Companies House Stops Postal Reminders for Annual Returns

The confirmation statement explainedCompanies House will no longer send out postal reminders for filing your Annual Return, now known as the Confirmation Statement, as part of their aim to become a fully-digital organisation and all companies should now register for the email reminder service

They say that Companies who have already switched to email reminders from paper are more likely to file their accounts and confirmation statement (annual return) on time, and are less likely to get a penalty for filing their accounts late.

Their email reminder service is free and has many advantages over the paper system. You can:

  • choose up to 4 people to receive a reminder (including an agent)
  • file your document immediately from a link within the reminder
  • receive reminders more conveniently
  • use less paper, contributing to saving the environment

How to register

  1. sign in to the Companies House online filing service
  2. select ‘Get email reminders’ from your company overview screen
  3. click ‘Add an email address’
  4. enter your email address (a maximum of 4 per company)
  5. click the link in the email Companies House sends you to validate your email address
  6. agree to the terms of operation

They will send you an email when you have successfully joined the reminder service.

New users will need to register to use the Companies House online filing service.

You can file your Confirmation Statement here

Protect Your Business From Cyber Crime

Unfortunately, criminals will use every opportunity they can to scam innocent people and their businesses. They are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.

How to protect your business

Stop

  • if you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details, or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think

Challenge

  • it could be a fake – verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first

Protect

  • contact your business’s bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed and report it to Action Fraud

National Cyber Security Centre

The National Cyber Security Centre also has advice on how to keep your business secure online

News from HMRC about Furlough (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme)

The new Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on Sunday 1 November, has now been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), (Furlough), which was due to end on 31‌ October, will now be extended, with the UK government paying 80% of wages for the hours furloughed employees do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 for periods from 1 November.  Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended Job Retention Scheme.

You will need to pay all employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions. You can choose to top up your furloughed employees’ wages beyond the 80% paid by the UK government for hours not worked, but you are not required to do so.

There will be no gap in support between the previously announced end date of CJRS and this extension.

Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the original scheme, which was due to end on 31st October 2020. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.  ACAS also provides more details here

What you need to do now

  • Check if your employees are eligible for the scheme here
  • Agree working hours with your employees, so they know if they are furloughed fully or part-time during November.
  • Keep the records that support the amount of CJRS grant you claim, in case HMRC need to check it.  You can view, print or download copies of your previously submitted claims by logging onto your CJRS service on GOV‌.UK.‌ 

Further help and advice can be found here

Holding Charity Meetings During Lockdown

Charity Commission LogoFrom the Charity Commission

Coronavirus continues to have a major impact on charity events and trustees need to consider how and if they can hold meetings.

Charitable companies and Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) can hold AGMs and other members’ meetings online.  This temporary amendment is in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 and also applies to exempt charities that are community benefit or friendly societies.  It was extended from 30 September to 30 December 2020 but may be extended again if the government thinks this is needed. We will update with any changes if they happen.

For other types of meetings, or for any other type of charity, trustees need to check if their charity’s governing document allows them to hold meetings online or by telephone. Where it does not, an alternative may be to amend it to allow meetings to be held in this way.

Holding meetings online or by telephone

In the current situation, it may be difficult to hold face-to-face meetings. Some charities have clauses in their governing documents that allow them to meet virtually or to use telephone facilities, so we advise trustees to check their governing document and see if they can make amendments themselves to facilitate changes as to how or when meetings are held.

Generally, if there is no such clause in the governing document and you decide to hold meetings over the phone or using digital solutions, we will understand but you should record this decision and that you have done this to demonstrate good governance of your charity.

In the specific cases of members’ meetings (not trustee / director meetings) of Charitable Incorporated Organisations or charitable companies, held between 26 March 2020 and 30 December 2020:

  • they may be held by phone / video or other electronic means, even if the governing document requires them to be held physically face-to-face
  • members still have the right to vote, but the charity can require this to be done electronically, or by other means (such as by post)
  • members will not have the right to attend a meeting in person or participate in meetings other than to vote

If you rely on these provisions, you must ensure that this decision is recorded in the minutes and that all other meeting requirements are met. You should ensure that you have a robust system to ensure only those eligible to vote can do so and that you record who has voted and the percentages of votes cast.

The Job Retention Bonus

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus, set to benefit millions of  businesses - GOV.UKThe Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.

