COVID-19: Government support tracker - Updated: 13 January 2021
This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.
Measures are being announced and this tracker is updated on a daily basis.
The Coronavirus Bill gives the government emergency powers to deal with the crisis in any way it needs. The bill includes some Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) measures. Further tax legislation enabling the other measures is being announced as the government devises it. The chancellor gave his Summer Economic Update on 9 July 2020.
At a glance: new measures
Employers & Employees
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1 November 2020
- updated 5/1/21
Job Support Scheme (JSS)
- On hold, guidance was withdrawn 1/11/2020 - "delayed until December"
Job Retention Bonus
- Policy intent falls away following the extension of CJRS - updated 5/11/2020
- Guidance for employee/directors
- Homeworking: Special tax exemption for reimbursed employee equipment
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employees
- Off-Payroll Working & SSP
- Private Sector Off-Payroll changes postponed
- Employment-related securities returns
- Kickstart Scheme
- Apprenticeship and training payments
- No BIK's on employer-provided PPE and Covid tests
- No BIK's on employer-reimbursed Covid tests - added 16/12/2020
- Virtual parties - included within annual function exemption for BiKs.
- Cycle to Work Scheme easement - added 21/12/2020
Tax payments & compliance
- Deferring Income Tax payments
- Business taxes: Time to Pay
- The threshold for arrangements is extended to £30,000 for Self Assessment customers 1/10/2020.
- Corporation tax: early repayment of tax due to losses - added 18/6
- Companies House: automatic three-month filing extension until 2021 - added 2/7
- Coronavirus listed as a reasonable excuse for appeals - added 14/5
- Appeal time limits extended to three months - added 14/5
- HMRC late payment interest rate cut
- CGT: soft landing on penalties under new 30-day reporting regime - added 16/4
- Access to Heritage Assets: Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme - added 2/6
- Digital signatures and hold-over relief - added 25/11
- Corporate Interest Restriction: tax return deferral is reasonable excuse - added 9/12
- Deferring VAT & repaying HMRC by instalments - updated/added 25/11
- Postponement of MTD VAT Digital links
- Temporary zero-rating of PPE from 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020 - updated 6/7
- Deadline for notifying option to tax for VAT extended to 90 days - updated 23/11
- Construction Industry Domestic Reverse Charge VAT postponed until March 2021 - added 5/6
- Temporary VAT cut for hospitality sector - updated 24/9
- Small business rates scheme
- Business Rates: Expanded Retail Discount
- Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates
The following loan funds have been announced during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. They are open until 31 March 2021 - announced 17/12/20
- Microbusiness 'Bounce back' loans.
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
- Coronavirus Large Business Interuption Loan Scheme
Other loans include:
- COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility: closed on 9 October 2020
- Future Fund convertible loan scheme: open until 31 January 2021
See COVID-19: Loan funding
- Statutory Residence Test (SRT) - updated 9/4
Land & property
- Landlords & Tenants - updated 4/6
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) temporary cut- added 4/6
- Eat Out to Help Out voucher scheme
- See Summer Economic Update
- Payment scheme for people living in areas with a high incidence of COVID who are on low incomes, need to self-isolate and cannot work from home - added 27/8
- Universal credit: Self-employed and low earners
- Hardship Fund: Social housing and homeless
- Temporary changes to pension tax for recently retired returning public sector workers - added 5/5
- Reduction in withdrawal charge for lifetime ISA's - added 18/5
Employers and employees
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
Employers may claim a grant of up to 80% of past salaries of employees who would have been laid off during this crisis. This is subject to a cap of £2,500 per month.
There are different variations of the scheme:
March to October 2020
- March to June 2020: employees were furloughed and not allowed to work.
- July to August 2020: flexible furlough allows employees to work part-time whilst furloughed. From August the scheme is subject to taper rules which mean that employers gradually start to contribute to furlough pay, ERs NICs and pensions and the cap is reduced.
- This version of the scheme closed to new entrants from 30 June 2020, with final claims and adjustments to claims must be made by 30 November 2020.
