Client access Client access

Category: Self Employed

Voluntary Class 2 NICs where 2019/20 tax return filed after 31 January 2021

Voluntary Class 2 NICs where 2019/20 tax return filed after 31 January 2021

If you are self-employed, you will pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions if your profits exceed the relevant thresholds. Class 2 National Insurance contributions are the mechanism by which you build up qualifying years to earn entitlement to the state pension and certain contributory benefits. If your profits are below the small profits threshold, you can opt to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions voluntarily to maintain your National Insurance record.

Extended deadline for filing 2019/20 tax return

The normal filing deadline for the 2019/20 self-assessment tax return was 31 January 2021. However, to help taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC waived the late filing penalty that would usually apply where a return was filed after 31 January, as long as the return was filed by midnight on 28 February 2021. This effectively extended the filing window by one month.

This had unintended consequences for self-employed taxpayers who opted to file their 2019/20 tax return in February 2021, and who chose to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions voluntarily where their profits for 2019/20 were below the small profits threshold for that year of £6,365.

Nature of the problem

HMRC’s systems were unable to deal with the payment of voluntary Class 2 contributions where the 2019/20 tax return was filed after 31 January 2021. They did not have time to implement alternative procedures either.

The normal deadline for paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions for 2019/20 was 31 January 2021.

If you opted to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions voluntarily and paid by this date but before the return was filed, they could not be processed as HMRC were unaware of what the payment related to. This may be the case if you made the payment before the 31 January 2021 deadline, but filed your tax return in February 2021.

If you filed your return in February 2021 and paid your voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions when you filed your return, the contributions were paid late as they were paid after 31 January 2021. In this situation, HMRC corrected your return to remove the voluntary contributions.

Payments made in respect of voluntary Class 2 contributions in these circumstances were allocated elsewhere, held on account or refunded.

The solution

If you have been affected by this issue, you should contact HMRC on 0300 200 3500 as soon as you become aware that this is the case, for example, when you receive a refund, or see from your personal tax account that your contributions have been allocated against another payment.

If you have already received a refund, HMRC will let you know how you can pay Class 2 contributions voluntarily. If you have not already received a refund, they will ensure that the payment is correctly recorded as Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

Check your National Insurance record

It is advisable to check your National Insurance record to see if you have any gaps. Failure to contact HMRC if you have been affected by the above issue may mean that you do not receive a credit for 2019/20, resulting in a gap in your contributions record.

Contact us

Contact us if you paid voluntary Class 2 National Insurance for 2019/20 and filed your return in February 2021 to check that your contributions have been credited to your account.

June 28, 2021

Extended carry-back for losses

Extended carry-back for losses

To help businesses which have suffered losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the period for which certain trading losses can be carried back is extended from one year to three years. The extended carry-back period applies for both income tax and corporation tax purposes. If you have made losses as a result of the impact of the pandemic, you may be able to take advantage of the extended carry-back period to generate a welcome tax repayment. Guidance on the rules can be found on the Gov.uk website.

Income tax

Where a trading loss is made by an unincorporated business, there are a number of options available to relieve that loss. The options open to a particular business depend on when in the business lifecycle the loss is incurred, and also whether the business prepares its accounts using the cash basis or the accrual basis. The loss can be set against general income of the current and/or previous year, and also against future trading profits of the same trade, with special rules applying to relieve losses incurred in the early years of the trade, and in the final year.

One option for obtaining relief for a trading loss is to set the loss against general income of the year of the loss and/or the previous year. However, where accounts are prepared using the cash basis, sideways loss relief against other income or relief against capital gains is not permitted – the loss can only be set against trading profits of the same trade.

The temporary extension to the carry-back rules extends the period for which the loss can be carried back from one year to three years. Where a claim is made under the new rules, losses are set against the trading profits of a later year before those of an early year. Any loss carried back under the temporary carry-back rules can only be set against previous trading profits of the same trade – there is no extension to other income.

