Welcome to our round up of the latest business and 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!
75% of people in Wales have received both doses of the vaccine. The latest of figures released Friday 16 July show that after 7 months 1,892,082 people have had both vaccines and completed the course and 2,279,139 people or 90.3% of the country have had their first dose.
Last week First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that restrictions would be eased as follows:
From Saturday 17 July Wales completed the move to alert level 1:
- Up to 6 people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
- Organised indoor events for up to 1,000 seated or 200 standing can take place, subject to a risk assessment and taking reasonable measures
- Ice rinks can re-open
- Remove the legal restrictions on the number of people who can gather outdoors
- Allow up to 30 children from organisations, such as the Brownies and Scouts, to attend residential centres over the summer holidays
From Saturday 7 August (if conditions allow) Wales will complete the move to alert level 0:
- Remove legal restrictions on the number of people who can meet indoors, including in private homes, public places or at events
- All businesses and premises can open, including nightclubs
- People should still work from home wherever possible
- Face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises. This will be kept under review.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has said people travelling into Wales from England will be told to wear face masks by rail companies, Face coverings continue to be mandatory on public transport and in shops in Wales, while in England people will just be advised to wear them.
Rules for Foreign Travel to and From Wales
From today, fully vaccinated adults returning from amber list countries, and under-18s, will no longer need to self-isolate, travellers will need to continue to take a pre-departure and PCR test on day two following their arrival in the UK. Arrivals from France will need to quarantine for 10 days.
Following the latest three-week review of red, amber and green country lists for international travel, Wales will continue to follow the same traffic-light approach as the rest of the UK. This means that from 19 July:
- Bulgaria, Croatia, Hong Kong and Taiwan will move from the amber list to the green list.
- The Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands will move from the green list to the amber list.
- Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone will move from the amber list to the red list.
Summer Staff: National Minimum Wage Rate Reminder for Employers
All workers are legally entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This includes temporary seasonal staff, who often work short-term contracts in bars, hotels, shops and warehouses over the summer.
The National Minimum Wage hourly rates from 1 April 2021 are:
- £8.91 – age 23 or over (National Living Wage)
- £8.36 – age 21 to 22
- £6.56 – age 18 to 20
- £4.62 – age under 18
- £4.30 – apprentice
Employers who do not pay the NMW can be publicly ‘named and shamed’ and those who blatantly fail to comply can face criminal prosecution.
UK Trade Tariff: Duty Suspensions and Tariff Quotas
Duty suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace. They do this by suspending import duties on certain goods, normally those used in domestic production.
These suspensions do not apply to other duties that may be chargeable like VAT or the anti-dumping duty. Duty suspensions allow unlimited quantities to be imported into the UK at a reduced tariff rate. Autonomous Tariff Quotas (ATQs) allow limited quantities to be imported at a reduced rate.
Duty suspensions and ATQs are temporary and can be used by any UK business while in force. They are applied on a ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (‘MFN’) basis. This means that goods subject to these suspensions or quotas can be imported into the UK from any country or territory at the specified reduced tariff rate. Find the current duty suspensions and quotas using the Trade Tariff Lookup Tool.
The 2021 window to apply for a duty suspension will close on 31 July 2021.
For further information see: UK Trade Tariff: duty suspensions and tariff quotas – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Delaying Declarations for EU Goods Brought into Great Britain
Businesses can delay sending HMRC full information about goods by up to 175 days before the deadline of 31 December 2021. After that full customs declarations must be made at the point of import for all goods.
For goods brought into Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) from the EU, you (or someone who deals with customs for you) may be able to delay sending HMRC the full information about your goods by up to 175 days after import.
However, you cannot delay declarations and must follow the normal rules for making an import declaration if either:
- Your goods are controlled
- HMRC has told you to because you have a poor compliance record
You can delay declarations if you import goods into free circulation in Great Britain from EU free circulation between 1 January and 31 December 2021, your goods are not controlled and HMRC has not told you that you cannot delay declarations.
Making a Full Customs Declaration
From 1 January 2022 your business will need to do a full customs declaration at the point of import for all goods.
Also, if you are moving goods into Great Britain, into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, or into Northern Ireland from outside the EU, you will need to make an entry summary declaration.
Businesses are still able to use postponed VAT accounting (PVA) to account for import VAT on their VAT returns.
Accounting for import VAT on your VAT Return means you will declare and recover import VAT on the same VAT return, rather than having to pay it upfront and recover it later.
You will need to get your monthly postponed import VAT statement to do this.
The normal rules about what VAT can be reclaimed as input tax will apply.
Intellectual Property Office Launches Digital IP Renewal Service
Following a successful trial period, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has officially launched their new digital renewals service.
The online service offers IPO’s customers a way to renew up to 1,500 intellectual property (IP) rights in a single digital transaction. These rights include combinations of patents, trademarks and designs.
The service offers several benefits to the IPO’s customers. It:
- Streamlines the bulk renewals process
- Provides instant validation of renewal applications
- Eliminates errors resulting from a manual process
Customers also benefit from automated electronic delivery of correspondence and receipts, certificates, and ability to complete transactions at the time and place that suits them.