- See Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to 31 October 2020
November to April 2021
Flexible furlough with the level of grant mirroring levels available under the CJRS in August 2020.
- The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500.
See Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1 November 2020
Job Support Scheme
- In September 2020 as part of his Winter Economic plan the Chancellor announced a new Job Support Scheme (JSS) to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
- Start date is to be confirmed.
- See COVID-19: Job Support Scheme
Job Retention Bonus
- On 5 November 2020, the government announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to 31 March 2021. Due to this, the policy intent of the JRB falls away.
- The JRB will not be payable.
- See Job Retention Bonus
COVID-19: Issues for directors and shareholders
- Furloughing does not need not cover the director's statutory duties.
- Company law wrongful trading provisions are suspended.
- Salary for furloughing is based on past salary payments made via the payroll.
- From 1 July a furloughed director may be able to commence part-time work for their employer.
See COVID-19: Company Directors & Shareholders
COVID-19 Homeworking guidance
- Special tax exemption for reimbursed employee equipment - added 18/5
- Announced by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on 13 May 2020:
- A temporary tax exemption and National Insurance disregard will come into effect to ensure that the expense of the purchase home office equipment as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak will not attract tax and NICs liabilities where reimbursed by the employer. Certain conditions apply.
See COVID-19: Working from home
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
HMRC's new claim portal went live on 26 May 2020.
- SSP is paid to eligible employees by their employers.
- SSP is not available to those earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week (£120 per week from 6 April), see Sick Pay (below).
The legislation is amended to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows:
- SSP will be payable from day one instead of day four for affected individuals.
- SMEs may reclaim up to two weeks’ SSP expenditure per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
- The rate of SSP, for working a five-day week is £95.85 per week from 6 April 2020 (£94.25 to 5 April 2020).
Key essentials for employers
- An SME is an employer with fewer than 250 employees, The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
- Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP.
Employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
- People who are advised to self-isolate for COVID-19 can obtain an alternative to the fit note to cover this by contacting NHS 111, or online at Get an isolation note - NHS.
- This can be used by employees where their employers require evidence.
- Alternatively, employers can ask employees to provide them with a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they are at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus.
- The eligible period for the scheme commenced on 13 March 2020 as the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home/self-isolating in line with public health guidance came into force. Anyone self-isolating before that date will only be eligible for SSP from day four.
- For individuals shielding for 12 weeks after receiving a letter from the NHS or their GP, SSP starts from the first qualifying day on or after 16 April 2020.
- For individuals who are self-isolating because they have been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they have come into contact with someone with Coronavirus SSP starts from the first qualifying day on or after 28 May 2020.
- For individuals who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery, Coronavirus SSP starts from the first qualifying day on or after 26 August 2020.
The online system for making an SSP reclaim will be available from 26 May 2020 through PAYE online. Where employers use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for them, the agent can make a claim on their behalf.
See HMRC Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Off-Payroll Working & SSP
- Following the government's announcement to postpone the introduction of the Off-Payroll Working rules to the private sector, all workers providing their labour via their own Personal Service Companies (PSCs) to private sector end clients, will be entitled, as they are currently in 2019-20 above to claim SSP under the current rules, via their own PSC.
- The extension of the Off-Payroll Working rules was due to commence on 6 April 2020. The start date will now be deferred to 6 April 2021.
See COVID-19: IR35 & Off-Payroll Working
IR35 & private sector Off-Payroll Working
- HM Treasury have said they intend to postpone the introduction of the Off-Payroll Working rules to the private sector.
- The extension of the Off-Payroll Working rules was due to commence on 6 April 2020. The start date is now be deferred to 6 April 2021.
See COVID-19: IR35 & Off-Payroll Working
Employment-Related Securities: Deadlines for registration of new schemes and filing of returns
- HMRC recognise that some employers and agents may struggle to meet Employment-Related Securities (ERS) tax obligations due to the pandemic and will consider Coronavirus as a reasonable excuse for missing obligations such as registering new schemes and filing annual ERS returns.
