Chancellor Rishi Sunak sets out the three new Covid support measures available for businesses
Omicron-hit hospitality businesses will be able to claim up to £6,000 cash grants and companies can receive compensation for employees’ sick pay, as part of a new support package, the chancellor has announced.
Rishi Sunak has announced three new “generous” measures to help the arts and hospitality industries get through what should be their busiest period, as restaurants’ bookings plummet and theatres are forced to close amid a sharp increase in Covid cases.
From Tuesday, small and medium-sized companies – those with less than 250 employees – can be reimbursed by the government for the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences of up to two weeks per employee, said the chancellor.
“Eligible” hospitality and leisure businesses “impacted by Omicron” will be able to apply for a one-off cash grant of up to £6,000, said Mr Sunak. However, it is not yet clear how employers will be asked to prove how they have been affected.
Businesses in the arts will also receive further funding with £30 million allocated to the Culture Recovery Fund to help support the likes of theatres and museums.
What exactly does the new Omicron financial bailout include?
- “Eligible” hospitality and leisure companies can claim one-off cash grants worth up to £6,000 per premises. It is understood that all hospitality and leisure businesses can apply, as long as they can prove they have been “impacted by Omicron”. It is not yet clear how businesses will be asked to prove how they have been impacted.
- Small and medium-sized companies – those with less than 250 employees – can be reimbursed by the government for the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for up to two weeks per employee. Firms are eligible for the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) from today and will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.
- A £30 million boost to the Culture Recovery Fund to support organisations in the arts, such as theatres, museums and orchestras through the winter until March 2022.
- Local authorities in England will also received a more than £100 million boost via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) . Each local authority will have discretion to allocate this funding to businesses most in need.
HMRC is reminding self assessment customers to declare any Covid-19 grant payments on their 2020/21 tax return, including SEISS claims which are taxable
More than 2.7 million customers claimed at least one Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) payment up to 5 April 2021. These grants are taxable and taxpayers must declare them on their 2020/21 tax return before the deadline on 31 January 2022.
The SEISS application and payment windows during the 2020/21 tax year were:
- SEISS 1: 13 May 2020 to 13 July 2020
- SEISS 2: 17 August 2020 to 19 October 2020
- SEISS 3: 29 November 2020 to 29 January 2021
If taxpayers received other support payments during the pandemic, including Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grants, they may need to report this on their tax return if they are self-employed; in a partnership; or a business.
Information on which support payments need to be reported to HMRC and any that do not is available on the gov.uk website.
It is important that taxpayers check and make any changes to their tax return to make sure any SEISS or other Covid-19 support payments have been reported correctly in their self assessment.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: ‘We want to help customers get their tax returns right, first time. We have videos, guidance and helpsheets available online to support you with your self assessment. Search ‘help with self assessment’ on gov.uk to find out more.’
HMRC has created resources to help taxpayers complete their tax return including a playlist on YouTube, webinars, and helpsheets and guidance available on gov.uk.
HMRC recently announced that more than 20,000 customers, who were unable to pay their tax bill in full, had used the self-serve time to pay facility, bringing in an estimated £46m. The online payment plan helps taxpayers who may feel worried or anxious about paying any tax owed by enabling them to spread the amount into manageable monthly instalments, up to the value of £30,000.
If taxpayers owe more than £30,000, or need longer to pay, they should call the self assessment payment helpline on 0300 200 3822.
HMRC urges everyone to be alert if they are contacted out of the blue by someone asking for money or personal information. Taxpayers should always type in the full online address www.gov.uk/hmrc to get the correct link for filing their self assessment return online securely and free of charge. HMRC sees high numbers of fraudsters emailing, calling or texting people claiming to be from the department. If in doubt, HMRC advises not to reply directly to anything suspicious, but to contact them straight away and to search gov.uk for ‘HMRC scams’.
Taxpayers that were employed and received CJRS (furlough) payments during the 2020/21 tax year will need to enter earnings and income tax as stated on their P60. The P60 will include any furlough payments received up to 5 April 2021, so these furlough payments do not need to be included on tax returns.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new £4.6 billion package of grants to support businesses through the latest national lockdown.
UK businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to be given one-off grants worth up to £9,000.
The payments are expected to support 600,000 business properties across the UK. A further £594 million will be made available to councils and devolved nations to support businesses not covered by the new grants.
The Chancellor said:
‘The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge, and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.’
‘Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and… we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the spring.’
‘This will help businesses to get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen.’
Internet link: GOV.UK news
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