Welcome to this special newsletter. In this edition we focus on the Chancellor’s March Budget. Please contact us if you wish to discuss any matters in this newsletter in more detail.
CHANCELLOR “LEVELS UP” WITH US ON TAX
In the Chancellor’s second real Budget on 3 March 2021 he announced that he had to level with people about the state of the UK economy. Prior to Budget day there were fewer leaks than normal about possible tax changes. There were however announcements prior to Budget day of grants for High Street businesses and the hospitality sector and the widely predicted extension of the furlough scheme.
Rishi Sunak has chosen a fine line between raising taxes to start paying down the massive Government borrowings but at the same time stimulate economic recovery and save jobs. He was also mindful of pledges made in the Conservative Party manifesto not to raise income tax, VAT and national insurance. So that leaves corporation tax, CGT and inheritance tax…
Maybe he will delay the announcement of significant increases in taxation until later in the year as it is anticipated that there will be a further Budget in the Autumn. By then the economy will hopefully have started to bounce back.
It has already been announced that there will be important consultation documents issued on 23 March which will seek views on future tax changes. That may be when the expected reforms to CGT and IHT will be announced.
CJRS FURLOUGH SCHEME EXTENDED TO 30 SEPTEMBER
The current version of the furlough scheme that started on 1 November 2020 was scheduled to end on 30 April 2021. In order to avoid a “cliff-edge” with resulting widespread redundancies the chancellor has announced a further extension of the scheme and also a phased reduction in support to employers. The CJRS furlough grant for May and June will remain at 80% of the employees’ usual pay for hours not working but it will then be limited to 70% for July and then 60% for August and September.
This phased reduction will operate in a similar way as in September and October 2020 with the employer being required to contribute the remaining 10% and then 20% of an employee’s regular pay so that they continue to receive 80% pay for furloughed hours.
In addition to the 10% and 20% contributions employers will continue to be responsible for paying employers national insurance and pension contributions on the full amount being paid to employees.
Contact us if you need assistance with your CJRS furlough claims.
SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT GRANTS ALSO EXTENDED
In line with the further extension of the CJRS furlough scheme for employees the chancellor has also set out further support for the self-employed. We had been waiting for the details of the calculation of the fourth SEISS grant covering the period to 30 April and we now know that the support will continue to be 80% of average profits for the reference period capped at £2,500 a month and can be claimed from late April. There will then be a fifth SEISS grant covering the 5 months to 30 September.
The chancellor has also bowed to pressure to extend the scheme to include certain traders who were previously excluded. Thus, those who commenced self-employment in 2019/20 will now be included provided they had submitted their 2019/20 tax return by 2 March 2021. This is potentially a further 600,000 traders.
Conditions for the fifth grant will be linked to a reduction in business turnover. Self-employed individuals whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,500 a month. Those whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £950 a month. We are awaiting further details of this fifth grant.