- You should meet these obligations as soon as you can and explain how you were affected by Coronavirus when you make your appeal.
See Employment-Related Securities: What’s New? June 2020
A scheme to provide six-month work placements for the unemployed who are:
- Between the ages of 16 and 24, on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment.
- 100% funding at NMW for 25 hours a week, plus employer NICs and auto-enrolment pension contributions.
See Kickstart Scheme
Apprenticeship and training payments
- English employers who provide trainees with work experience will receive £1,000 per trainee.
Employers hiring new apprentices in England between 1st August 2020 to 31st January 2021 will receive:
- £2,000 for each apprentice between the ages of 16 and 24.
- £1,500 for each apprentice aged 25 and over.
See A Plan for Jobs 2020: Helping the unemployed
Employer-provided PPE and virus testing
HMRC have advised that if an employer provides employees working in COVID-19 high-risk environments with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and coronavirus tests it will not be a taxable Benefit In Kind.
- Where employers provide testing kits to employees outside of the national scheme there will also be no BIK.
- HMRC discretion will be replaced with SI 2020/1293 from 8 December 2020 until the end of tax year 2020-2021.
- This applies only to antigen tests (testing for current virus infection) and not antibody tests (testing for previous infection).
- Where employees work in an environment where the risk of virus transmission is very high and the employer risk assessment shows PPE is required, the employer must provide it and this will be non-taxable.
- Where an employee requires PPE to carry out their job and the employer cannot provide it, the employer must reimburse the cost to the employee. This is non-taxable.
See COVID-19: Employer-provided PPE and testing
Employer-reimbursed virus testing
- HMRC have confirmed that where an employer reimburses an employee for the cost of a Coronavirus swab test, that reimbursement will be exempt from Income Tax and National Insurance.
- For this purpose, a Coronavirus swab test means a test which detects the presence of a viral antigen or viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) specific to severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
- HMRC have indicated that the Coronavirus test must be accessed for business reasons, for example where an employee needs a negative test result in order to travel abroad for business.
- A disregard will apply between 25 January 2020 and 5 April 2020 with HMRC exercising its collection and management powers to not collect Income Tax or National Insurance from 6 April 2020.
Cycle to Work Scheme
- The Financial Secretary to the Treasury made a written statement on 17 December 2020 introducing a temporary easement on Cycle to Work schemes.
- As a result of Coronavirus restrictions and working from home, the qualifying condition under the Cycle to Work Scheme that the cycling equipment should be used mainly for qualifying journeys may not be met.
A time-limited easement will disapply this condition.
- This easement will apply to employees who have joined a scheme and have been provided with a cycle or cycling equipment on or before 20 December 2020. The easement will be in place until 5 April 2022.
- The easement will not apply to employees joining a scheme on or after 21 December 2020.
See: Cycle to Work
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
First and second grants paid to 13 July and from 14 July:
- A taxable grant of 80% of average monthly taxable profits over the three years to 5 April 2019 for the first three months to 31 May 2020, dropping to 70% for the next three months.
- Capped at £7,500 for the first three months, dropping to £6,570.
- Initially available for three months, extended on 29 May for a further, final three months. Payable as a lump sum from 25 May 2020 for the first period and in August 2020 for the second period, and administered by HMRC.
- Claims for the first grant must be made on or before 13 July 2020. Claims for the second grant commence in August and must be made on or before 19 October 2020.
- Two separate claim periods: no requirement for a claim for the first period to be eligible to claim for the second and final period but must be adversely affected by coronavirus on or after 14 July 2020 for the second grant.
- Taxpayers have 90 days to report and repay overclaims or face penalties.
Extension of scheme from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021:
- Two additional taxable grants to cover the three months to 31 January 2021 (the third grant) and the next three to 30 April 2021 (the fourth grant).
- The third grant will be based on 80% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total. It will be paid in a single instalment.
- The online service for this grant will be available from 30 November 2020 with a deadline of 29 January 2021.
- The details of the fourth grant have yet to be determined by the government.
