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29 MAY 2020 / COVID-19 BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE

HELP AND SUPPORT IF YOUR BUSINESS IS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the  support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-is-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19?utm_source=a4b7c6f4-7063-4d88-957b-b68d6480a86d&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

COVID-19: SCOTLAND EXTENDS REFUND PERIOD FOR SECOND-HOME PURCHASE TAX 

21 May: Homeowners in Scotland temporarily have three years to sell their home after buying a replacement property and claim a refund of land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT). 

In light of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the housing market, the Scottish Parliament is temporarily extending the time period in which homeowners have to sell their main home after buying a replacement property and be able to claim a rebate on LBTT.

In Scotland the purchase of a second home is subject to an additional amount of LBTT equating to 4% of the purchase price. Where the second home is a replacement home, but there is a delay in selling the original home, a refund of the additional LBTT can be claimed where the first home is sold within 18 months of the new purchase. 

Acknowledging that the stalling of the residential property market has made the 18 month time limit more difficult to achieve, the Scottish Parliament is temporarily extending the period to three years where the second home was purchased between 24 September 2018 and 24 March 2020.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill also provides Scottish Ministers with the power to extend the purchase period the measure applies to, as well as the length of the sale period, if necessary.

The extension of the period for selling the original property to three years temporarily brings Scotland into line with the stamp duty land tax rules on replacement properties in England and Northern Ireland and the land transaction tax rules in Wales.

HMRC CHANGING THEIR FORMS

HMRC is creating new versions of their forms that do not depend on Adobe Reader. Whilst this work is in progress the following methods can be used to make sure the form will download or open in Adobe Reader:

  • whatever browser you use, review your settings to make Adobe Reader the default program for opening PDF documents
  • Windows users should right click on the form link then select ‘Save target as’ or ‘Save link as’
  • Mac users should right click on the form link then select ‘Save linked file as’
  • save the form – the recommended place is in the documents folder
  • using Adobe Reader, you can open the form

If the form still does not open, then contact the Online Services helpdesks for more help: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/information/helpdesk?_ga=2.76986517.1698182565.1590394490-1794852922.1586417949

TELL HMRC ABOUT AN OPTION TO TAX LAND AND BUILDINGS

Use form VAT1614A to tell HMRC of an option to tax land or buildings.

To help businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) HMRC have made temporary changes to the time limit and how you notify an option.

The changes apply to decisions made between 15 February 2020 and 30 June 2020.

Before you start, check the changes to the time limit and how you notify an option to tax land and buildings.

This guidance will be updated when this change ends.

You should only complete this form to notify HMRC of your decision to opt to tax land and or buildings.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notification-of-an-option-to-tax-land-andor-buildings-vat1614a?utm_source=92a2b270-c67f-40d7-add4-0fe572147282&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

PM: SIX PEOPLE CAN MEET OUTSIDE UNDER NEW MEASURES TO EASE LOCKDOWN

PM Boris Johnson announced groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from Monday 1 June, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed.

The Prime Minister announced the change as he set out a package to ease the lockdown in a way that is expected to keep the R rate down. Thanks to the public’s continued patience and hard work in helping to protect the NHS and contain the virus, the Prime Minister confirmed that the government’s five tests are being met. This means we can now move forward to the next phase of adjusting the lockdown.

A series of measures will be put in place in England from Monday 1 June in three core areas – schools, retail, and social contact.

Primary schools will welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on 1 June, and nurseries and other early years settings will be reopened. On 15 June, secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for Year 10 and 12 and the equivalent groups in further education. This will help students prepare for exams next year, and we expect there to be around a quarter of these secondary students in at any point.

The Prime Minister has also acknowledged that some schools may not be able to reopen immediately and has committed the government to continuing to work with the sector to ensure any schools experiencing difficulties are able to open as soon as possible.

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres will also begin to reopen in June.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, provided they meet COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. All other non-essential retail should open from 15 June, as long as the government’s five tests are still being met and COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed.

Recognising the impact that lockdown is having on family and friends who have been unable to see each other, the Prime Minister announced today that from 1 June up to six people from different households will be allowed to meet outside, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces.

The evidence shows that the risk of transmission is significantly lower outdoors and this step will mean that people can see more of their friends, family and loved ones.

It is critical that those from different households continue to stay 2 metres apart. And it remains the case that people should not spend time inside the homes of their friends and families, other than to access the garden or use the toilet.

Minimising contact with others is still the best way to prevent transmission. The Prime Minister was clear today that people should try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession – so that we can avoid the risk of quick transmission between lots of different families and continue to control the virus. Those who are shielding should continue to do so. The Government recognises the toll this is taking on groups that have been asked to shield and hopes to say more soon on what further support we can provide.

See:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-six-people-can-meet-outside-under-new-measures-to-ease-lockdown?utm_source=f2f5c8f0-bfa5-47a9-af8f-ad6fd469ac62&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

PROVIDING FREE SCHOOL MEALS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK

Guidance for schools and local authorities on free school meals arrangements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

See:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance?utm_source=47844816-b1c3-42aa-9473-a9328dc39bf1&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

GUIDANCE ON HOW OPSS IS SUPPORTING BUSINESSES AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND PROTECTING CONSUMERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is focusing on the key issues surrounding Government measures to protect the public during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

During this challenging period, they are working with business to understand where regulatory requirements are preventing them delivering the products the public and NHS need.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/opss-coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-business-and-local-authorities?utm_source=fb5f25f1-814f-413e-ba01-89a292185152&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

SAFER TRANSPORT GUIDANCE FOR OPERATORS

Safer working principles and risk assessment for transport operators and organisations.

This guide will help organisations, agencies and others (such as self-employed transport providers) understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers across all modes of private and public transport. It outlines measures to assess and address the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the transport sector across England.

Each transport provider will need to translate the principles and examples in this guidance into specific actions. It must be considered alongside legal duties and other guidance produced by the government and the relevant transport regulator for your mode. Transport providers should remain mindful of their obligations under both health and safety and employment legislation. The integrated nature of the UK’s public transport system makes it important that transport providers try to co- ordinate their planning and their actions with other providers.

DFT AND HSE LETTER

A letter from the Department for Transport and the Health and Safety Executive about access to toilet and washing facilities for drivers making deliveries.

See:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators?utm_source=c7dacb1f-ece9-45d3-b274-fd4d582c0d4a&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

SAFER TRAVEL GUIDANCE FOR PASSENGERS 

This guide will help you understand how to travel safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in England. It provides guidance for walking, cycling, using private vehicles (for example cars and vans), and travelling by taxis and public transport (for example trains, buses, coaches and ferries).

You should avoid using public transport where possible. Instead try to walk, cycle, or drive. If you do travel, thinking carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel will mean we will all have more space to stay safe.

See:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers?utm_source=1a1d0b56-f551-4924-b859-3ded37fa31d2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

The guide covers:

  • Walking and cycling
  • Public transport
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Private cars and other vehicles
  • Aviation, ferries and maritime transport
  • International travel
  • Checklists for safer travel

The guide is an essential read for all travellers.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): GETTING TESTED

The Government has updated its guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested?utm_source=14ca7ce2-b9f7-414b-8bef-59a8fc58c8c7&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

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