Welcome to our round up of the latest business and Covid-19 news for clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

Covid-19 update

People living in Wales who have received the COVID vaccine are now able to access their vaccination status via the internet to generate an NHS COVID Pass for urgent outbound international travel. The NHS COVID Pass allows you to show others that you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine when travelling abroad.

See: Get the NHS COVID Pass to show your vaccination status for travel | GOV.WALES

EU Commission announces the approval of the UK’s data adequacy

The EU Commission announced last week that adequacy decisions for the UK have been approved.

This means the EU has determined the UK’s data protection laws to be robust enough to ensure data can safely flow to the UK from the EU (and EEA). Businesses can continue to receive data from the EU without having to make any changes to their data protection practices. 

See: ICO statement in response to the EU Commission’s announcement on the approval of the UK’s adequacy | ICO

New mentor scheme launched to boost UK food exporters

A new mentorship programme to help UK farmers and food producers boost their exports has been launched by the Department for International Trade (DIT). 

The scheme is part of DIT’s new strategy to boost agriculture exports into new markets, as 97% of the food and drink sector are SMEs but only 1 in 5 of food and drink businesses export. Their latest research estimates that 6.5m jobs were supported by exports in 2016, and they consider that exporting businesses are typically more productive.

The programme, run in partnership with Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), and the National Farmers Union (NFU), will match experienced exporters with businesses who are looking to export for the first time.

See: New mentor scheme launched to boost UK food exporters – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Horizon Europe funding for Innovators

Applications are now open for UK businesses, innovators and researchers to access funding through the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) is urging businesses, innovators and researchers to apply for access to new markets, capabilities and technologies as well as billions of pounds of funding through the Horizon Europe scheme. Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.

Prospective UK funding recipients are eligible to participate in the first calls for proposals for Horizon Europe and can learn more about Horizon Europe by visiting UKRI’s Horizon Europe information page.

If your business is interested in taking advantage of the funding available and would benefit from support and assistance please get in touch with us.

HMRC guidance on re-importing and re-exporting

HMRC have released guidance about some of the approvals and special procedures that help simplify customs processing and reduce VAT and Customs Duty owed. These are useful if you are a business that usually re-imports or re-exports as part of your business process.

Inward processing

This is a customs special procedure that allows you to suspend Customs Duty and import VAT on goods you bring into the UK for repair or as materials for manufacturing. You will not need to pay duty or import VAT on the goods if you re-export them following processing or repair.

For example, this may apply if you’re bringing your camera equipment into the UK from France for repairs with the intention of returning them to France. Or, if you are bringing in fabric to be made into dresses which you will then export.

Find more information on using inward processing on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

Outward processing

This allows you to temporarily export goods outside the UK for processing or repair and pay less Customs Duty and import VAT when you re-import them into the UK.

This may apply, for example, if you are exporting a batch of computers to Germany to be repaired and returned to the UK. Or if you’re exporting bales of fabric to Romania to be made into prom dresses and then re-imported into the UK.

Find out more on using outward processing on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

Temporary Admission

This is a special procedure that allows you to temporarily import goods into the UK or move goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland without paying Customs Duty or import VAT. You may use the goods for up to two years or more, before re-exporting them.

For example, this may apply if you are temporarily bringing in samples, professional equipment or items for auction, exhibition or demonstration into the UK.

You can apply for Temporary Admission if you are the person using the goods or you’re arranging for the goods to be used on your behalf.

Find more information on how to apply to import goods temporarily on GOV.UK.

Returned Goods Relief

This allows you to claim relief from Customs Duty and import VAT if you are re-importing items into the UK that have previously been exported. When you re-import your items, you will need to make sure they have not been altered, apart from work to maintain them.

This may apply, for example, if you are re-importing office furniture, equipment or instruments because you’re moving back to the UK from an EU country where you previously exported the goods to.

Find out more on paying less import duty and VAT, when re-importing goods on GOV.UK.

Customs warehousing

This allows you to suspend Customs Duty and VAT on goods that you import into the UK and store in a warehouse to be re-exported. Duty and VAT will only become payable when the goods are removed from the warehouse into UK circulation.

