As we try and get back some normality in our lives, and places start to open back up for business. We still need to remember that the fight is not over and need to abide by the rules set in place. Well done to all pushing through and staying motivated. Throughout lockdown we have updated you with what the government have announced and plan to do. There have been a lot of information announced, you can find all the latest below.

 

How has the Furlough scheme changed?


One of the many questions we get asked is, how has the furlough scheme changed? The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, furlough as its more commonly called is designed to help people who could not do their jobs because of the virus and prevent mass redundancies.

 

The scheme is to close in October and has had some criticism with the decision to close, but it has been backed by the Bank of England boss, which says workers should be helped to ''move forward'' and not kept in unproductive jobs.

 

From 01 August 2020 the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will now have to pay employers National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and pension contributions. You can bring back employees to work shifts and then put back on furlough if needed. Remember any hours worked, the employee is entitled to 100% of their wage and this needs to come directly from the employer.

 

From 01 September 2020 the government will contribute 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will again pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and pension contributions just like for August. However, now employers will have to pay 10% of wages to make up the 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. Part time furlough is still available, but any hours worked by staff, employers will have to pay 100% of wage.

 

From 01 October 2020, 60% of wages will be contributed by the government up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay employer NICs and pension contributions and top up 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500 until when the scheme ends at the end of the month.

 

The aim of the tapering is to allow employers to ease employees back in to work at the same time as businesses productivity hopefully resumes.

 

How does the part time furlough work?

 

The part time furlough is designed to give you the chance to call an employee back in to work if there is a lot of work or put them back on furlough if the workload drops off. So, how does it work?

 

If you have a member of staff who works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and your business is closed, you can furlough the member of staff and the government will cover a percentage of the wage, depending on the situation as mentioned above. If you want to trial opening your business for a couple of days a week, and you need the member of staff for 3 days a week, you will be liable to pay 100% of the wage for the 3 days worked, and the government will pay the percentage equivalent for the remaining 2 days not worked and on furlough. The rules mentioned above applies, regarding the percentage amount and NIC’s being paid by yourself.

 

The government has allowed the part time furlough to relieve some of the financial strain of keeping staff and prevent mass redundancies. For each furloughed member of staff still employed as of 31 January 2021, the government will give the employer a one-off £1,000 bonus

 

Kickstart Scheme

 

The chancellor also announced a new Kickstart Scheme worth to be in the region of £2 billion. The plan is to be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people. If you claim Universal Credit and are aged between 16-24 and at risk of long-term unemployment will be eligible. Funding will be available for each six-month job placement and will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week. Employers will be able to top this wage up if they please.

 

How to apply for this, still has not been fully revealed by the government. As it gets closer to the scheme being live, more information will be revealed and as always, as soon as we know, we will pass the information to you.

 

Help Out Eat Out


A little more positive news from the hospitality sector is for the month of August you can get 50% off your bill in participating restaurants with the other half covered by the government. This is capped at £10 per diner and excludes alcohol and is only valid for Monday – Wednesdays in August and can be used as many times as you like. The offer is for dine in only as the government encourages people to go out. To check which restaurants are participating click here and enter your post code to see who around you are participating.

 

Remember to support your independently owned food venues during these tough times and remember to practice social distancing. Stay motivated and stay safe as together we can end 2020 on a positive bang!

We have all been paying closer attention to the news in recent times. It does look like better days are to come, with restaurants and bars been given the green light to open. While we all are excited and wanting to enjoy ourselves, please remember to social distance as this is still very vital to our fight against this virus.

 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has pledged great support during these tough times and has again set the foundation for all of us to come out of this. It will be no easy job, but together we can do this. Supporting small businesses is vital.

 

The Chancellor mentioned a few things in his speech, while some of his policies apply to Wales, others do not as they are the responsibility of the Welsh Government. We digest the main points here.

 

Job Retention Bonus

 

The furlough scheme will be ending in Wales at the end of October. We are more reliant on the job retention scheme here in Wales than any other part of the UK. There are about 300,000 people on the furlough scheme. The Welsh Government has said that it does not have the "financial fire power" to be able to continue the scheme itself.

 

The Chancellor said he would be introducing a new scheme called the Jobs Retention Bonus. Under the new scheme, firms will be paid £1,000 for each employee they bring back from furlough and continuously employ through to January 2021 on an average of at least £520 a month.

 

            Eating Out Discount

 

The Chancellor has said there will be a 50% discount on food if people eat out in August on Mondays to Wednesdays. This is to try and get people using restaurants.

 

This will entitle every diner to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub, or other eligible food venue. There is not a limit to the amount of times the discount can be used and will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal (including on non-alcoholic drinks) for all of August. Participating establishments will be fully reimbursed for the 50% discount.

 

Temporary VAT Cut

 

If you supply food and non-alcoholic beverages for consumption on your premises, for example, a restaurant, café or pub, you’re currently required to charge VAT at the standard rate of 20%. However, when you make these supplies between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 you will only need to charge 5%

It will apply to supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions as well. This will include takeaways, restaurants, cinemas and theme parks.

 

These are all in the pilot stages, and more information is to be released in the days to come. As soon as we know, we will also share the information with you. If there is something you want to know more about, you can call us on 02920 653995 to discuss. The introduction of these will mean we have a better chance to finish 2020 on a high.

Here is a reminder of the thresholds for the current tax year (6th April 2020 - 5th April 2021)

Personal Allowance

You do not have to pay any tax on income up to the amount of £12,500.

Band

Taxable income

Tax rate

Personal Allowance

Up to £12,500

0%

Basic rate

£12,501 to £50,000

20%

Higher rate

£50,001 to £150,000

40%

Additional rate

over £150,000

45%



National Minimum Wage

It is against the law to pay under the national minimum wage.

