To make it easier for you to find relevant and useful information, here are questions other businesses are asking us:
- Question : My VAT quarter runs from 1 January to 31 March 2020. I am due to pay over VAT to HMRC on 7th April. Do I need to do anything or is the VAT payment automatically deferred?
Answer : You are quite right, HMRC have agreed a deferral for VAT payments. It applies from 20th March to 30th June 2020. All VAT registered traders are eligible. This will generally mean the deferral of one quarter’s VAT: the payment due on 7 April, 7 May or 7 June 2020 or the monthly payments due on each of these dates. This is an automatic offer and no application is required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. The Tax Faculty has asked HMRC to confirm whether it will automatically suspend collection of direct debit payments of VAT during this period and is awaiting a response. If HMRC does not automatically suspend direct debit payments businesses will need to cancel their direct debit mandate and will need to remember to set it up again in due course. Agents cannot set up direct debit mandates on behalf of taxpayers. Taxpayers have until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to pay any liabilities that accumulate during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal. It is important to remember that businesses should continue to file their VAT returns by the due date.
- Question: "We are due to file our Company financial statements by 31 March 2020, given the current situation can we delay filing?"
Answer: Businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. Please click here for further information.
- Question: "We are ready to sign our financial statements and file these at Companies House. Can we do this electronically?"
Answer : Yes you can! There are two options here. (1) For certain types of accounts your Ecovis contact can file these online via e-filing with Companies House. These include micro-entity accounts, abridged accounts, dormant company accounts and full financial statements. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but your Ecovis contact can guide you. Please note audited financial statements cannot go down this route, nor LLPs. (2) For all financial statements, audited or not, there is the option to achieve sign-off via DocuSign, a recognised electronic signature. We can facilitate this process through our system and can arrange for filing to be completed at Companies House. As always, please get in touch with your usual Ecovis contact who can guide you through the best and most suitable process.
- Question: "We understand that the changes in respect of off-payroll workers (IR35) have been postponed for 12 months, and will now not come into effect until 6th April 2021. Is this correct? What do I need to consider here?"
Answer: The government has postponed the planned reforms to the IR35 tax rules until 2021 as it attempts to alleviate pressure on businesses and individuals amid the impact of Covid-19. This is a deferral and not a cancellation. The new tools released are still very much applicable, including the updated Check Employee Status for Tax (“CEST”) and the changes to Appendix I, specifically for the Television and Film industry. Please get in touch with your usual Ecovis contact if you have any further queries.
- Question: "I'm receiving more suspicious-looking emails recently. Is there any advice you can give?"
Answer: At this time there will, sadly, be an increased frequency of opportunistic fraudsters looking to capitalise on the disruption being experienced by businesses right now. Please remain extra vigilant to potential scams (CEO impersonation fraud, invoice fraud etc) during this period of disruption and help keep your clients aware of this too. Here is some HMRC guidance and Government Fraud Control guidance which may be helpful.