HMRC’s latest support and guidance due to Covid-19
On 13 October HMRC published issue 89 of Agent Update, including guidance covering support on Covid-related issues.
Updates to HMRC appeals processes – extended appeal window due to Covid-19
As part of the Covid-19 support package for customers, HMRC introduced a three month extended window to appeal against tax decisions and penalties from February 2020, if the delay was due to Covid-19. This ended on 30 September 2021.
For tax decisions and penalties dated up to and including 30 September 2021, the extended window to appeal continues to be available. Customers should follow the normal process and times for appealing decisions dated from 1 October 2021.
a) Appeal against a tax decision - reasonable excuse: Covid-19
HMRC recognises that some people are still feeling the impacts of Covid-19, and they stated that they will consider claims and ask for evidence if needed, if the taxpayer was unable to meet tax obligations because of Covid disruptions.
b) Bulk appeals against Income Tax Self-Assessment late filing penalties due to Covid-19 ended September 2021
Since 24 March 2021 tax agents were able to appeal in bulk against late filing penalties, on behalf of their clients, for 2019-20 tax returns filed after 28 February 2021. This bulk process allowed agents to submit appeals for up to 25 clients at a time, only when the reasonable excuse was due to Covid-19. The easement was available for six months, until the end of September 2021. Agents can still claim reasonable excuse on behalf of their clients and, for decisions dated up to 30 September 2021, have the three month extended window to appeal.
As the bulk appeal process has not been available since 1 October 2021, agents need to follow the usual process, using the SA370 or appealing online.
Declaring Covid-19 support scheme overpayments on company tax returns
If a taxpayer received a grant from the CJRS, they need to complete boxes 471-473 during the accounting period covered by their Company Tax Return (CT600), and box 474 if there were any EOTHO overpayments. They must also include the grant as income when they calculate their taxable profits.
These boxes were added to the online CT600 on 6 April 2021 so anybody who filed the returns before 6 April 2021 would have been unable to declare this online. If they have an overpayment to report, they will need to resubmit their return and make sure they include these figures.
If all Covid-19 support overpayments are already repaid or have already been assessed before the tax return is filed - and there’s no Covid-19 support schemes overpayment due -you do not have to correct the return.
Also, if the amount self-assessed in box 526 remains the same, you do not need to change the amounts entered in boxes 471-474.
If the amount self-assessed in box 526 is higher or lower, you should amend the return to make sure the charge is amended. HMRC will issue tax charges for any overpayment due.
Find out more information about company tax returns including how you and your clients can complete the CT600 return here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The deadline for the final Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims for September was Thursday 14 October 2021. If a client had not submitted their claim by the deadline, and believe that they have a reasonable excuse, check if they can make a late claim.
If a client has claimed too much CJRS grant and has not already repaid the overclaimed amount, they can let HMRC know and make a repayment online or by bank transfer. If the money is not repaid within either 90 days from receiving the CJRS money they’re not entitled to, or 90 days from the point circumstances changed so that they were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant, they may have to pay interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant.
If a client has not claimed enough because of the mistake in the submission, they’ll need to amend their claim within 28 calendar days after the month the claim relates to. The final deadline to amend claims for September is Thursday 28 October 2021.
Support available for employees if their employer is unable to bring them back to work
There is UK government support available for employees through the JobHelp website, offering a range of support, training and advice, to help people find their next opportunity. This includes the Kickstart scheme and other Plan for Jobs support measures, along with advice on learning new skills and finding who is recruiting.
Support available to help businesses grow
The UK government’s Help to Grow scheme is for clients who are looking to grow their business, it offers management and digital programmes to help them learn new skills and reach more customers.
If employers are considering taking on new employees, there’s a range of UK government support available to help them, including placements, apprenticeships and training opportunities. Further information can be found here.
HMRC provides opportunities for agents to raise queries about HMRC systems and to report issues that are affecting taxpayers and their clients via the agent forum. Agents can join the agent forum by registering here.
Read the full issue of Agent Update 89