Relief for a 2020/21 loss

Unless the business is a new business to which the opening year basis period rules apply, a loss for the 2020/21 tax year will be a loss for an accounting period ending in that year, i.e., between 6 April 2020 and 5 April 2021.

The extended carry back is available where a claim is made to relieve the loss against general income of 2020/21 and/or 2019/20 and income in these years is insufficient to utilise the full loss. The unrelieved loss can be carried back and set against trading profits of 2018/19 and, to the extent that any of the loss remains unrelieved, against trading profits of 2017/18. It is not possible to tailor the loss to preserve personal allowances — it must be set in full against the available trading profits.

To the extent that the loss remains unrelieved after making a claim under the extended carry-back rules, it can be carried forward for relief against future profits of the same trade.

Relief for a 2021/22 loss

The extended carry-back period is also available for a 2021/22 loss. For an established business, this will be a loss for an accounting period which ends between 6 April 2021 and 5 April 2022.

As with a loss for 2020/21, the temporary rules allow a loss for 2021/22 which cannot be fully relieved against income of 2021/22 and 2020/21 to be carried back. The unrelieved loss can be set first against trading profits of the same trade for 2019/20 and, to the extent that any of the loss remains unrelieved, against trading profits of 2018/19.

If a claim has been made to relieve a 2020/21 loss against general income of 2019/20, this takes precedence over a claim to carry back a 2021/22 loss against trading profits of 2019/20 under the new rules.

Cap on loss relief

The normal cap on loss relief of £50,000 or, where higher, 25% of adjusted net income, does not apply to losses relieved under the extended carry-back rules. Instead, the loss that can be carried back for each year is capped at £2 million.

Corporation tax

For corporation tax purposes, a loss can be carried back and set against profits from the same trade for the previous accounting period or carried forward and set against future profits of the same trade. The period for which losses can be carried back is extended from one year to three years for a limited period.

The extended carry-back period applies to losses for accounting periods ending between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2022. For each accounting period, the loss that can be carried back under the new rules is capped at £2 million. Where a company is part of a group, the cap applies to the group as a whole. Losses carried back must be set against the profits of a later period before those of an earlier period.

Benefits of carrying a loss back

The ability to carry a loss back can be beneficial where this generates a repayment of tax already paid for a previous year. This will be particularly true for companies within the charge for corporation tax.

For unincorporated businesses the position is more complex where carrying back a loss results in personal allowances being wasted. Where this is the case, and the trader expects to return to profit, it may be preferable to carry the loss forward for use against future trading profits of the same trade. The best result will depend on individual circumstances and priorities, and there is no substitute for doing the sums.

Speak to us

If you have realised a loss, or expect to, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, speak to us to find out how best to obtain relief for that loss.

May 5, 2021

Further grants available under the SEISS

Further grants available under the SEISS

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provides grant support to eligible self-employed taxpayers who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A further two grants are to be paid under the scheme. In addition, the scheme has been expanded to include those who commenced self-employment in 2019/20. Guidance on the grants can be found on the Gov.uk website.

Fourth grant

The fourth grant covers February, March and April 2021 and is worth 80% of average profits for three months, capped at £7,500. The grant can be claimed from late April 2021, and will be paid in a single instalment. The claim window will run until 31 May 2021.

A trader will be eligible to claim if they have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This test will be met if the trader is currently trading but has suffered reduced demand as a result of the pandemic, or if they have been trading but are unable to do so temporarily due to Coronavirus. Suffering additional costs where demand has not fallen does not qualify the trader for the grant.

As previously, a trader can only benefit from the scheme if their trading profits are no more than £50,000 and comprise at least 50% of the trader’s total income. HMRC will look first at the trader’s profits as returned on their tax return for 2019/20. Where these are more than £50,000, HMRC will look at average profits over 2016/17 to 2019/20. The rules are modified if the trader did not trade in all of those years.

