It has become a requirement for premises and venues across England to have a system in place to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff. This move is intended to help trace people should a venue be linked to a coronavirus outbreak.
The government has said that further guidance and, where necessary, regulations will be published specifying the settings affected by the changes. The scope will cover the hospitality industry, such as pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as close contact services and other tourism and leisure venues.
These businesses and organisations had been advised to collect and share data, with many effectively doing so. However, the data collection programme has now been formally mandated since 18 September 2020 and will support the NHS Test and Trace service.
The main requirements for collecting contact details are as follows:
• Details to be stored for 21 days and shared with NHS Test and Trace if required
• Contact details required include name, contact number, date of visit, arrival, and departure time (if possible)
• Fixed penalties for organisations that do not comply
• Venues will also be in breach of the law if they take individual bookings of more than six people
• Customers who do not provide details may be refused entry.
• All collected data must comply with GDPR and should not be kept for longer than necessary.
Further details are expected to be published shortly and clarified in future regulations.
Source: HM Government Wed, 23 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0100
The single-use carrier bag charge came into effect in England on 5 October 2015. This introduced a minimum charge of 5p on single-use carrier bags supplied by large shops (with over 250 employees) in England.
Since then single-use carrier bags are no longer given away free when buying goods from large shops. Shoppers who bring their own bags or use thicker, reusable ‘bags for life’ do not need to pay the charge.
The new law has been very effective, reducing the use of single-use carrier bags by over 95% in the main supermarkets and raising over £180m for good causes.
A consultation on extending the remit of the scheme and increasing the minimum charge was launched in December 2018. The government response to the consultation was published recently following delays caused by purdah restrictions and re-prioritisation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has now confirmed that the charge is to be increased to 10p and extended to include all retailers from April 2021. It is thought that this new charge will apply to almost all plastic bags given out by businesses across England.
The government is also introducing restrictions on the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. These additional restrictions will be introduced in October 2020.
Source: HM Government Wed, 09 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0100
Due to coronavirus disruption, it is currently taking up to six weeks to renew or replace a passport online. It can take even longer if you apply by post or if applying for a first adult passport. Passport offices and the premium and fast track services are currently closed.
However, you may be able to get a passport urgently to travel for compassionate reasons or work, or to prove your identity. For example, if you are applying for a job, mortgage or benefits.
Compassionate reasons to travel include:
- you or someone you care for needs urgent medical treatment in another country
- a family member or friend in another country is seriously ill or has died
Valid reasons for urgent travel to another country could apply if, for example, you work:
- for an airline or haulage company
- offshore, for example on a rig
- for government or local government and you’re doing business abroad
- in healthcare
- for social services and you need to travel with children
- for the armed forces or the police
Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 09 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0100
The Government Legal Departments (GLD) is warning that its general enquiry number (020 7210 8500) and switchboard number (020 7210 3000) are being used by fraudsters to try and extract money from members of the public.
In most of the reported cases, the fraudsters claim they are calling from the GLD or HMRC, with the GLD enquiry line number showing in the caller ID. The callers are usually very aggressive on the phone, threatening members of the public that if they do not pay a certain amount of money, the police will arrest them. The calls are NOT being made by GLD or HMRC and are calls being made from numbers that have been effectively hijacked by fraudsters.
The GLD has confirmed that they never make outbound calls from their enquiry line or switchboard number. The GLD will also never ask you for your bank details or to pay money over the phone. If you receive a call of the type described above, please hang up and report full details of the scam by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. When making your report, please ask for it to be associated with report reference NFRC200803859141.
If you’ve been a victim of a scam and suffered financial loss, you should call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 immediately. Recipients of suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should also forward details to email@example.com and suspicious texts to 60599.
Source: HM Government Wed, 02 Sep 2020 05:00:00 +0100
Your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) is the primary identifier for tax purposes. The number is also sometimes known as your taxpayer number or tax reference number and should be used whenever you contact HMRC or when you file your tax returns. The UTR is a unique 10 digit code. You automatically receive a UTR when you set yourself up to file Self-Assessment tax returns or form a limited company.
If you have mislaid your UTR you should be able to find the number on previous tax returns and other documents from HMRC, such as notices to file a return and payment reminders. You can also find your UTR in your HMRC online account.
If you are unable to locate your UTR you can call the Self-Assessment helpline to request your UTR on 0300 200 3310. The lines are usually open from Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm, Saturday: 8am to 4pm and Sunday: 9am to 5pm. However, the hours are currently shortened due to impact of coronavirus and the lines are open Monday to Friday only from 8am to 4pm.
If you have mislaid your Corporation Tax UTR this can be requested online and HMRC will send a copy of the number by post to the company’s registered address as shown on Companies House.
Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 02 Sep 2020 05:00:00 +0100
The government has announced the launch of a new trial scheme that will pay people on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home. The trial will start in Blackburn, Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham to ensure the process works. The trial scheme started on Tuesday, 1 September 2020. The scheme is then expected to be rolled out in other areas of England with high coronavirus infection rates.
The new scheme will only be made available to people currently receiving either Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit. The benefits payment will allow for payments of up to £182 to be made to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their contacts.
Individuals who test positive with the virus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation. Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182.
Non-household contacts advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace will also be entitled to a payment of up to £182, tailored to the individual length of their isolation period. Any payments made under the scheme will not reduce any other benefits for the recipient.
