Covid 19 News England

Updated 19 July 2021

Welcome to our round up of the latest Covid-19 news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

Covid-19 update

The latest data from the ONS shows that 8 in 10 adults have the COVID-19 antibodies helping their bodies fight the disease and for people over 50 that figure rises to over 9 in 10. Last week we saw further government announcements regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions, and they announced that from 16 August, fully vaccinated individuals and under 18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19 or returning from an amber listed country.

Today the government will make its final decision on moving to step 4 in England on the 19 July.

COVID-19 GOVERNMENT SUPPORT NEWS

Below is our weekly roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.

HMRC publish details of the Fifth SEISS grant claim

Full details of the fifth Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, including a new turnover test which determines the level of the grant, were published by HMRC on 6th July.

Unlike the CJRS Furlough Grants to support employees’ wages, Tax Agents are not allowed to make SEISS grant claims on their client’s behalf.  This seems unreasonable as most self-employed traders will find the HMRC guidance inexplicable and will need their accountant/ tax agent’s assistance in determining how much they are entitled to!

Although the eligibility for the fifth grant is the same as the fourth grant, the amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much the turnover of the business(es) have reduced compared to the turnover in the reference year.

See: Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The fifth grant is 80% of three months’ average trading profits capped at £7,500 for those whose turnover has reduced by 30% or more. Those with a turnover reduction of less than 30% will receive a grant based on 30% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850.

We have been waiting for the precise rules for determining turnover, but HMRC guidance provides more questions than answers and further clarification is still required.

See:  Work out your turnover so you can claim the fifth SEISS grant - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The turnover figure required is for a 12-month period starting on any date between 1 and 6 April 2020. Those who prepare accounts on a tax year basis will be able to use the same figure that will appear on the 2020/21 tax return.

That turnover figure is then compared to the turnover in the “reference period” which for most individuals will be the turnover figure from their 2019/20 tax return and there is an option to use 2018/19 if 2019/20 was not a normal year for the business.

The turnover figure will be the sum of all of the taxpayer’s businesses but should exclude coronavirus support payments (for example previous SEISS grants, eat out to help out payments and local authority grants).

The rules for partners seem particularly illogical, especially where they are also involved in another business. We will keep you updated if and when further clarification is published.

Please contact us if you need help with making the claim.

Income Tax and National Insurance contributions exemption for employer-provided coronavirus antigen tests

This tax information and impact note is about a temporary exemption from Income Tax benefit in kind charge for employees who get a coronavirus antigen test from their employer.

Information about the extension to the Income Tax and National Insurance contributions exemption for coronavirus antigen tests has been added. The extension means that the exemptions and disregards will apply to any coronavirus antigen test provided by an employer, for the tax year 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022. They will also apply to any reimbursement to an employee for a coronavirus antigen test for the tax years 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022.

See: Income Tax and National Insurance contributions exemption for employer-provided coronavirus antigen tests - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

The lists of and information about private providers who have self-declared that they meet the government’s minimum standards for the type of commercial COVID-19 testing service they offer has been updated.

See: Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Guidance has been updated to reflect the change in the return to the workplace which will apply to apprentices as part of Step 4 of the roadmap; updated links and references to the redundancy support service for apprentices; updated to reflect ending of flexibility permitting end-point assessment prior to functional skills qualification achievement; and updated to reflect an extension of the temporary policy on suspending the requirement for Level 2 apprentices to attempt Level 2 functional skills assessment.

See: Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

COVID Local Support Grant extension 21 June to 30 September 2021: guidance for local councils

The COVID Local Support Grant (CLSG), previously the COVID Winter Grant Scheme (CWGS), is a temporary scheme set up by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It funds county councils and unitary authorities (including metropolitan councils and London boroughs) to provide direct assistance to support families with children, other vulnerable households and individuals most in need.

The grant enables local authorities across England to support those who are struggling with the cost of food, energy and water bills and other associated costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is updated information for local councils on the COVID Local Support Grant funding extension from 21 June to 30 September 2021.

See: COVID Local Support Grant extension 21 June to 30 September 2021: guidance for local councils - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Bus service support grant

The COVID-19 bus service support grant (CBSSG Restart) is now closed to new applicants.

See: Apply for the COVID-19 bus service support grant - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Checks to make sure you are following quarantine rules after international travel

NHS Test and Trace carry out checks by phone and in person on people who have a legal duty to quarantine at home after travelling abroad.

There is added information on how contact tracers from NHS Test and Trace will contact you to check you are following quarantine rules. Previously this information was published on GOV.​UK as part of ‘Quarantine and testing if you’ve been in an amber list country’.

See: Checks to make sure you’re following quarantine rules after international travel - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

International travel from amber list countries and territories

The guidance on travel to and from amber list countries to England will change 19 July 2021.

From 19 July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England. They will still be required to take a test 3 days before returning, the pre-departure test, demonstrating they are negative before they travel and a PCR test on or before day 2, but they will no longer be required to take a day 8 test.

In essence this means that for fully vaccinated travellers the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same. A full vaccination means 14 days have passed since THE final dose of the vaccine.

See: Quarantine-free travel to resume on 19 July for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber list countries - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

How to do a coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow test at home

Find out how to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test at home for yourself (or a child) and report the results. Rapid tests are only for people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

See: How to do a coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow test at home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Red, amber and green list rules for entering England

Countries rated as red, amber or green for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the rules you must follow to enter England.

See: Red, amber and green list rules for entering England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)