COVID-19

On this page you can find advice, updates and signposting to useful information regarding COVID-19.

Including: –

  • Gift Aid
  • Workers and employers
  • VAT
  • Business rates
  • Government support for charities
  • Other financial support
  • Other support and information
  • Fundraising
  • Accounting and reporting
  • Audits

As well as the formal guidance, to help you with some practical tips and recommendations, we have responded to your frequently asked questions.

You can also access copies of all our COVID-19 related newsletters and articles in the side bar archive.


Chancellor’s Statement – 24 September 2020

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has scrapped the Autumn Budget and instead announced his Winter Economy Plan read more


Gift Aid

Gift Aid on tickets for cancelled events

In a reply to a written question in the House of Lords, a Treasury minister stated that theatres and other cultural venues recognised as charities by HMRC can claim Gift Aid on the value of tickets for cancelled events if the patrons have agreed not to be refunded for the cost of the ticket and agree for the same amount to be treated as a donation. Additionally, the charity will also need to make sure the patrons make Gift Aid declarations read more

Retail Gift Aid relaxations

One of CTG’s charity members has confirmed with HMRC that for oral declarations, charities can continue to make claims despite not having sent an oral conformation letter. The letters can be sent later and claims adjusted if any oral donors withdraw their declaration. HMRC has also accepted that if charities are not attending offices and have, therefore, no knowledge that they have received any returned notifications then they should continue in the usual way as regards their claiming process read more

Gift Aid and membership subscriptions

Many Community Amateur Sports Clubs and charities have suspended the collection of membership subscriptions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic but some individuals are making voluntary donations instead in order to support their club. There is no barrier to Gift Aid being claimed on such donations, provided they are freely given, no benefits arise in consequence of that specific donation (either now or in the future) or, if provided, they fall within the legislative limits, and a Gift Aid Declaration is obtained read more

Paying gift aid from trading subsidiary to charity

If your trading subsidiary has made losses since the previous year end you are required by the Companies Act to take extra steps before deciding what gift aid can be paid to the charity read more

Operation of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic

Charity Tax Group has now obtained HMRC’s agreement that charities can accept multiple cash donations of £30 or under that have been saved up during the crisis read more


Workers and employers

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

A furloughed employee is an employee who is left on the payroll but carries out no work for the employer. Most UK employers will be able to obtain a reimbursement of 80% of furloughed employees’ regular basic wage cost, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. But where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff and not furlough them read more

JRS: Calculating how much to claim

Provides detailed guidance and examples on how much to claim. If a furloughed employee takes holiday, the employer should pay their usual holiday pay in accordance with the Working Time Regulations read more

Deferral of IR35 in the private sector

The changes to the off-payroll rules (‘IR35’) were due to come into effect on 6 April 2020 have now been delayed until April 2021 read more

Deferred Income Tax payments

For persons in Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on 31 July 2020 may be deferred to January 2021 read more

Statutory Sick Pay for employees

Employees who are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and who are self-isolating as a result of COVID-19 are entitled to SSP from day 1 read more

Sick pay for the self-employed and employees not eligible for SSP

The self-employed and employees not entitled to SSP can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance read more

SSP refund scheme for small employers

Employers with fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 will be entitled to a refund for up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 read more

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Self-employed individuals and partners in partnerships who have taxable profits of less than £50,000 in either the last tax year or on average over the last 3 tax years, will be eligible for a taxable grant of 80% of the average profits for the last 3 tax years, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months. HMRC will contact those who are eligible and invite them to apply online read more

SEISS: How HMRC will work out total income and trading profits

Detailed guidance on how HMRC will calculate total income and trading profits for the purposes of SEISS. HMRC will use the figures on tax returns for total trading income (turnover), then deduct any allowable business expenses and capital expenditure to calculate trading profit. Total income includes trading profits, income from earnings, property income, dividends, savings income, pension income and miscellaneous income read more

SEISS: How different circumstances affect SEISS

More guidance on particular situations: late tax returns, partners in partnership, parental leave, loan charges, averaging relief, non-residents and remittance basis payers, and state aid read more

Salary sacrifice

HMRC has accepted that a salary sacrifice agreement can be altered or cancelled as a result of a change to circumstances directly arising as a result of COVID-19 read more

Carrying over statutory annual leave entitlement

Most workers who are covered by the Working Time Regulations 1998 and who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry over up to 4 weeks of their statutory entitlement into the next 2 leave years read more

Exceptional circumstances for the UK tax residence test

The number of days a person spends in the UK is a critical factor for determining if they are UK resident for tax purposes. However days spent in the UK can be disregarded if they are due to exceptional circumstances. HMRC has accepted that being quarantined or following public health guidance in self-isolating in the UK, following official Government advice not to travel from the UK, and being asked by your employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus, are all considered to be exceptional circumstances read more

Holiday entitlement and pay during the COVID-19 pandemic

An explanation of how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance read more