Fifth grant

The fifth and final grant covers the period from May to September 2021. Unlike the previous grants, the amount of the fifth grant depends on the extent to which turnover has fallen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traders will be able to claim the fifth grant from late July.

Turnover has fallen by at least 30%

Where the trader’s turnover has fallen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by at least 30%, the fifth grant will be worth 80% of three months’ average profits capped at £7,500.

Turnover has fallen by less than 30%

Traders who have been less severely affected by the pandemic will receive a lower grant. Where turnover has fallen by less than 30%, the fifth grant will be worth 30% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850.

The Government will publish further details on the fifth grant in due course.

Newly self-employed

When initially launched, the scheme was only available to traders who had filed their 2018/19 self-assessment tax return by 23 April 2020. However, as the deadline for filing the 2019/20 tax return has now passed, taxpayers who commenced self-employment in 2019/20 are able to claim the fourth and fifth grants, as long as they meet the usual eligibility criteria and they traded in both 2019/20 and 2020/21 and submitted their 2019/20 tax return by midnight on 2 March 2021.

Contact us

Contact us to find out whether you are eligible for the fourth and fifth grants under the SEISS, and what the grant is worth to you.

April 9, 2021

SEISS grant increased

SEISS grant increased

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEIS) will now run until 30 April 2021, providing two further grants – one for the three months from 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 and one for the three months from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021. Since the extension to the scheme was originally announced, the amount of the first of these grants has been increased several times. The amount of the final grant has yet to be set.

Amount of the third grant

The third grant payable under the SEISS will now be set at 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500.

As for the first two grants, the amount of the third grant is calculated by reference to average profits over the 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 tax years, with the calculation modified if you did not trade in all three of these years.

Claiming the grant

The qualifying conditions for the scheme remain the same. You can claim the third grant if you are currently actively trading but demand has fallen as a result of Coronavirus, or if you were trading previously, but are unable to do so as a result of Coronavirus. You do not need to have made a previous claim.

You can claim the third grant from 30 November 2020.

How we can help

Although we cannot make the claim on your behalf, we can help you work out whether you are eligible for the third grant and the amount to which you are entitled. Get in touch to find out more.

November 11, 2020

Further extension to the SEISS

Further extension to the SEISS

To help self-employed individuals who continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been extended for a further six months, from November 2020 to April 2021.

Grants payable under the extended scheme

The extended scheme will provide two taxable grants for the self-employed. Availability of the grants is limited to those who meet the eligibility conditions for the scheme and who are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand as a result of COVID-19.

The first grant covers the three-month period from 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021. It will be based on 40% (rather than 20%, as originally announced) of average monthly profits for a period of three months, capped at £3,750 in total.

The second grant will cover the three-month period from 1 February 2020 to 30 April 2021. The level of the second grant has yet to be set.

As with the earlier grants, any grant that you receive under the extended scheme is taxable and subject to National Insurance.

HMRC are to provide details in due course on claiming the grants.

Talk to us

Contact us to find out whether you are eligible for a grant under the extended SEISS scheme.

October 15, 2020

Final SEISS grant

Final SEISS grant

The Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provides grants to self-employed taxpayers whose business has been adversely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Eligible taxpayers can now claim the second and final grant under the scheme. Grants paid out under the scheme are taxable.

Eligibility

To qualify for the second grant, you must be a sole trader or a partner in a partnership and your business must have been ‘adversely affected’ by the Coronavirus pandemic on or after 14 July 2020. As for the first grant, you must have:

  • traded in the 2018/19 tax year and submitted your self-assessment tax return for that year no later than 23 April 2020;
  • traded in the 2019/20 tax year; and
  • traded in the 2020/21 tax year or intend to do so.

The scheme is only open to self-employed taxpayers whose income from self-employment comprises at least 50% of their total income and is not more than £50,000. The £50,000 limit is initially applied for 2018/19 and the test is met if profits for that year are £50,000 or below. However, where profits for 2018/19 are more than £50,000, average profits for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 are considered. You will qualify if the average profits for these years do not exceed the £50,000 threshold.

