COVID-19: HMRC support for all

March 24 2020, 1 Comment

 

 

With daily announcements from Downing Street, it can be hard to keep up with what's what!

At this very testing time, we urge you to stay home and self-isolate or socially distance yourself from those you do not live with. The quicker we can all do this, the sooner the UK (and the rest of the world) can recover! Our NHS and emergency services are under an enormous amount of pressure. If we stay at home where possible, this is the best we can do to support them and help to save lives!

To help you digest what financial support there is out there, here's our guide as we understand it currently:

 

MOT's

From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

You do not need to do anything to extend your vehicle’s MOT expiry date if it’s on or after 30 March 2020. However, you must keep your vehicle safe to drive.

Your vehicle will be automatically given a 6-month MOT exemption. This will extend your current MOT expiry date by 6 months.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

 

Sick Pay

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. This is now applicable from day 1 rather than day 4.

If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

 

Proof of sickness

If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.

 

If you’re self-employed or not eligible for SSP

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.

 

Furloughed workers

If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than losing your employment.

To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to.

This will run for at least 3 months from 1 March 2020, but will be extended if necessary.

 

Claiming benefits

Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

From 6 April the standard allowance in Universal Credit is being increased and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for 1 year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating.

 

If you are self-employed

You are able to claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria.

To support you with the economic impact of the outbreak, and allow you to follow government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing, from 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak.

 

Support for rent costs

You should check your eligibility for Universal Credit, which is available for people in and out of work. Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit.

 

Mortgage holidays

Banks have agreed with the Chancellor that they have the ability to offer a “mortgage holiday” to those financially affected by the outbreak. This is not “means tested” and is available to all to apply for. However, it’s important to note that the interest still applies during the period of non-payment and this will be applied over the following payments. Your mortgage payments will increase slightly to accommodate the missing payments. As this is a  voluntary offer from the banks, you will only be offered a mortgage holiday if you are up to date with your mortgage payments and are not already in financial difficulties. Please contact your mortgage provider for further information. 

 

For a full transcript and outline of the announcement on Friday 20th March, please see the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-chancellor-rishi-sunak-provides-an-updated-statement-on-coronavirus

For guidance published by HMRC for employers on Friday 20th March 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-through-deferring-vat-and-income-tax-payments

For guidance published by HMRC for employees on Friday 20th March 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

 

You might be taking this opportunity to tidy up your data in Home Accountz, or in fact start to take control of your finances! If you have any questions on how to enter transactions or best practice guides, please email support@accountz.com. We're in this together, we'll be here to help you!