VAT payment deferral scheme extended – businesses need to sign up by 21st June to avoid being caught out

If you’ve taken advantage of the Covid VAT payment deferral scheme you have until 21st June to register with HMRC to repay the outstanding VAT by monthly instalments. The deadline for payment in full or to opt into the monthly instalment plan was 31st March 2021 but has now been extended to 21 June 2021.

If you’ve deferred VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 and still have amounts outstanding, you can do the following:

*   Pay the deferred VAT in full, on or before 31st March 2021

*   Join the VAT deferral new payment scheme

The online service is open between 23rd February and 21st June 2021

*   Contact HMRC if neither of the above apply

Failure to do either of the above may result in HMRC charging interest or a penalty.

You can pay your deferred VAT here. <>

The new scheme will be open from 23rd February 2021 and is accessible via your HMRC Business Tax Account. The first instalment has to be paid when applying to use the scheme, with the following payments being made via direct debit (if you’re unable to pay via direct debit alternative payment methods will be available).

Businesses must join the scheme themselves by 21st June 2021. Unfortunately, agents can’t do this on behalf of clients as the HMRC software doesn’t allow us do to so. To be eligible to use the deferral scheme, businesses must have a balance outstanding to HMRC but all VAT returns must be submitted and up to date.

For larger businesses who are in the VAT payment-on-account regime, the scheme will be available to use towards the end of March.

If you need further information or advice please drop us an email to:










Tax Exempt Virtual Knees Up

With all the restrictions still in place due to Coronavirus the annual Christmas party might seem very unlikely this year, however HMRC has just announced a way we can all enjoy some festive cheer whilst still socially distancing.

As most employers are aware you can host an annual party and as long as the following conditions are met there are no tax implications for you or your employees:

Condition 1:  Available to all employees

Condition 2:  Not cost more than £150 per head for all attendees

This year HMRC have confirmed by updating their guidance that the above annual party exemption can now include virtual functions.

What does this mean?  In essence if you ‘host’ a zoom meeting which all your employees are invited to join, you can spend up to £150 per attendee to celebrate and be merry all in the comfort of your own home.

Normal parties obviously include food and alcohol and the virtual party is no different!! You could send your employee a hamper they can enjoy while listening to Christmas songs or even create a Christmas quiz.  There is no set guidance on what your virtual party should include just as long as the above conditions are met.  We would also recommend taking a screen shot to confirm the number of attendees should HMRC query this.

Please note that the annual exemption can cover multiple events during the year (so long as they are annual events and not one-offs) and that the £150 per attendee is not an allowance, i.e if the cost exceeds £150 per head for any annual party the full amount becomes taxable on the employee and in turn, you as the employer.  If a virtual party is not for you, please remember that although this year has been hard there are tax consequences to giving employees gifts. If you are wanting to reward your employees by giving them a bonus this should always go through payroll and have the appropriate tax and national insurance deducted from it.

If you simply want to send them a bottle of wine or turkey to cheer them up then so long as this is under £50 then this can be done tax free under the trivial benefit rules.

Whilst there is no stated cap on the number of times a trivial benefit gift can be given (unless directors are involved), you may also wish to consider this as a means of whishing your staff a Merry Christmas. However, please be cautious, as trivial benefits must never be seen as way of rewarding your staff.


Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions

The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor announced today, 9 October/updated 12th October.

– Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions

– government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months

– cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns also increased to up to £3,000 per month

Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work – protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed.  I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.

The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.

The Scheme

Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions, a very small proportion of overall employment costs. It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution.

Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.

The scheme is UK wide and the UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.

This comes alongside intensive engagement with local leaders today on potential measures are coming in their areas.

In addition to the expansion of the JSS, the government is making the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme more generous so that businesses in England can receive up to £3,000 per month, and are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three. This could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.

Further details on the expanded JSS can be found on this fact sheet:

Further guidance on the scheme will be set out by HMRC in due course.

This scheme will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises. This includes businesses that are required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises. To be eligible employees must be employed and an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September.

Under the scheme, employees will need to be furloughed for a minimum of seven consecutive days at any given time and the payments to employers will be made monthly in arrears.

The government is also now making some changes to the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme. These changes will make the scheme more generous: businesses which are legally required to close due to a nationally-imposed local lockdown will now receive up to £3,000 per month, rather than up to £1,500 per three weeks, and they are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three.


Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).

Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).

Properties with an rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).

The government is also extending the scheme to include businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis.

In July we announced an unprecedented guarantee that the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would receive a minimum of £12.7 billion in additional resource funding this year.

Today the UK government is uplifting that by £1.3 billion, to at least £14 billion. This means at least £7.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £4.4 billion for the Welsh Government and £2.4 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive, on top of their Spring Budget 20 funding.

We will also continue to help local authorities. Those at the highest levels of incidence will continue to receive targeted funding based on population size to support test, trace and contain activities at this stage of the national Covid-19 response. This is on top of £3.7 billion in grants to address Covid-related pressures, and £300 million for local authorities to develop outbreak plans, already allocated across England.

The government has previously committed £400 million to support local authorities’ Test, Trace and Contain Activities in England:

£300 million has already been allocated for local authorities to develop local outbreak plans the remaining £100 million is being allocated to local authorities as ‘surge funding’ in areas of local restriction. £20 million of this £100 million has already been allocated based on population size, including to local authorities in Leicester, Lancashire, the North East, Merseyside, and the West Midlands

Broader government support to local authorities in England due to Covid-19 includes:

over £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced grant funding to help them respond to pressure across all their services

over £1.1 billion ringfenced to support social care providers, helping to tackle the spread of the virus

a down payment of £50 million to set up and run the Test and Trace Support Payment – £500 for low-income workers who can’t work from home and are told to self-isolate – and we will fully fund the costs of this scheme, including £15 million in discretionary funds

we’re providing a further £30 million to LAs improve compliance with and enforcement of non-pharmaceutical interventions (such as self-isolation and business closures) over the next four months, including through COVID Marshalls


Source: GOV.UK