You’ll be able to claim the bonus between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.

There are some steps you need to take now to make sure you’re ready to claim.

You must:

  • still be enrolled for PAYE online
  • comply with your PAYE obligations to file PAYE accurately and on time under Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees between 6 April 2020 and 5 February 2021
  • keep your payroll up to date and make sure you report the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you before the end of the pay period that they leave in
  • use the irregular payment pattern indicator in Real Time Information (RTI) for any employees not being paid regularly
  • comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims

Check if you can claim the Job Retention Bonus from 15 February 2021 here

You cannot claim the Job Retention Bonus until 15 February 2021. This guidance will be updated by the end of January 2021 with how to access the online claim service on GOV.UK.

Job Support Scheme

Job Support Scheme: The details mobility retailers and suppliers need to  know • THIIS MagazineThe Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.

The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

This Job Support Scheme factsheet explains what is covered by the grant, which employers and employees are eligible, and how to claim

Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks

A quiet, but major, shift in who decides GOV.UK Verify's future | THINK  Digital Partners : THINK Digital PartnersAdvice for employers carrying out right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This is to make it easier for employers to carry them out.

As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:

  • checks can now be carried out over video calls
  • job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents listed in right to work checks: an employer’s guide. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Because of COVID-19, some individuals may be unable to evidence their right to work. During this period, you must take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents. For more information, please see the code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.

Conducting a right to work check during the temporary COVID-19 measures

  • Ask the worker to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app
  • Arrange a video call with the worker – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents
  • Record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”
  • If the worker has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or status under the EU Settlement Scheme you can use the online right to work checking service while doing a video call – the applicant must give you permission to view their details

If the job applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents

You must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service. If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will send you a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This provides you with a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.

After the COVID-19 measures end

We will let you know in advance when these measures will end. After that date, you should follow the checking process set out in right to work checks: an employer’s guide.

You will be asked to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees who:

  • started working for you during these measures
  • required a follow-up right to work check during these measures

You should mark this check: “the individual’s contract commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to work check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”

The retrospective check must be carried out within 8 weeks of the COVID-19 measures ending. Both checks should be kept for your records.

The Home Office will not take any enforcement action against you if you carried out the adjusted check set out in this guidance, or a check via the Home Office, and follow this up with the retrospective check.

If, at the point of carrying out the retrospective check, you find your employee does not have permission to be in the UK you must end their employment.

If the check you have undertaken during the adjusted period was done in the prescribed manner, you do not need to undertake a retrospective check.

From Furlough to Redundancy

Furlough and redundancy pay - McCabe and Co SolicitorsNew laws came into force on 31st July 2020 to protect the rights of employees who were furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Throughout the pandemic, the government has urged businesses to do right by their employees.  The majority of businesses have done so, however, there are a minority who have not.

The new laws ensure that furloughed employees who are then made redundant will receive redundancy pay based on their normal wage, rather than a reduced furlough rate

The new laws also apply to statutory notice pay and other entitlements, providing some reassurance during this difficult time.  During this notice period, employees must be paid and notice pay is based on normal wages, rather than their wages under the CJRS.

Employees with more than 2 years’ continuous service who are made redundant are usually entitled to a statutory redundancy payment that is based on length of service, age and pay, up to a statutory maximum. 

FURLOUGH – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Changes

FurloughThe Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close on 31 October 2020.

From 1 August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month

The table below shows Government contribution, required employer contribution and amount employee receives where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time.

Wage caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

  July August September October
Government contribution: employer NICs and pension contributions Yes No No No
Government contribution: wages 80% up to £2,500 80% up to £2,500 70% up to £2,187.50 60% up to £1,875
Employer contribution: employer NICs and pension contributions No Yes Yes Yes
Employer contribution: wages 10% up to £312.50 20% up to £625
Employee receives 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month

More information can be found here

Spring Newsletter 2020

Newsletter Spring 2020

Our Spring Newsletter 2020 should have arrived with you by post – if it hasn’t please let us know by emailing us here, or download it by clicking here:

Newsletter Spring 2020

This issue includes articles on National Insurance Contributions, Tax and Benefit changes; Free Payroll Software; Audit or Independent Examination of Accounts; Workplace Pensions; Lost Pensions