The scheme will help support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home while self-isolating, either after testing positive, or after being identified by NHS Test and Trace as living in the same household as – or coming into contact with – someone who has tested positive.
Source: HM Government Wed, 02 Sep 2020 05:00:00 +0100
Children born after 31 August 2002 and before 3 January 2011 were entitled to a Child Trust Fund (CTF) account provided they met the necessary conditions. These funds were long-term saving accounts for newly born children. The first of these children will begin turning 18 from 1 September 2020.
HMRC has confirmed that millions of teenagers are set to benefit as their accounts mature. Approximately 6.3 million CTF accounts have been set up since the scheme was launched in 2002, roughly 4.5 million by parents or guardians and a further 1.8 million set up by HMRC where parents or guardians did not open an account.
From September, an estimated 55,000 accounts will mature each month and HMRC has created a simple online tool to help young people find out where their account is held.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said:
‘We want to make sure all young people can access the money which has been set aside for them, to invest in their future and continue a savings habit, as they turn 18.’
If you’re unsure if you have an account or where it may be, it’s easy to track down your provider online.
The actual CTF accounts are not held by HMRC, but by a number of CTF providers who are financial services firms. Anyone can pay into the account, with an annual limit of £9,000, and there’s no tax to pay on the CTF savings interest or profit.
Source: HM Treasury Wed, 26 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0100
The government has announced a further four-week extension to the eviction ban for tenants affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. This means that landlords in England and Wales will be banned from evicting tenants until at least 20 September 2020. This takes the total ban to 6 months.
The government has also announced plans to give tenants greater protection from eviction over the winter by requiring landlords to provide tenants with a new 6 months’ notice period (extended from 3 months’) in all bar those cases raising other serious issues such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, until at least 31 March 2021. The Scottish government has also introduced a ban on evictions until March 2021 and there is currently an extended 12-week notice period in Northern Ireland.
The government has said it will keep these measures under review with decisions guided by the latest public health advice.
When courts do resume eviction hearings they will carefully prioritise the most egregious cases, ensuring landlords are able to progress the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes, as well as cases where landlords have not received rent for over a year and would otherwise face unmanageable debts.
According to independent research, 87% of tenants have continued to pay full rent since the start of the pandemic, with a further 8% agreeing reduced fees with their landlords. However, landlords and tenants continue to face situations where tenants are unable to pay their bills resulting in lost rental income.
Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 26 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0100
HMRC has released the latest bi-monthly issue of the 'Agent Update' publication which includes summaries of recent changes and updates that have been announced. The document, that is aimed at taxation and accountancy practitioners, includes links to more detailed information on each of the topics covered.
The topics covered in the latest edition include the following:
- COVID-19. A reminder that the GOV.UK portal includes details of all the various financial support and other measures available to employers, businesses and employees.
- VAT payment deferrals period. The option to defer your VAT payments ended on 30 June 2020. The Coronavirus VAT payment holiday gave businesses the chance to defer the payment of any VAT liabilities between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. VAT payments now need to be made as normal.
- Confirmation of Payee process. Some UK banks have introduced Confirmation of Payee (COP) as a new way of giving individuals or businesses greater assurance that they are sending payments to the intended recipient. When you request a repayment from HMRC you must ensure that the details you provide match the details of the recipients account.
- Top Slicing Relief (TSR) on life insurance policy gains. New legislation has been introduced that changes how reduced personal allowances interact with the calculation for top slicing relief. It will provide additional relief for taxpayers whose entitlement to the personal allowance has reduced because a gain is included as part of their income. The new legislation to TSR cases will apply from tax year 2018-2019.
- Disguised Remuneration Loan Charge. Taxpayers that have outstanding disguised remuneration loans that are subject to the loan charge need to file their 2018-19 Self-Assessment tax return by 30 September 2020, including a report of any loan balances subject to the loan charge, and put in place any arrangements they need to pay the charge due on that date. Taxpayers can now elect to spread the loan balance over 3 tax years.
- Links to new Revenue & Customs Briefs.
Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 26 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0100
One of the measures announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak in his Summer Economic update on 8 July 2020 was the launch of the new £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme.
From September 2020, home owners and landlords in England will be able to apply for a grant to make their home more energy efficient. The Green Homes Grant will cover at least two-thirds of the cost up to £5,000 per household. For low income households these grants will cover all costs up to £10,000. The scheme will run until 31 March 2021.
The Green Homes Grants will give homeowners, including owner occupiers and social/private landlords, vouchers to install one or more of the following primary measures:
- solid wall, under-floor, cavity wall or roof insulation
- air source or ground source heat pump
- solar thermal
In addition, households can apply for a further voucher to install secondary measures for additional energy saving. Households will need to install at least one of the primary measures above to qualify for further funding for secondary measures. These secondary measures include the following:
- double or triple glazing/secondary glazing, when replacing single glazing
- upgrading to energy efficient doors
- hot water tank/appliance tank thermostats/heating controls
Secondary measures can only be subsidised up to the amount of subsidy provided for primary measures. (e.g. if a household receives £1,000 for primary measures, they can only receive a maximum of £1,000 towards secondary measures).
The government is urging suppliers of the above-mentioned improvements to sign up for TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation in order to take part in this scheme.
Homeowners and landlords will need to apply for a voucher online. Once the works are agreed, vouchers will start to be issued from the end of September.
Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 19 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0100