If you meet the eligibility conditions for the second grant, you can make a claim, even if you did not claim for the first grant.

Meaning of ‘adversely affected’

The second grant is only available to businesses that have been ‘adversely affected’ by the Coronavirus pandemic on or after 14 July 2020. HMRC have published guidance, together with examples, setting out the circumstances in which they consider a business to have been ‘adversely affected’ by the pandemic.

As a general guide, a business will be ‘adversely affected’ if it has experienced lower turnover or higher costs as a result of Coronavirus. This may be because you were unable to work because you were sick, self-isolating, shielding or caring for someone because of the virus. The business may also suffer a reduction in trade or an increase in costs because of interruptions to the supply change, a reduction in customers or the need to incur additional costs to make the business COVID-secure or to meet social distancing requirements.

Need to keep records

To support a claim for the second grant under the SEISS, you should keep evidence to show how and when the business was ‘adversely affected’ by Coronavirus. This may include:

  • business accounts showing a reduction in turnover or an increase in expenditure;
  • confirmation of any Coronavirus-related loans that the business has received;
  • any dates that the business had to close as a result of lockdown restrictions; and
  • any dates that the staff were unable to work because they had Coronavirus symptoms, were self-isolating, shielding, or had caring responsibilities as a result of the virus.

How much is the second grant?

As with the first grant, the second grant is based on average profits over the three tax years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19. If you did not trade in 2016/17 or file a return for that year, the grant is based on average profits for 2017/18 and 2018/19; if you did not trade in 2017/18 or file a tax return for 2017/18, the grant is only based on profits for 2018/19, regardless of whether you traded in 2016/17.

The second grant is worth 70% of three months’ average profits, to a maximum of £6,570.

Claim online

HMRC have written to all traders who they believe to be eligible to make a second claim under the scheme, telling them the date from which they can make their claim. Claims can be made online via the claim portal, which opened on 17 August 2020. The last date on which a claim can be made under the scheme is 19 October 2020.

As with the first claim, you must make the claim yourself; claims by agents are not permitted. However, we can advise you on how to make the claim, whether you qualify and what records you need to keep.

August 3, 2020

Bonus for employers who retain furloughed staff

Bonus for employers who retain furloughed staff

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, presented A Plan for Jobs at the time of the Summer Economic Update on 8 July 2020. This included incentives for employers who retain furloughed staff and who offer training and apprenticeships.

Job Retention Bonus

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is now in its final phase. Government support under the scheme is withdrawn gradually from August and the scheme comes to an end on 31 October 2020. Where staff are still furloughed in October, employers will need to decide whether they can bring their furloughed employees back to work.

To encourage employers to retain furloughed staff, a bonus – the Job Retention Bonus – of £1,000 will be paid to the employer for each furloughed employee who is employed continuously from the end of the CJRS until 31 January 2021. However, to qualify for the bonus, the employer must pay the employee, on average, earnings that are at least equal to the lower earnings limit for Class 1 National Insurance purposes, set at £120 per week (£520 per month) for 2020/21.

The Government will pay the bonuses from February 2021.

The scheme is not without its critics, with Jim Harra, Chief Executive of HMRC, questioning whether it offers value for money. Some employers, including Primark and Rightmove, have stated that they will not claim the bonus.

Kickstart Scheme

The Chancellor also unveiled plans to fund a new Kickstart Scheme providing £2 billion of funding to create high-quality work placements aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are on Universal Credit and who are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer’s National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions under auto-enrolment (where relevant).

Traineeships

Funding of £111 million is to be made available to fund work placements and training for 16 to 24 year olds. The Government will pay employers who provide trainees with work experience £1,000 per trainee. The funding will expand the provision of and eligibility for traineeships for those with Level 3 qualifications and below.

Apprenticeships

Employers who hire new apprentices will also receive funding from the Government. Where employers take on a new apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, they will receive a payment of £2,000 for each new apprentice under the age of 25 that they hire and £1,500 for each new apprentice aged 25 and over. These payments are in addition to the existing £1,000 provided by the Government for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and to those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Contact us

Contact us to find out how you can benefit from the incentives on offer.