The renewals service offers a taster of what you can expect from the IPO in future. As part of their One IPO Transformation Programme, work is underway to develop a single, integrated system for all registered IP rights. The new, paper-free system would allow IP owners to access all IPO’s services through one digital account, and easily manage all of their IP rights in one place.
For updates about the IPO’s transformation programme, you can email [email protected].
Off-Payroll Working – Will HMRC Accept CEST Result?
Since 6 April 2021 large and medium-sized organisations, based on the Companies Act criteria, have had to determine whether or not a worker supplying his services via their own personal service company would be treated as an employee if directly engaged. This replaced the IR35 rules for these larger organisations.
HMRC suggest organisations use their Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool on their website to check the worker’s status, although that is not obligatory. The tool is an interactive database of questions and will normally provide a ruling after 15 to 20 questions depending on the answers given about the contractual relationship.
HMRC have recently confirmed that they will be bound by the result of the software provided the information is accurate and it is used in accordance with their guidance.
HMRC have also stated that they will not stand by results achieved through contrived arrangements that have been deliberately created or designed to get a particular outcome. They would see that as deliberate non-compliance, and potentially levy financial penalties.
Note that the end-user organisation is required to issue a Status Determination Statement to the worker with a copy to any agency to be passed to any fee payer in the labour supply chain making payments to the personal service company.
UK Government Fund Opens for Bids From Communities Across Wales
A Fund has been announced for Wales and will give local groups the chance to become owners of at-risk local pubs, theatres, post offices, sports grounds and corner shops.
The Community Ownership Fund bidding prospectus provides detailed guidance on the purpose of the fund, eligibility criteria, funding and support assessment criteria and the decision-making process.
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.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Update
The CJRS has been extended until 30 September 2021. From 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.
Employers will top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of wages (up to £2,500) in total for the hours the employee is on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.
From 1 August 2021, the government will pay 60% of wages for furlough employees up to £1,875. From 1 July 2021, employers will top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of wages (up to £2,500).
Download a template if you’re claiming for 16 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Complete a template with the details of the employees you’re claiming for and upload this when you claim (for claims on or after 1 July 2020). These templates have been updated.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – Get Ready to Claim the Fifth Grant
HMRC has provided a new video about the SEISS fifth grant.
Work Out Your Turnover so you can Claim the Fifth SEISS Grant
The introduction to the guidance has been edited to explain that you would need to tell HMRC about your turnover if you traded in 2019 to 2020 as well as any of the other tax years listed. The section ‘How to work out your April 2020 to April 2021 turnover’ has been updated with examples of start dates you can use.
Risk Management Template For Event Organisers
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has provided a resource to help event organisers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in event settings. This resource sets out examples of the types of risk mitigation measures event organisers can put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events.
This should be used in conjunction with the events and attractions guidance, which explains the types of events which may need to take additional measures and how these measures can help to reduce risk. It also includes more detail on how you can put these measures in place in different settings.
Welsh Government Support for Businesses Impacted by Covid Restrictions
Businesses in Wales that continue to be affected by Covid restrictions will receive up to £25,000 of additional support from the Welsh Government. The emergency package of support will cover the operating costs for July and August 2021 of businesses required to remain closed and who remain severely impacted as a result of the continuation of the restrictions.
Eligible businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors and their supply chains who continue to be severely impacted by restrictions, such as travel agents, attractions limited by social distancing and venues for school visits, will also be eligible to apply for support.
Eligible businesses will be entitled to an additional payment of between £1,000 and £25,000, depending on their size, structure and circumstance, to cover the period up to the end of August 2021.
To qualify for support, businesses must show their turnover has reduced by more than 60% compared to the corresponding timeline in 2019 or equivalent. All eligible businesses will need to apply for the funding.
Applications for the ERF with a turnover of more than £85,000 are now open and will close at midday on Tuesday 27 July 2021. The eligibility checker is open on the Business Wales website.
For further information visit GOV.Wales.
£500 Self-Isolation Support Payment Scheme Extended
The Self-Isolation Support Scheme was opened in November 2020 to breakdown some of the financial barriers faced by people who are told to isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect (TTP) service because they have symptoms of coronavirus or are a close contact.
It helps support those who cannot work from home as well as parents and carers on low incomes with children who are self-isolating. The Welsh Government scheme which supports people on low-pay with a £500 payment if they have to self-isolate is being extended until March 2022.
For further information visit GOV.Wales.
Support Your Staff’s Financial Resilience and Wellbeing
The pandemic has brought into focus the financial vulnerability of those who have little or no savings. Now is a good time to improve the financial wellbeing of your employees, and the Welsh Government is asking employers to help by partnering with a credit union to offer work based payroll savings and access to affordable credit.
Payroll savings schemes are simple to set up, are free of charge, and are a really effective way to build a financial safety net, helping people to better cope with short-term financial shocks and reducing worries and anxieties about money.
In Wales, there are 16 credit unions offering payroll savings, all of whom also offer a range of affordable and responsible lending products and savings, accessed through their offices and online.
If you would like to sign up to offer worked based savings, please contact your local credit union using this link: Payroll Partners – Credit Unions of Wales or email [email protected].