- HMRC expects applicants to make an honest assessment about whether they reasonably believe their business will have a significant reduction in profits for the accounting period.
See Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Scotland: Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund
A one-off grant of £2,000 if you became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 & unable to claim under the SEISS.
To be eligible you must:
- Have become self-employed on or after 6 April 2019
- Have lost revenue due to the Coronavirus pandemic
- Have not been able to access support through other COVID-19 business support schemes.
See COVID-19: Scotland
Self-employed and low earners
- Self-employed individuals and people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week (£120 from 6 April) are not eligible for SSP.
- These individuals can make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
Special measures apply for the duration of the virus outbreak.
- The requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice. This is to ensure self-employed claimants will receive support.
- People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to self-isolate.
- A contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25. This may be claimed by eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating in line with advice from Day one of sickness, rather than Day eight.
- More details are expected from the government on eligibility criteria. We assume that you may self-certify perhaps after receiving advice by ringing NHS 111.
VAT payments may be deferred until 31 March 2021.
A payment deferral applies to VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 for VAT registered businesses.
This is a deferral of tax and not an exemption: effectively, this is a fast way to provide business with emergency funding.
- This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
- VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
- Direct debits need to be cancelled if you wish to take advantage of the deferral. Alternatively a refund can be claimed if direct debits were not cancelled in time.
- It was announced on 24 September 2020 that those businesss who had taken advantage of this will now be able to pay the deferred VAT in eleven interest free instalments.
See COVID-19 VAT deferral
VAT: Making Tax Digital (MTD) Digital links
- HMRC has deferred the start date for the introduction of digital links into MTD for VAT functional compatible software.
- Digital links will now not be required until your first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2021.
VAT: Temporary zero-rating of PPE from 1 May 2020 to 31 October 2020
- Sales of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against COVID-19 will be zero-rated for VAT from 1 May 2020 until 31 October 2020 (extended from 31 July 2020).
See COVID-19: Temporary zero-rating for PPE
VAT: Option to tax deadline extended
HMRC has announced that they are extending the deadline for notifying them about an option to tax land and buildings to 90 days due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The extension applies to decisions made between 15 February and 31 March 2021 (previously 30 June 2020 and 31 October 2020).
See COVID-19: Option to tax deadline extended
VAT: CIS Domestic Reverse Charge
- HMRC have announced a delay to the introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the Coronavirus on the construction sector.
- Additionally, they have changed the exclusion requirements of end-users and intermediaries.
See COVID-19: CIS Reverse Charge VAT
Temporary VAT cuts for hospitality and tourism
In his Summer economic update, the Chancellor announced a temporary cut to the rate of VAT on food, accommodation and entry fees to attractions from 20% to 5% until 12 January 2021, which was extended in his Winter Economic Plan to 31 March 2021.
VAT on food and non-alcoholic drinks
From 15 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 (previously 12 January), to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector:
A 5% rate of VAT applies to supplies of:
- food and non-alcoholic beverages sold for on-premises consumption, for example, in restaurants, cafes and pubs
- hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic beverages.
- Alcoholic drinks remain subject to the standard 20% rate.
VAT on accommodation and attractions
From 15 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 (previously 12 January):
A 5% rate of VAT applies to supplies of:
- sleeping accommodation in hotels and other holiday accommodation including pitch fees for caravans and tents, and associated facilities
- admissions to attractions that are not already eligible for the cultural VAT exemption including:
- theatres and concerts
- amusement parks
- It does not apply to sporting events.
See Summer Economic Update 2020: Temporary VAT cuts
Deferring Income Tax payments
Income Tax payments on account due by 31 July 2020 for the 2019/20 tax year under the Self Assessment system may be deferred.
- Payment will be deferred until 31 January 2021. It was announced on 24/9/2020 that the payment could be paid over 12 months under the time to pay arrangements. This applies to all payments due under self-assessment by 31 January 2021 up to £30,000, deferred or otherwise.
- The deferral of the July payment is an automatic offer with no applications required and no penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period of 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.
