Updates on the Government Support Packages for Business

April 16th 2020

Key Points

1. The Government has announced an extension to the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) that is likely to bring an additional 200,000 employees into the scheme.
2. JRS application process – the importance of having an active Government Gateway account for your business.
3. HMRC have launched a ‘whistleblower’ service for breaches of Job Retention Scheme rules.
4. Scotland announces a further £100 million fund to support the newly self-employed, small and micro businesses which are ineligible for the support packages previously announced.
5. Details on the Coronavirus Grant Schemes for Furnished Holiday Let businesses.

Extension to the Job Retention Scheme
In response to an online petition and other pressure the Government has brought forward the date by which employees needed to be registered on the payroll system in order to be eligible for the Job Retention Scheme.

You can now claim for employees that were employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying HMRC of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.

JRS Application Process
If you have an agent who is authorised to act for you on PAYE matters they will be able to make the relevant submissions on your behalf however you will also be able to make the claim yourself if you wish. If you handle your own PAYE affairs it is imperative that you have an active Government Gateway (GG) account in order to make your own applications under this scheme.

If you don’t already have a Government Gateway account, you can apply for one here – HMRC online registration

You will also need to have enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet you can apply here – PAYE online registration

To make a claim you will need the following information for each employee:
1. Name.
2. National Insurance number.
3. Claim period and claim amount.
4. PAYE/employee number (optional).

• If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee.
• If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

The Government has confirmed that claims will be paid within 6 days by direct transfer to your account. If you are using an agent to make the claim on your behalf you must advise them of the account into which you want the payment made.

HMRC ‘Whistleblower’ service for the Job Retention Scheme
An online service is currently being set up by HMRC for employees to report abuse of the Job Retention Scheme rules. This follows worrying reports of employers asking employees to continue to work whilst on furlough, and some employers even inserting ‘claw back’ provisions in employee furlough agreements to try and protect the employer should HMRC ask for grants to be repaid.

Scottish Government Additional Support Packages
The Scottish Government yesterday announced a £100 million fund to protect the newly self-employed and viable SME and micro businesses that have not thus far been eligible for support from the national schemes previously announced.

This fund will be channelled through local authorities and the application process will be available by the end of April.

Kate Forbes also announced that the Scottish payments of the Coronavirus Small Business Support Grant of £10k have been extended, so that they are no longer being paid on a one grant per business basis but rather on a per property basis. The grant will now be paid 100% in respect of the first property and 75% in respect of all other properties. This extended grant scheme will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.

Scottish Government Support For Self-Catering Businesses and Caravans
The Scottish Government has confirmed that the one-off Small Business Support Grant of £10k and the one-off Hospitality grant of £25k will be available in respect of furnished holiday let businesses and caravan letting businesses where the taxable profit from the business constitutes at least one third of the total taxable income of the taxpayer and the property has been let for at least 140 days in the tax year.  See our earlier article for details on making a claim.