Category Archives: IT Contractors

COVID-19: Ineligible furloughed directors

COVID-19: Ineligible furloughed directors are mostly those receiving a monthly tax-free salary of £719 per month for 2019/20.

This issue relates to claims for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grants being rejected as ineligible. The companies affected are those where the directors have operated a payroll for themselves only and opted to receive a monthly tax and national insurance free salary of £719 per month for 2019/20.

COVID-19: Ineligible furloughed directors

Personal Service Companies (PSC)

CJRS ineligibility seems more likely to affect personal service companies where the payroll is run solely for directors and salaries are pitched at the PT level.

Class 1 National Insurance – Primary Threshold

The Primary Threshold (PT) for Class 1 National Insurance contributions determines the level of salary that will not attract PAYE and NI contributions for both the employee and the employer during the tax year. This threshold was set as £719 per month and £8,632 per annum for 2019/20.

COVID-19: Ineligible furloughed directors

The Primary Threshold has been increased to £792 per month and £9,500 for the 2020-21 tax year.

COVID-19: Ineligible furloughed directors

Directors tax planning strategy

A number of company directors adopt the tax planning strategy of paying themselves the PT salary during the year and either topping up this salary through interim dividends or paying a bonus salary in March 2020 to utilise their annual allowance (£12.500 for 2019-20).

Dividends are taxed at a lower rate after deducting the annual dividend allowance of £2,000, The lower rate of 7.5% assumes that total income doesn’t exceed the basic rate tax threshold of £37,500 because after this the tax on dividends becomes punitive.

COVID-19: Ineligible furloughed directors

Annual Employment allowance

In cases where a limited company has 2 or more directors and qualifies for the annual employment allowance, it may still be ineligible for the CJRS grant if it did not utilise any of it’s annual employment allowance before 19th March 2020.

The annual employment allowance is an annual grant to small companies to defray the cost of employers national insurance contributions up to £3,000 for 2019-20 and £4,000 for 2020-21.

Eligibility anomaly for directors

The CJRS guidelines explains that where employees, including company directors, receive salaries that vary during the year, the average salary for 2019/20 will be used to calculate the 80% claim for furloughed workers.

However, it would appear that the average salary in the guidelines is for the period up to February 2020 and not March 2020 which is the final month in the tax year. Therefore directors who ran a final payroll in March 2020 to utilise their annual allowance are left high and dry.

One argument put forward by commentators is that if these directors aren’t paying their taxes during the year how can they expect the tax payer to bail them out now. Maybe, this was the logic of behind the CJRS ineligibility rule. A fair cop.

Nevertheless, for the optimists this may just be a quirk in the computer software which was developed in the record time of 3-4 week. We are currently waiting for the CJRS support team at HMRC to get back to us on this issue within the next 48 hours. Unfortunately, that was promised on Tuesday 21/04/2020 at 10am.

This post on The COVID-19: Ineligible furloughed directors was sponsored by Canalitix.com

COVID-19: Befuddled? We are tax agents

Canalitix Accountants

Canalitix Accountants are tax agents who can guide you through the claims process for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self Employed Income Support grants.

HMRC has recently reached out to Canalitix Accountants and other UK tax agents to assist businesses with their claims for furloughed staff wages under CJRS.

The CJRS dedicated online claims system is expected to go live on 20 April 2020 and we would welcome the opportunity to assist businesses including company directors and contractors on PAYE with their claims.

HMRC Step by Step Guide for submitting CJRS claims

COVID-19: Befuddled? We are tax agents

Payroll bureau and HMRC file only agents

Payroll bureau and HMRC file only agents cannot access the CJRS dedicated online services.

However, file only agents can assist business with their CJRS claims because they hold information on furloughed staff, such as national insurance (NI) number, salary, employer’s NI and pension contributions.

HMRC Money Laundering Regulations

Contact us

You can contact us via our main website Canalitix.com or using the from the Contact Us menu above: https://canalitix.org/contact-us/

RECAP – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

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COVID 19: Applying for 80% of furloughed staff wages

This article on COVID 19: Applying for 80% of furloughed staff wages looks at the eligibility and qualify criteria for employers planning to apply to HMRC for help under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Employers who have had to put staff on furlough leave during COVID-19 are eligible to apply for a grant to cover 80% of furloughed staff wages up to £2,500 per month.

On 27 March 2020, the government issued new guidance which:

  1. Extended the scheme to cover the associated Employer National Insurance contributions, as well as the minimum employer pension contribution (currently 3%) on that wage
  2. Allowed companies to reemploy staff made redundant after 28 February and place them on furlough.

Eligibility Criteria

Under the scheme, the grant of 80% of furloughed staff wages can be claimed for any of the following groups provided they are paid via PAYE:

  1. Employees of businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities
  2. Company directors of limited companies
  3. Members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)
  4. Agency staff, including those paid via umbrella companies
  5. Zero-hours contract staff
COVID 19: Applying for 80% of furloughed staff wages

Staff consultation

Employers must engage in formal consultation with staff representatives concerning changes employment contracts of staff expected to be put on furlough leave.

The government has advised employers that the decision process to decide who to offer furlough leave must comply with the equality and discrimination laws,

The consultation should explain that only staff who were on the payroll on or before 28 February 2020 will be eligible for furlough leave. However, based on new guidance from the government, companies may reemploy staff made redundant after 28 February 2020 and place them on furlough leave.

The government has indicated that furlough leave should be approved for 3-weekly intervals and employers can claim the 80% grant from the date that staff have been placed on furlough leave which can be backdated to 1 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. The scheme may be extended beyond June 2020 if the government decides it’s necessary to extend the social distancing measure beyond this date.

Changes in contracts of employment

Changes to employment contracts should highlight that:

  1. the employer might be able to keep them on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for them during COVID-19, and
  2. the employer will pay 80% of wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500 during COVID-19 furlough leave

Furlough leave confirmation

In order to be eligible for the job retention grant, employers must write to all affected staff to confirm that they have been placed on furlough leave and a record of this communication must be kept for five years.

HMRC Step by Step Guide for submitting claims

Getting the calculation right

Employees on the payroll for over 12 months

Where the employee has been employed for 12 months or more, employers can claim the highest of either the:

  1. same month’s earning from the previous year and
  2. the average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year

Employees on the payroll for less than 12 months

Where the employee has been employed for less than 12 months, employers can claim for 80% of their average monthly earnings since they started work

Employees on the payroll for less than 12 months

If the employee only started in February 2020, then employers need to pro-rata for their earnings to date, and claim for 80%.

Getting the prerequisites right

Once HMRC completes the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online application portal, it’s important for employers to get their prerequisites in order before applying for the grant.

Our suggested checklist include:

  1. COVID-19 staff consultation notice
  2. COVID-19 agreed changes to employment contracts
  3. Furlough leave confirmation letters
  4. Online account for PAYE, register with HMRC if you don’t have one already
  5. A P11 payroll report for each affected employee as at 28 February 2020.

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COVID-19: Deferral of VAT update

COVID-19: Deferral of VAT update: The government has just announced that businesses now have until 31 March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement. In addition, businesses can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period.

COVID-19: Deferral of VAT update

The announcement also advised that businesses who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. This can be done online if they’re registered for online banking.

Business taking advantage of this deferral need to cancel their direct debit in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.

However, those who wish to continue paying as normal through the deferral period should do so if the wish.

The good news is that HMRC will continue to process repayment claims as normal but HMRC are still expecting businesses to continue to submit their VAT returns as normal.

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