Coronavirus update 13 – 11 November 2020
Extended Coronavirus support – news from Busbys
For those of you who have loyally read all of our previous Coronavirus newsletters, you may well have been suffering withdrawal symptoms as this is the first newsletter since August. But I suspect that rather more of you have been relieved that there has been a bit of a gap in output! So, with apologies to those who have been enjoying the peace and quiet, I do now need to update you on where we are now with the latest government initiatives.
To try and break this down into manageable chunks (and so you don’t waste time looking at a support scheme that is not relevant to you), this is the first of three newsletters that I will send you, covering our news and reminders about forthcoming deadlines. So do please read this one!
Newsletter 14 will then cover the changes to the support provided for employers, mainly the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and Newsletter 15 will concentrate on the other support available, particularly the extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. These will follow over the next couple of days.
Whilst all of our team are working at our office most of the time, we are greatly reliant on the schools remaining open to allow those amongst our team who are parents to continue to work at the office. In particular, Carolyn and Debbie are working at home at least one day a week, and I now work at home every Tuesday, and on some other days as necessary. But we can always access emails if you need to contact us and do try calling the office if you need to speak to one of us. If need be, we can be contacted by the office, and can call back.
The disruption to our normal way of working over the last 7 months has meant that we have a substantial backlog of work, and we are grateful to all clients for their patience in these trying times. We are working our way through everything, but we are having to be quite strict in prioritising work on a “first in, first out” basis, so we ask that you continue to be understanding if we have not completed accounts and tax returns as quickly as in previous years.
During this second lockdown period, we have suspended all physical meetings, but instead we can arrange remote meetings using Zoom, Teams or FaceTime. Unfortunately, our internet connections at the office are often not sufficiently robust to permit virtual meetings efficiently, so I am conducting these from home. Once the second lockdown comes to an end, and assuming we revert back to Tier 1 status, we will hopefully be able to arrange physical meetings again.
Finally, I am pleased to let you know that Zoey Hanks has now returned to work on a part time basis, following maternity leave. Zoey completed her professional ACCA examinations prior to her departure and we are delighted to welcome her back to assist with the completion of tax returns.
Which leads me nicely onto the annual reminder about the tax return deadline, which is still set for 31 January. Whilst limited companies and LLPs have been given an automatic 3 month filing extension by Companies House, there has been no indication that the tax return deadline is to be extended.
As mentioned above, we are working on a strict “first in, first out” basis, and given our backlog of work, that is going to mean that we can only guarantee to complete tax returns where the information is received by the time we reopen after Christmas on 4 January 2021.
Pressure of work has also meant that we have not had time to send out all our normal tax return request letters. We are aiming to get the remainder out in the next fortnight, but we will not be able to send out a final reminder. Hence, we are including a warning about the deadlines and penalty implications that might arise if your tax return is late. And do please respond to our request for your tax return information promptly.
And better still – just send in your information before we ask for it! For most clients, the types of information remain substantially unchanged from one year to the next.
As mentioned above, and as most company owners will know, all limited companies and LLPs with filing deadlines before 5 April 2021 have been given an automatic 3 month filing extension by Companies House. So, for example, a company with a 31 March 2020 year end can now file their accounts at any time up to 31 March 2021 without incurring a late filing penalty from Companies House.
However, corporation tax deadlines have not changed. So, whilst companies have always had 12 months to file their corporation tax return, the tax itself is still due 9 months and a day after the year end.
So we are still trying to complete accounts before the tax payment deadline as normal, but if we are not able to do this, we will endeavor to estimate your tax liability so that you can make a payment on account by the due date. It will not then matter if your accounts are not filed until after the tax payment date, as long as they are filed before the extended Companies House filing deadline. This is going to be particularly the case for companies with 31 March year ends (over half of our limited company clients), where we have only recently received accounting records.
Please note that for new companies, or companies with extended accounting periods, the deadlines are different, and we will advise you as necessary if this applies to your company.
However, one important point for directors and shareholders with companies who have 31 March year ends – invariably your accounts must be substantially complete to enable us to complete your tax returns on time, as dividends on tax returns must match up to the accounts. So, in these cases, 31 January becomes the deadline – you cannot defer your tax return because your accounts are not complete!
Because of the time of year, the pressures of these forthcoming deadlines, and the backlog caused by Coronavirus, I would once again reiterate that we are now extremely busy, and we will be grateful for your patience. But I would also add that our workload should not deter you from asking questions if you think we can help – just do not necessarily expect instant responses!
And whilst Christmas may currently appear to be an aspiration rather than a celebration, we will be closed from 4.00pm on Wednesday 23 December until we reopen at 9.00am on Monday 4 January.