Exemption for office equipment for homeworking

The government is to introduce a temporary exemption for the reimbursement of employee expenses incurred in purchasing office equipment for use in working at home read more


VAT

Deferred VAT payments

VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 can be deferred to 31 March 2021, however VAT returns will still have to be submitted on time. Businesses will have to cancel any VAT direct debits. The deferral does not apply to VAT MOSS payments. VAT payments due following the end of the deferral period will have to be paid as normal read more

Deferral of digital linking for MTD for VAT

HMRC has put back the start date for mandatory full digital links from 1 April 2020 to 1 April 2021 read more

Import duty and import VAT relief for medical equipment

Bodies authorised by HMRC can claim relief from import duty and VAT on imported protective equipment, other relevant medical devices and equipment for the coronavirus outbreak. The goods must be for distribution free of charge or made available free of charge to those affected by, at risk from or involved in combating COVID-19. Goods imported into the UK for donation or onward sale to the NHS are also eligible for this relief. Non-state bodies can request authorisation by contacting the National Import Relief Unit read more

VAT error notifications

Due to temporary measures put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus VAT error notifications can no longer submitted by post and must be sent by email read more

Temporary zero rating of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be zero-rated between 1 May to 31 July 2020. The PPE must be recommended for use by Public Health England in its guidance dated 24 April 2020 titled ‘Guidance, COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)’ read more

Zero rating of e-publications

The zero-rating for e-publications that was due to take effect from 1 December 2020, was brought forward to 1 May 2020 read more


Business Rates

Expanded Retail Discount Scheme

Occupied hereditaments in England that are normally open to the general public and used wholly or mainly as shops (including charity shops), cafes, theatres, museums, galleries, historic houses, sport and leisure facilities, cinemas or live music venues will be entitled to a business rates holiday for the 20/21 tax year. For eligible charity properties the scheme should remove any business rates due above the 80% charity relief read more

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)

Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a grant payment of £10,000 if they meet the eligibility criteria read more

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

Businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme for a property with a rateable value of upto £15,000 will be eligible for a cash grant of £10,000 per such property. Eligible businesses with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000 per such property read more

Nursery discount

Hereditaments in England occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register which are wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage will be entitled to a business rates holiday for the 20/21 tax year read more

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

Small businesses that already receive small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief (RRR) will be entitled to a one off grant of £10,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs read more

Top-up to local business grants funds scheme

The government has provided £617 million to local authorities to distribute as discretionary grants of up to £25,000 each to small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs read more

Business rates revaluation

A revaluation of business rates in England will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for businesses affected by the impacts of coronavirus read more


Government support for charities

Funding for international organisations and aid charities

DFID will provide £65 million for the World Health Organisation; £20 million for UNICEF; £20 million for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); £15 million for the World Food Programme; £10 million for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), £50 million for the new International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals and £20 million for international NGOs, including UK charities, to tackle the virus and help prevent a second wave of coronavirus coming to the UK by slowing its spread in the most vulnerable countries read more

Coronavirus fund for frontline charities

The government has announced a £750 million grant package for charities providing vital services during the coronavirus outbreak read more

Arts Council emergency funding package

The Arts Council has announced an emergency funding package for National Portfolio Organisations, organisations outside of the National Portfolio and individuals read more

London Community Response Fund

The Greater London Authority and various charity funds have launched a new fund to support London’s voluntary sector read more

Scottish Government Third Sector Resilience Fund

Part of a £350m support package by the Scottish Government for the sector in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Third Sector Resilience Fund will support organisations across the third sector who are at risk of closure due to a sharp decrease in income or that are unable to deliver their services directly as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic read more

National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund

The NLHF has created a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the COVID-19 outbreak.   The fund will provide grants of between £3,000 and £50,000 to organisations the Heritage Fund currently or has previously supported read more

Sport England Emergency Fund

Sport England is making up to £195 million of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis read more

Cash support for food redistribution during coronavirus outbreak

The government has announced a £3 million fund for food redistribution organisations help them cut food waste during the coronavirus outbreak read more

Zoos support fund

Licensed zoos and aquaria in England which are experiencing severe financial difficulties because of lost revenue, can apply for grants of up to £100,000 read more

Food Charities Grant Fund

Front-line food aid charities can apply for a grant of up to £100,000 to help continue to provide food to the vulnerable read more

Funding for charities dealing with domestic abuse

The government has created a £10 million fund open to domestic abuse charities in England, including refuges. The funding will support charities who provide domestic abuse safe accommodation services or who offer help to victims and their children read more

Applying for the Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes. eligible businesses must be based in England, have fewer than 50 employees, have fixed building costs such as rent, must have been trading on 11 March 2020 and is adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic read more


Other financial support

SME Business Interruption Loan Scheme

SMEs with an annual turnover of up to £45 million may be able to access loans of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years from participating lenders. The government will pay the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees and guarantee 80% on each loan read more

Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme will help large businesses with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million affected by COVID-19 to access loans of up to £25 million read more

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies read more

Bounce back Loan Scheme for SMEs

This scheme aims to help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus to apply for bank loans of between £2,000 and up to 25% of a business’ turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000 read more

Summer financial statement

An overview of the financial statement issued on 8 July 2020, with helpful comments from Helen Elliott read more


Other information and support

HMRC: non-taxable expenses for employees working from home

Summary guide from HMRC on which homeworking expenses are tax exempt and which are taxable read more

Premises that must close

Most premises accessed by the general public must close, though there are permitted exceptions. Premises that must close include: museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, community centres, youth clubs, indoor leisure centres, playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar. Most cafes and restaurants must close but they can switch to providing a takeaway service. Catering facilities in schools and care homes can remain open, and where there are no practical alternatives, workplace canteens can remain open read more

Insurance claims

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered for any insurance claims read more

Support for residential tenants and landlords

Coronavirus Act 2020 means that, until 30th September 2020, most landlords of residential accommodation will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants three-months’ notice. However this protection will not extend to licences to occupy unless they are secure licences. Mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months where this is needed due to Coronavirus-related hardship, including for buy-to-let mortgages read more

Protection from eviction for commercial tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. No business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June. There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed read more


Fundraising

Fundraising Regulator: Advice on fundraising

The Fundraising Regulator has provided COVID-19 guidance on person to person fundraising, direct marketing and cancelling fundraising events. If event related donations have already reached the charity, it may need permission from its charity regulator in order to provide a refund read more


Accounting and reporting

Company filings, AGMs and other general meetings

The government is to bring forward legislation that will: permit companies to override their articles of association for a short period in order to hold closed meetings, including AGMs, by phone or by an equivalent means of communication. In addition companies will be able to extend the period within which an AGM must be held read more

Companies House: Guidance for companies

Companies House has extended the accounts filing deadline for private limited companies from 9 months to 12 months. The 3 month extension applies automatically to all private companies whose normal (9 month) filing deadline falls between 27 June 2020 and 5 April 2021 read more

COVID-19 guidance for Community Interest Companies

The Regulator recognises that some CICs will have a period of time where they may be unable to provide normal services and meet the community benefit that they were set up to serve. This can be reported in the Annual CIC report, filed with CIC Accounts, to explain any change in the delivery of the community interest company read more

FRC: Guidance for companies on corporate governance and reporting

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have today announced a series of actions to ensure that information continues to flow to investors and to support the continued functioning of the UK’s capital markets. The FRC has published guidance for companies preparing financial statements covering factors to be taken into account when carrying out audits during the current COVID-19 crisis read more

Charity SORP Committee: Control measures and financial reporting by charities

The SORP-making body has published guidance for trustees and preparers of charity accounts looking at the potential impact of the control measures to contain COVID-19 on financial reporting by charities. The guidance considers the implications for the trustees’ annual report, going concern and the alternative basis to going concern when preparing accounts under the SORP read more

Charity Commission: Guidance for the charity sector

Trustees should record any decision to cancel or postpone AGMs and other critical meetings. Where the situation impacts on the completion of annual returns and accounts, charities with an imminent filing date should call the Charity Commission. Charities should record any decision to hold meetings virtually or via conference calls read more

Charity Commission: Filing charity annual returns

Charities must ring the Charity Commission if they wish to request a filing deadline extension read more

OSCR guidance on submitting annual information during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is currently not taking further action with respect to missed filing deadlines read more

OSCR: An update from the regulator

OSCR state ‘We understand that it might be difficult for some to finalise your annual reports and accounts on time we will take an understanding and proportionate approach to this. Serious incident reporting does not need to be at the very top of your list. Making sure you have the time and space with your fellow trustees to make the right decisions for your organisation is the main thing to be thinking about’ read more

Guidance for companies on holding AGMs

This guidance is targeted at public companies, but is potentially of relevance to other companies and charities. The government’s Stay at Home Measures, effective from 26 March 2020 in England and Wales, prohibit public gatherings of more than two people. The only exceptions are where the gathering is of people who live together or where the gathering is ‘essential for work purposes’. The guidance considers how an AGM might be held in such circumstances and other options such as postponing the AGM read more

Companies House support for businesses hit by COVID-19

Companies House will temporarily pause the strike off process to prevent companies being dissolved. In addition, companies issued with a late filing penalty due to COVID-19 will have appeals treated sympathetically read more


Audits

FRC: COVID-19 bulletin for auditors

Guidance on a wide range of COVID-19 audit related issues including: taking on new audits, planning, materiality, communicating with trustees, audit evidence, going concern, group audits, access to information, reporting, subsequent events and written representations read more

Guidance for independent examiners during the COVID-19 pandemic

This guidance is to assist independent examiners with some of the considerations that may arise due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Covers: access to records, access to those in management and control of the charity, risks increased by the pandemic, and the implications for the examiner’s report read more