This page is kept up to date with a summary of the latest guidance we've issued throughout the week, giving you a snapshot overview of the key announcements and updates.

The following update was published at 9.00am on Friday 23 October 2020.

Here are the latest announcements we feel you need to know:

Enhancements to the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme

The Chancellor announced two new schemes on Wednesday 21 October under the main Job Support Scheme (JSS). The schemes are: JSS Open - this is for those businesses continuing to operate; and JSS Closed - for those businesses forced to close due to local or national restrictions. Initial guidance has been released which explains the schemes in more detail, although we are currently awaiting full guidance from HMRC on the technical calculations. In the meantime we've summarised the key points in our latest blog here.  

Coronavirus Restrictions Fund increased to £48 million

The Scottish Government's Coronavirus Restrictions Fund, which opened for applications on 20 October, has increased by £8 million to £48 million, increasing the level of grants available to affected businesses. The Fund was set up to help businesses in the hospitality sector impacted by the current lockdown restrictions. We've covered the new grant levels, associated to business rates, in our updated blog here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - enhanced support announced

The second phase of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) closed on 19 October, with the third phase scheduled to open on 2 November. The Chancellor has now announced an increase to the funding available. Eligible claimants can now apply for 40% of their average monthly profits (originally it was set at 20%) with grants capped at £3,750. Where are we now with SEISS? We've explained the changes in our blog here

Recent announcements to bear in mind:

Extended SEISS and deferred income tax

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended for those currently eligible, and a deadline extension has also been announced for self-assessment tax payers with tax debt up to £30,000. More information can be found here. 

Government lending schemes

The new 'Pay as You Grow' flexible repayment system will provide flexibility for firms repaying a Bounce Back Loan and includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, which will cut monthly repayments by nearly half.

Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.

In addition, under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders now have the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

The Chancellor also announced he would be extending applications for the government’s coronavirus loan schemes until the end of November. As a result, more businesses will now be able to benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund.

For more information on how to access the different government lending schemes, please visit our Coronavirus Hub.       

VAT cuts and deferrals

Two VAT announcements were made - one heavily speculated, the other not - but both welcome.

The current 5% reduced rate for tourism and hospitality businesses, due to end in January, will now last until 31 March 2021. The scope remains the same. Further details can be found here

Additionally, VAT payments which were deferred back in March to June this year were due to be repaid in full by 31 March 2021. This has now been extended to allow the 2020 deferral to be repaid over 12 months interest free. The full detail for this has not yet been published, but when it does, we will update the insight here.     

COVID-19 tax amendments

In this short blog we give an overview of the key tax changes brought in to combat the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on businesses and individuals - find out more here.

Impact of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on R&D claims

Companies will soon need to consider the impact of furloughed staff on their future R&D claims. This will form part of the work that we undertake in preparing our clients’ claims, but there are two key aspects to consider. We explain more here.