Year

25 and over

21 to 24

18 to 20

Under 18

Apprentice

April 2020 (current rate)

£8.72

£8.20

£6.45

£4.55

£4.15

April 2019 to March 2020

£8.21

£7.70

£6.15

£4.35

£3.90



Dividend Allowance

The dividend allowance for this current year is £2,000

Tax band

Tax rate on dividends over the allowance

Basic rate

7.5%

Higher rate

32.5%

Additional rate

38.1%


There are many more rates and threshold that will be of value when it comes to your tax affairs, we have highlighted the most frequent rates.

We’ve all heard of IR35, but do you know the rule changes that are being introduced? IR35 also known as the ‘off-payroll’ working rules and will kick in if a worker provides their services through an intermediary.  It’s been in the news for some time now affecting a lot of News and TV presenters and has been making big headlines.   From April 2020 this will now be affecting the private sector from any industry where they are working either through a limited company or as a sole trader but the relationship between themselves and the client could constitute an employer/employee relationship.

An intermediary will usually be the worker’s own personal service company, such as a limited company. They could also be a partnership, a managed service company, or an individual who is on self-assessment.

The rules make sure that workers, who would have been an employee if they were providing their services directly to the client, pay broadly the same tax and National Insurance contributions as employees.

 

The rules apply if a worker provides their services to a client through an intermediary but would be classed as an employee if they were contracted directly.

 

So, who decides?

 

If you’re a worker and your client is in the public sector like a school or library, it’s their responsibility to decide your employment status. You should be told of their decision; we’ve seen a large number of the larger companies starting to make changes to their arrangements with their subcontractors in preparation for this event.     This will affect everyone, including people who employ a Cleaner, a subcontractor in the building industry.   IR35 supersedes the CIS scheme i.e. its take priority over the CIS scheme above everything.

 

If you are a worker and your client is in the private sector, it’s your intermediary’s responsibility to decide your own employment status for each contract. The private sector includes third sector organisations, such as some charities.


HMRC do have a calculator on their website to help you see for yourself whether you would have to comply with the rules.

 

There are tests that are run to decide this for you.

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax

 

Some of the tests are as follows

 

Who has the control, can you say no to projects or specific pieces of work, or are you required to take whatever work is given to you.


Do you use your own tools at work?


Do you have public liability insurance and employers liability insurance?

 

Can you send in a substitute for yourself?   Not a main point but it does get weighted on any HMRC decision.

 

The difference on what this will mean for you, is that you will no longer be able to claim the travel expenses you would have been able to claim before regardless of the distance you are travelling to work, plus you will pay the higher national insurance which currently is 12% for employees and 13.8% for  employers.   You effectively could pay out both rates, not just the one.

HMRC do not care if you have given up your employment rights, i.e. holiday pay and sick pay.    We are expecting them to spot check individuals at any point during 2020.

The costs to the private sector will be very high, we haven’t seen the updated budget expected to be out in March 2020.  But are expecting with all the news coverage and the actions the larger companies are planning, everyone could be affected imminently.

If you are facing this problem with your own subcontractors, please get in touch with us, we have a risk assessment template for our clients that they can use.   If you are a subcontractor yourself, it is worth getting in touch with your contractor to find out their plans for the system.   

A lot of these companies are planning on putting everyone on PAYE whether you receive the employment rights that go with that change, we are still waiting to see.

2019 has not been the easiest of years for many of our clients, the lengthy political and economic uncertainty is making the general public think a lot more about spending their hard-earned money.  Small businesses are having to renegotiate with their suppliers and look at all their costs to ride the storm we find ourselves in at the moment.

 

Not ones to sit down and wait for things to happen, this blog is about refinancing. 2019 may not have been the best year, but let’s not sit and see if 2020 will be better. Now is the time to review your finances. Autumn is a great time of year to look at this, you’re halfway through the financial year, summer is over, and Christmas is around the corner, the end of the year will be here before you know it.


So, what is refinancing?


Refinancing is the process of replacing an existing loan with a new loan. Typically, people refinance so they can get a better deal on their current loan. For example, you may be able to get a better interest rate than what you are on currently, saving you money. Refinancing also depends on your credit score, current deal and many other factors.

 

You may also have some assets in your business currently tying up cash and want to get a loan to put more liquid cash into the business, to allow you to put some plans for 2020 into practise right now.


Why refinance?


If you have a loan or a mortgage, it is worth speaking to the provider for refinancing. Some potential advantage of refinancing includes:

  • Lowering your monthly payments. You can then put to use your extra saving to pay off other debts or towards your saving goals.
  • You can combine your debts into one with some refinancing options. This is good so you know exactly when payments need to be made.
  • Usually able to negotiate lower interest rates.
  • Cashflow is tight but you have some assets that can assist you gain some cash to put back into the business.

Studies have shown that trying to negotiate a better refinancing deal tends to save people money and a lot of stress. Some questions to ask yourself is if you are paying too much monthly on any equipment that you could possibly lower or if you are too dependent on your bank overdraft as it is one of the most expensive bowing methods. Knowing where all your finances lay can help you budget and with the extra cash you can invest in yourself or your business.

 

Mortgages are the cheapest form of loans, credit cards tend to be the most expensive. It may be a time to sit down with your bank manager or even your accountant and look at the best ways of saving yourself some interest along the way.


Typically, business owners who plan ahead with their finances and put plans together not only achieve their plans, but tend to be charged less by the banks for the privilege of lending money from them.

 

So what are you doing, get planning 2020 is going to be an amazing year, let it be a good one for you.