July 22, 2020

NIC implications of COVID-19 support payments

NIC implications of COVID-19 support payments

Various support payments have been made to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How are those payments treated for National Insurance purposes?

Grant payments under the CJRS

Where an employer claims a grant payment under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the full amount of the grant (topped up to 80% of wages in the last two months of the scheme) must be paid over to the employee. As far as the employee is concerned, this is treated in the same way as a normal salary payment. The employer deducts Class 1 National Insurance and pays it over to HMRC.

The payment is also liable to employer’s Class 1 National Insurance to the extent that it is not covered by the employment allowance. For pay periods prior to 1 August 2020, the employer can reclaim the associated employer’s National Insurance on grant payments from the Government under the CJRS. The employer’s National Insurance must be paid over to HMRC in the usual way.

Grants under the SEISS

Grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) should be taken into account in computing profits for 2020/21. Where those profits exceed £9,500, Class 4 National Insurance contributions will be payable. If the profits for 2020/21 are more than £6,475, you must pay Class 2 contributions.

As a result of the pandemic, profits may be lower in 2020/21 than previously. If profits are below the small profits threshold, set at £6,475 for 2020/21, there is no obligation to pay Class 2 contributions. However, it may be worthwhile to do so voluntarily to ensure that 2020/21 remains a qualifying year for state pension and contributory benefit purposes. This is much cheaper than paying Class 3 contributions to make up a shortfall.

Other grants

Businesses may also receive other grants, such as those payable to businesses qualifying for small business rate relief or payable to specific sectors, such as the hospitality and leisure sector. For self-employed taxpayers, these are taken into account in calculating profits, which in turn will determine whether a liability to Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions arise.

Talk to us

Speak to us to ascertain the effect of grant payments on your National Insurance bill.

June 3, 2020

Claim SSP for Coronavirus-related absences

Claim SSP for Coronavirus-related absences

Smaller employers who have paid statutory sick pay (SSP) to employees who were absent from work due to a Coronavirus-related absence can now claim a rebate from the Government. The claim portal went live on 26 May 2020.

Who can claim?

Employers are eligible to make a claim if they have a payroll scheme that was created on or before 28 February 2020 and had fewer than 250 employees on the payroll at that date. They can claim back up to two weeks’ SSP paid to an employee who was absent from work due to Coronavirus.

What can you claim?

An absence counts as a Coronavirus-related absence if the employee is unable to work for one of the following reasons:

  • they had Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms;
  • they were self-isolating because someone in their household had Coronavirus symptoms; or
  • they were shielding and have a letter from either the NHS or their GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

Claims are capped at two weeks’ SSP per employee, even if the employee is absent for work and receiving SSP for longer than this, for example, because they are shielding. Claims can be made for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020 where the employee either had Coronavirus symptoms themselves or were self-isolating because someone in their household had symptoms, and in relation to periods of absence starting on or after 16 April 2020 where the employee is shielding. If you have paid more than the weekly SSP rate (for example if you pay employees their full pay while sick), the claim is limited to the SSP rate, set at £95.85 per week from 6 April 2020 and at £94.25 before that date. For Coronavirus-related absences, SSP can be paid from the first qualifying day once a period of incapacity for work has been established – the usual three waiting days do not need to be served.

Where SSP is paid for an absence which is not a Coronavirus-related absence, the employer cannot claim it back under the rebate scheme. Normal rules apply in relation to absences that are not related to Coronavirus and the employer must meet the cost of any SSP paid to employees who are absent other than for one of the reasons listed above. Claims can be made for employees in respect of whom a grant has been claimed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; although a claim for a grant and an SSP rebate cannot be made for the same period.

How do we claim?