- It is not yet known whether the 12 month time to pay option will be subject to interest charges.
- The deferral applied to all taxpayers due to make Self Assessment payments on 31 July 2020 and not just the self-employed.
See COVID 19: Deferring Income Tax payments
Business taxes: Time to Pay
- HMRC has increased the threshold for paying tax liabilities to £30,000 for Self Assessment customers, and their claims can not be made online.
- All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
- These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
- It is essential to contact HMRC and make a Time To Pay agreement before the tax debt becomes due.
See COVID-19: Time to Pay
Corporation Tax: claims for early repayment
- In June 2020 HMRC updated its corporation tax guidance covering situations where a company seeks repayment of tax before a return has been filed, as may be the case where a business knows that it has suffered large losses due to the Coronavirus.
- See COVID-19: early corporation tax repayment
A three-month filing extension was announced in respect of accounts from 25 March 2020. This now applies automatically until April 2021.
- A late filing extension also applies to certain other statutory filings, the amount of time given is dictated by the type of filing.
See COVID-19: Companies House filings
Appeals: Reasonable excuse
- HMRC have issued updated guidance on when taxpayers have a reasonable excuse for the late filing of returns or late payment of tax to specifically include being affected by Coronavirus.
See Coronavirus is a reasonable excuse
Appeals: Reasonable excuse (Corporate Interest Restriction: CIR)
- HMRC confirmed on 8 December 2020 that where the majority of companies within a CIR group gave obtained a deferral to late filing penalties for their company tax returns, if the Interest Resriction Return (IRR) is filed by the same agreed date, there is a reasonable excuse for the late filing.
See Corporate interest restriction
Appeals: Deadline extended
- HMRC has announced that they will extend the deadlines for appealing tax penalties and decisions from 30 days to up to 3 months where the taxpayer or their business has been affected by COVID-19.
See COVID-19: Tax appeal deadlines extended
HMRC late payment interest rate cut
HMRC interest rates for late payments will be revised after the Bank of England interest rate reduction to 0.1%.
These changes will come into effect on:
- 30 March 2020 for quarterly instalment payments.
- 7 April 2020 for non-quarterly instalments payments.
Repayment interest rates remain unchanged. Added 20/3/2020
The rate for underpayments of quarterly instalments is reduced to 1.25% from 23 March 2020. Added 24/03/2020.
See COVID-19: HMRC reduce late payment interest rate
CGT: Soft landing on penalties under new 30-day reporting regime
- HMRC have announced that they will not charge any penalties where UK residents fail to report Capital Gains on UK residential property within the new 30-day deadline until after July 2020.
See Change to new CGT reporting
Access to Heritage Assets: Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme
- HMRC acknowledges that access by the public to certain Heritage Assets may necessarily restricted during the Coronavirus crisis.
- See Heritage Assets: CGT and IHT relief
Small business rates scheme
- The existing small business rate relief continues to apply, this provides full relief for any type of businesses using a single property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
Business Rates: Expanded Retail Discount
- 100% discount on business rates.
- To apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21.
- There is no rateable value limit on the relief.
See COVID-19 Business Rates
Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates
- There will be a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020-21 tax year.
You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:
- Your business is based in England.
Your property is:
- occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and
- wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- There is no action required, it will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.
- You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.
Cash grants are available to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
- New Lockdown grants announced as of 5 January 2021, for all businesses legally forced to close and unable to operate remotely. Based on rateable value of property with grants from £4,000 - £9,000.
- As of 5 january 2021, additional discretionary fund of £594 million for grants to businesses not eligible for the rates-based grants.
- Local Lockdown Grants: £1,000-£1,500 payable to business in England who are required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants every three weeks.
- The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) provides grant funding for businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR).
- The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) is provided to businesses in England in receipt of the rates Expanded Retail Discount with a rateable value of less than £51,000.
- A Discretionary Grant Fund of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000 for small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes.
- Fisheries Response Fund
- Zoos Hardship Fund
- Dairy Hardship Fund
See COVID-19 Grant Funding for Business.
