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Latest update from HMRC for employers

16 October: ICAEW’s Tax Faculty outlines the key messages in the latest edition of HMRC’s Employer Bulletin, including updates on COVID-19 support schemes, delays in issuing national insurance numbers for new employees and HMRC student loan letters seeking bank account details.

The October 2020 edition carries articles on numerous topics, including:

Coronavirus support schemes

The bulletin summarises the government schemes and has links to further guidance.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

From 1 October HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.

Employers must continue to pay furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

The scheme closes on 31 October and final claims must be made on or before 30 November.

Job retention bonus (JRB)

Employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee who has been furloughed and claimed for through the CJRS and kept continuously employed until at least 31 January 2021.

Job support scheme (JSS)

The JSS will run from 1 November for six months. Employers will continue to pay the wages for the hours that staff work, but government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours owing to decreased demand.

For hours not worked, employers and government will each pay one third of the usual wage (ie, 22% each, capped at £697.92 per month). Employees will therefore receive at least two thirds of their usual wages for the hours not worked.

Employers will be able to claim in December and grants will be paid on a monthly basis.

COVID-19: Working from home expense claims

Employers required to work from home owing to coronavirus can claim a £6 per week/£26 per month deduction against their earnings if their employer does not pay them an allowance.

Earnings payment date

The payment date that should be reported on RTI full payment submissions should be the contractual pay date, even if the date that the salary/wage is actually paid has to be brought forward or pushed back owing to the contractual date falling on a non-banking day. Reporting a different date can have disadvantageous implications for employees, for example if on universal credit.

Functionality enhancements to Business Tax Account (BTA)

From one sign-in to the BTA, employers can view a summary of their tax position, manage information such as address, phone number and email address, and make payments to HMRC. The bulletin also explains about a new webchat service and, with a screen shot, how to use a new employment allowance status option.

National insurance number (NINO) delays

Employers may have experienced delays in receiving NINOs for new employees. This is because DWP has not been undertaking face-to-face interviews owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Employers do not have to report NINOs in their PAYE RTI submissions but are asked to include as many other personal details as possible, and they must have checked that their employees are legally entitled to work in the UK.

ICAEW's Tax Faculty understands that some employers have been awaiting NINOs since March. NINOs are also needed if registering for self assessment, eg when starting self employment. The faculty wonders why DWP cannot interview people who need NINOs while operating social distancing.

National insurance and social security cross-border co-ordination

The bulletin explains the rules where employees are coming to the UK or going abroad to work, including circumstances in which PDA1 or E101 certificates should be applied for. More guidance will be issued in due course.

Off-payroll working – educational programme

The bulletin sets out details of HMRC’s education programme.

PAYE November deadline

The electronic payment date of 22 November falls on a Sunday so PAYE remittances will need to be in HMRC’s bank account by 20 November.

PAYE settlement agreement (PSA) payments

These are due by 19 or 22 October. In many cases payslips have not been received by employers and the bulletin explains how to pay.

P11D, P11D(b) and P45(car)

HMRC is looking for participants to help in the redesign of its PAYE Expenses and Benefits service.

RTI late filing penalties

HMRC has confirmed that its risk-based approach to levying RTI late filing penalties will continue for 2020/21 so penalty notices will not be issued automatically.

This means that an employer who submits an RTI return up to three days late will not necessarily be liable to a penalty provided there is no pattern of persistent late filing.

Starter checklist

Employers are encouraged to get new employees to complete and return the PAYE starter checklist, not least to help ensure that correct student loan repayments are made.

Student loan and postgraduate loan refunds for previous years

Repayments for previous years are no longer being issued by payable order but by electronic payments directly to bank accounts. HMRC is writing to student loan holders asking for bank account details to enable the refund to be made. Student loan holders who have received such a letter and are worried in case it is a scam should call HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

For more details, read the bulletin in full.