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Coronavirus support – how we can help

The tax charities Tax Help for Older People and TaxAid are continuing to work hard to support individuals with their tax difficulties during this pandemic.

In addition to our ongoing work, we are now offering targeted support for those affected by the impact of Covid-19, who are self-employed and also those who need urgent help to understand and implement the furlough scheme for themselves.

The information below outlines how we can help those who need support to get the funding they are eligible for.

Self Employment Support Scheme

The Government is offering financial help through its Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Part of the eligibility for this funding was that 2018/19 tax returns had to be submitted to HMRC by the 23rd April 2020. If you did not meet this deadline, you are unlikely to be eligible for the financial help and will need to seek other support. Citizens Advice has information on this: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/coronavirus-if-youre-self-employed/

I am eligible for the financial support – what happens next?

The Government is contacting all those who are eligible for the financial support just now and the grant application started to open from 13 May. Once you have claimed, the grant takes 6 working days to be paid into your bank account.

‘Thank you to Gail for her help yesterday ... I was just about resigned to missing the deadline but she saved the day !!’

The grant application itself is relatively straightforward, but you will need to make sure you have your Government Gateway ID and password set up ready if you are claiming online. We have more information on what you can do to to prepare for the grant claim, including setting up the Government Gateway ID HERE.

If, for any reason you cannot claim for your grant online, you can instead call the HMRC helpline on 0800 024 1222 and select option 2. The line is open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. Please note this line is likely to get very busy, so it is best to try and call early if you can.

If you want to know how much grant you may be able to access from the Government, Deloitte has created a ‘Self-employment Income Support Scheme Calculator’ : https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/tax/articles/self-employment-income-support-scheme-calculator.html

If you have any questions

You can call our dedicated helpline 0345 120 3779 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm In addition to our helpline, we have short, easy to follow YouTube videos which answer some of the common questions we are already getting. Our YouTube channel can be found HERE.

The Low Income Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is also keeping up to date with changes as they occur and has a range of useful guides and information depending on your circumstances on their website: https://www.litrg.org.uk/tax-guides/coronavirus-guidance

The Furlough Scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme/CJRS)

The tax charities are responding to calls for help from agency workers paid via a limited company, directors of limited companies and those working for umbrella companies that need urgent help to understand and implement the furlough scheme for themselves.

Many of these individuals do not have the support of accountants and their companies may not be large enough to have a payroll department so they are struggling to find the correct information and advice on if and how the furlough scheme applies to them. This means that there are still many missing out on essential financial support from the Government during the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic.

What is the furlough scheme?

  • If eligible, the state pays the employer 80% of an employee’s salary, up to £2,500/month (you'll still pay tax and national insurance contributions on this wage via PAYE as usual)
  • If you are a Director of a limited company your company will be the employer, and you the employee so you may need to furlough yourself
  • You need to have been on the payroll on 19 March 2020
  • You will not be able to work for the company/employer, whilst on furlough

More information available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

How can the tax charities help?

  • We have a helpline on 0345 120 3779 open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm to take your calls and help with any questions you have on this scheme
  • We can help you to understand whether the furlough scheme applies to you as an agency worker paid via a limited company/director of a limited company/worker for an umbrella company
  • If you are eligible for the scheme, we can advise you on how to apply
  • We can help you to complete the calculations required to work out how much to claim from HMRC