SME business support grants
A £20m fund for grants of £1,000 to £5,000 to help SME's rebuild.
- To be managed by Local Enterprise Partnerships.
- Grants may be used for technology and equipment and specialist financial and legal advice.
- No financial contribution required from the business.
See £20m in new grants for SME’s
Arts Council funding
Cash grants are available: there is a tight deadline for applications.
- £90 million for National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).
- £50 million for organisations outside of the National Portfolio.
- £20 million for creative practitioners and cultural workers.
See COVID-19: Arts Council Funding
- Standard business interruption policies are unlikely to cover a pandemic.
- New policies will definitely exclude it.
Check your policy wording and contact your insurer.
Hardship Fund: Social housing and homeless
- The government announced a new £500 million Hardship Fund so Local Authorities can support economically vulnerable people and households.
- The government expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes or through similar measures.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will set out more detail on this funding, including allocations, shortly.
Payment scheme for people living in high risk areas on low incomes, need to self-isolate and cannot work from home
The scheme opens on 1 September 2020 and will initially only apply in specific areas subject to local lockdown starting, on a trial basis, with Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham.
It will apply to people who:
- Are employed or self-employed and receiving either universal credit or working tax credit.
- Have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as their contacts.
Eligible individuals will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation.
- Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days are to receive £182.
- Non-household contacts advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace will receive £14 per day, up to £182, with the actual amount being dependent on the length of their isolation period.
Those eligible to receive a payment will need to provide:
- Notification from NHS Test and Trace.
- A bank statement.
- Proof of employment/self-employment.
Other immediate changes applicable for direct and indirect taxes
Statutory Residence Test (SRT)
- For the purposes of day counting for SRT. If you:
- are quarantined or advised by a health professional to self-isolate in the UK as a result of the virus,
- find yourself in a ‘lockdown’ situation as a result of the virus,
- are unable to leave the UK due to the closure of international borders,
- are asked by your employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus.
HMRC consider that the circumstances are 'exceptional'.
- On 9 April the Chancellor confirmed that time spent by individuals in the UK between 1 March 2020 and 1 June 2020 working on COVID-19 related activities will not count towards the residence test and this will be included in Finance Bill 2020 accordingly.
See COVID-19: Statutory Residence Test
Landlords & Tenants
Private or social accommodation.
- Landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a five month period.
- Landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to Coronavirus will receive a six-month mortgage payment holiday (extended from 3 months on 5 June 2020).
- At the end of this period, landlords and tenants are expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.
- Coronavirus Bill provides that no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 5 months.
- All commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible.
See COVID-19: Landlords & tenants
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
HMRC has updated its guidance on exceptional circumstances that allow refunds following a sale outside of the normal three-year limit to specifically include the impact of COVID-19 preventing the sale.
You may still be able to apply for a refund, if you purchased your new home on or after 1 January 2017 and were unable to sell your previous home within 3 years. To be able to get the refund, the delay in selling must be because of reasons outside of your control. These may be, but are not limited to:
- the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) preventing the sale
- an action taken by a public authority preventing the sale
See SDLT Residential Porperty Higher Rate
Land and Buildings Transaction tax, see COVID-19 Scotland
Temporary changes to pension tax for recently retired returning public sector workers
- The government is temporarily relaxing the pension unauthorised payment charge rules for recently retired public sector workers between the ages of 50 and 55 who are returning to work because of COVID-19.
- Applies to pension payments made between 1 March and 1 June 2020.
See COVID 19: Pension tax changes for retired public sector staff returning to work
Reduction in lifetime ISA withdrawal charge
- From 6 March 2020 to 5 April 2021, the charge for making a withdrawal from a lifetime ISA (LISA) is reduced from 25% to 20%.
- LISA managers who have already deducted 25% can correct this by making a repayment back to the LISA if it is still open or directly to the investor if it is not.
- The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have created a COVID support Finder tool
- It is here: https://www.gov.uk/business-Coronavirus-support-finder