personal exposure for guarantors. 

Could employees committing furlough fraud top six million?
Susan Ball
With many companies now using flexi-furlough, an increase in calls to the whistleblowing helpline is expected, as there are significant consequences for getting it wrong.

How to turn the SDLT holiday into a permanent income tax break
Chris Etherington
The Chancellor’s SDLT break has led to record highs in the number of property transactions, with many seeking to benefit from the reduced rates available. Whilst the ‘SDLT holiday’ offers the opportunity to acquire a new property with lower costs, it can also provide married couples and civil partners with a permanent income tax break.

Action required by 29 August to benefit from VAT rate cut
Richard Holm
Organisations trying to maximise the benefit of the reduced rate of VAT by applying it to payments received in advance of the rate change must act before the end of August.

Last chance to make a SEISS claim
Gary Haynes
The Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) aims to help those who are adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis and cannot run their business or earn as normal. It is significantly different to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which operates for employed individuals. Those who want to make a claim should not delay.