Claims can be made via the online portal. To claim, you will need:

  • your Government Gateway User ID;
  • employer PAYE scheme reference number;
  • UK bank or building society details for the account into which the rebate is to be paid;
  • the total amount of SSP paid to employees for Coronavirus-related absences;
  • the number of employees in respect of whom a claim is being made; and
  • the start and end date of the claim period.

When claiming, you will also need to provide a contact name and telephone number. Claims can be made at the same time for multiple pay periods and multiple employees.

HMRC will check claims and if satisfied pay the money into the designated account within six working days of the date on which the claim was made.

Do we need records to support the claim?

You do not need to provide evidence when making the claim. However, you do need to keep records of:

  • the dates on which the employees were absent from work;
  • which of those dates were qualifying dates;
  • the reason for their absence, i.e. whether they had symptoms or were shielding; and
  • the National Insurance numbers of the employees in respect of whom a claim is being made.

You do not need to obtain a Fit Note for Coronavirus-related absences.

Records should be kept for three years from the date on which you received the rebate.

Further help

The good news is that HMRC has confirmed that if you have authorised us to do PAYE online for you, we can complete the claim on your behalf. Alternatively, if you prefer, we advise if you are able to make a claim and how to go about it.

May 27, 2020

National Insurance contributions for 2020/21

National Insurance contributions for 2020/21

The starting point for paying National Insurance is to increase to £9,500 for 2020/21 for employees and for Class 4 contributions payable by the self-employed. This is in line with a Government commitment to increase the starting threshold to £12,500 – the level of the personal allowance for tax purposes.

Employees and Employers

Class 1 National Insurance contributions are payable on an employee’s earnings by the employee (primary contributions) and by the employer (secondary contributions). The rates and thresholds applying for 2020/21 are shown in the table below.

Class 1
Weekly lower earnings limit (LEL)£120 per week £520 per month £6,240 per year
Primary threshold (PT)£183 per week £792 per month £9,500 per year
Secondary threshold (ST)£169 per week £732 per month £9,500 per year
Upper earnings limit (UEL)£962 per week £4,167 per month £50,000 per year
Upper secondary threshold for under 21s£962 per week £4,167 per month £50,000 per year
Apprentice upper secondary rate (AUST)£962 per week £4,167 per month £50,000 per year
Employee’s primary rate (payable on earnings between the PT and UEL)12%
Employee’s additional rate (payable on earnings above the UEL)2%
Secondary rate (payable on earnings above the relevant secondary threshold)13.8%
Reduced rate for certain married women (on earnings between the PT and UEL)5.85%

For 2020/21, the primary and secondary thresholds are no longer aligned. This means that the point at which employer contributions for employees over the age 21 kicks in is £169 per week (£732 per month), while employee contributions are not payable until earnings reach £183 per week (£792 per month). On earnings between these limits, employer contributions are payable but not employee contributions.

The rate of Class 1A contributions (payable on benefits in kind) and Class 1B contributions (payable on items included in a PAYE settlement agreement) remains at 13.8%.

The self employed

The self-employed pay flat-rate Class 2 contributions and also Class 4 contributions on their profits.

For 2020/21, Class 2 contributions increase by 5p per week to £3.05 per week. Contributions are only mandatory if profits exceed the small profits threshold. This is set at £6,475 for 2020/21. However, they can be paid voluntarily where profits are less than this level.

As with employees, the starting point at which Class 4 contributions become payable on the profits of the self-employed – the lower profits limit – increases to £9,500 for 2020/21. Contributions are payable at the main rate of 9% on profits between this level and the upper profits limit, which remains at £50,000 for 2020/21. Above this, contributions are payable at the rate of 2%.

Voluntary contributions

Voluntary (Class 3) contributions can be paid to make up a shortfall in your contributions record and preserve your entitlement to the state pension. Class 3 contributions rise to £15.30 per week for 2020/21.

Check your contributions record

Speak to us about whether you need to pay additional contributions to ensure that you will qualify for the full state pension when you reach state pension age. You can obtain a pension forecast online.

February 10, 2020