Coronavirus/COVID-19: Update 3 July 2020

Information correct as of 3 July 2020

We are now in month four of the COVID-19 crisis and have been providing  regular updates since 17 March.  We hope you have found these useful and our plans are to continue to provide you with key information as and when it happens.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) 
Since 1 July, which was day one of the second phase of the CJRS, HMRC have been continuing to update their guidance in relation to the scheme. We have outlined below some of the areas that have been updated.  Although of great benefit to many businesses, the scheme is complicated and we are happy for you to call us if you need further clarification.

Holiday Pay: There is no change to the previous guidance that employees may take holiday during furlough.

However, any hours taken as holiday during a flexi-furlough claim period should be counted as furloughed hours rather than working hours.

In addition, the new guidance says that employees should not be placed on furlough for a period simply because they are on holiday for that period. For example, an employer cannot deliberately move an employee whose furlough period had finished back into the furlough scheme, because they have booked a holiday. If you have a furloughed employee taking holiday, the you must pay their usual holiday pay in accordance with the Working Time Regulations and not claim it as furlough.

Making an error when claiming: If an employer makes an error in a claim that has resulted in an overclaimed amount, this must be paid back to HMRC.

There is now the ability to delete a claim, as long as it is within 72 hours of submitting it, via the online claim service. If your claim has been submitted for a period of longer than 72 hours you should follow the overclaim or underclaim process outlined below.

If you have made an error and overclaimed but do not plan to submit further claims, you should contact HMRC to inform them of the error, and discuss how to pay back any overclaimed amounts. HMRC will provide a reference number and will also confirm the process for making the necessary payment to correct the error.

If you have made an error and overclaimed and are planning to make further claims, the error can be adjusted for within your next CJRS claim. Your new claim amount will be reduced to reflect the overclaimed amount.  You should keep a record of this adjustment for six years.

If you have made an error that has resulted in an underclaimed amount, you should contact HMRC.  HMRC will conduct further checks before any additional payment is made.

If you are a GWA client who uses our PAYE services, we will be able to make the CJRS reimbursement claim on your behalf. Please get in touch for further information.

Calculating Employee Hours for Flexible Furlough: If your employee is fully furloughed, you do not need calculate their usual and furloughed hours. However, if you have employees that are flexibly furloughed, you’ll need to work out their usual hours and record the actual hours they work, as well as their furloughed hours for each claim period.

HMRC has provided guidance to determine an employee’s ‘usual hours’ for the purpose of your CJRS claim, this can be found here on the GOV.UK website.

You will be required to submit information on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and the number of furloughed hours for each employee when making a CJRS claim. Once you have agreed how many hours your flexibly furloughed employee is going to work in the claim period, they will be furloughed for the rest of their ‘usual hours’.

If you claim in advance and your employee works for more hours than you agreed, then you’ll have to pay some of the grant back to HMRC. This means that you should not claim until you have certainty about the number of hours your employees are working during the claim period.

The main HMRC guidance on the CJRS can be found on the following two pages on the GOV.UK website.

In addition HMRC have provided examples to help in calculating wages, National Insurance and pension contributions when claiming via the CJRS.

There are updates being made on a regular basis.  Therefore, if you are in any doubt please do contact us.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Deadline
We updated you last week on the second grant of the SEISS, which will cover June, July and August.

HMRC have now confirmed that claims for the second grant will open from 17 August 2020 (probably on a staged basis) and close on 19 October 2020.

However, it is just important to note that, businesses eligible for the first grant must make their claim by Monday 13 July. To claim the first grant, your business must have been adversely affected by the COVD-19 crisis on or before 13 July 2020 and to claim the second grant you must have been adversely affected after that date.

HMRC have provided some examples of what they would consider to be “adversely affected” which might be helpful here on the GOV.UK website.

The claim process is online. If you are unable to make a claim online you can contact HMRC on 0800 0241222, however you may require patience due to the high demand and also fewer advisers being available as a result of HMRC’s own measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

We are not allowed to claim SEISS grants on behalf of our clients, but if you have any questions regarding the grants or want to understand if you have been “adversely affected” please do get in touch.

Whether it is business or personal support you require we will always aim to provide the same Quality Advice and Quality Service.  We are here to help, so do not hesitate to get in touch.

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