Updates on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, plus Delaying Import Duty and VAT

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Updated

1) Updated CJRS Guidance from The Treasury

The Treasury has published updated guidance on the CJRS including further details on directors’ pay, confirming that furloughed employees cannot be asked to work for a linked or associated company as well as more information on how to apply CJRS to employees working for more than one employer.

Full details are available here.

2) PAYE Online

HMRC has now started testing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal on a small number of employers ready for the planned full release on 20th April. Any employer looking to claim back 80% of furloughed employees pay under CJRS will need to make the necessary claim via the online portal.

To access the portal and to make a claim, the employer must be enrolled for PAYE online. If you are not currently registered for this service, you should do so urgently to minimise the delay in claiming CJRS payments.

It can take HMRC up to 10 days to be issued an activation code for new online PAYE users. The code is sent via post to the PAYE registered address.

Details of how to register for PAYE online are available from HRMC’s website are here.

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Delaying Import Duty and VAT 

Duty deferment account holders

Duty deferment account holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended. The account holder should contact the Duty Deferment Office 03000 594243 or by emailcdoenquiries@hmrc.gov.uk  or the COVID-19 helpline on 0800 024 1222. Account holders will be asked to provide an explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted their business finances and cash flow.

Duty Deferment account holders will be able to use their accounts during the extended payment period agreed unless they default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending their account. The outstanding payment will not affect their duty deferment limit so they will not need to increase their guarantee to cover the outstanding payment. Where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest will not be charged on the outstanding payments provided they are paid in full by the agreed date.

Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account
Registered Importers who pay cash or an equivalent and are facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of Covid-19 can contact HMRC to request an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due. They will be asked to provide an explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted on their business finances. HMRC will consider this request and decide whether or not to agree an additional time to pay. The decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis and could be refused.

If the request is approved the conditions, including the length of time offered, will depend upon the importer’s individual circumstances and may require the holding of a guarantee for the period of the time extension. HMRC cannot offer this facility to non-registered importers. For further information, please contact the Customs Debt Policy inbox (custdebtrr.customspolicy@hmrc.gov.uk)

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