For example, no duty or VAT will be payable if you import goods from China to be stored in a warehouse in the UK before being re-exported to Europe. 

Find out more information on how to use a customs warehouse on GOV.UK.

See: Customs processing: Check if you can make them quicker, simpler or cheaper (govdelivery.com)

HMRC expenses and benefits webinars for employers

With working from home, the office or factory or a hybrid of places to work for many employees this means that where they work from has changed because of the Pandemic. Wherever your employees are based, find out more about paying expenses including mobile phones, internet and workplaces.

Webinar: Expenses and benefits for employers – trivial benefits

Using examples, HMRC will look at what counts as a small or trivial benefit, whether it needs to be reported and what your responsibilities are.

See:  Registration (gotowebinar.com)

Webinar: Expenses and benefits for employers – if your employees have more than one workplace

This webinar looks at various workplaces, including permanent and temporary, depots, business journeys and homeworking.

See: Registration (gotowebinar.com)

Webinar: Expenses and benefits for employers – phones, internet and homeworking

HMRC will show you how to deal with tax and National Insurance when you provide an employee with a mobile phone, internet connection or homeworking expenses.

See: Registration (gotowebinar.com)

Expenses and benefits toolkit

You can also access HMRC’s Expenses and Benefits from Employment Toolkit – useful for both agents and employers dealing with employee expenses and benefits in kind.

Covid 19 Government Support News

Below is our weekly roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The grants to self-employed individuals whose businesses have been impacted by coronavirus has been extended to cover periods February 2021 to April 2021 (fourth grant – now closed) and May 2021 to September 2021 (fifth grant).

Eligibility: Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The online claims service for the fifth grant will be available from late July 2021. Find out more about the fifth grant.


Check if you need to change your Self-Assessment return for SEISS

You need to check your Self-Assessment return if you have:

  • already submitted your 2020 to 2021 Self-Assessment tax return online
  • claimed a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant during 2020 or 2021

HMRC may have made an adjustment to your return if:

  • the amount of the SEISS payments put in the SEISS box does not match their records
  • there was no SEISS amount entered
  • you did not submit a Self-Employment or partnership page (SA103 or SA104) and received SEISS payments

The adjustment (and how to check it) depends on your circumstances and how you submitted your return. If we submit your return we will ensure the SEISS grants have been declared in the correct boxes. If you need help in submitting your return please contact us.

See: Check if you need to change your Self Assessment return for SEISS – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) June 2021 pay period

Claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are now open for pay periods in June 2021.

You must submit your claim for June 2021 by 14 July 2021.

Here’s a future claim dates reminder:

  • for furlough days in July 2021 submit claim by 16 August 2021
  • for furlough days in August 2021 submit claim by 14 September 2021
  • for furlough days in September 2021 submit claim by 14 October 2021

See: Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The VAT deferral new payment scheme has now closed.

Any deferred VAT outstanding after 30 June 2021 will be treated as debt and may be subject to a penalty. Find out what to do to pay your VAT bill

Full business rates discount continues 

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales will not have to pay any rates until April 2022.

The Welsh Government has extended the full 100 per cent discount for all businesses and charities in the leisure and hospitality sectors until April 2022.  Retailers in properties with a rateable value of up to £500,000 will also continue to receive full discounts on their rates for the remainder of the year.

See: Full business rates discount continues in Wales | GOV.WALES

Government extends measures to protect businesses from eviction until end of September 2021

Businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will now be protected from eviction until the end of September 2021. As part of interventions the Welsh Government is making to support businesses, the moratorium against forfeiture for the non-payment of rent will now be extended until September 30, 2021. It was originally due to end on June 30, 2021.

This measure will ensure businesses will not forfeit their business tenancies for non-payment of rent until 30 September this year, but businesses should continue to pay rent wherever possible, and it is in the interests of both landlords and tenants to reach negotiated agreements on any arrears.

See: Welsh Government extends measures to protect businesses from eviction until end of September 2021 | GOV.WALES

Support for businesses impacted by Covid restrictions

Businesses that continue to be affected by Covid restrictions will receive up to £25,000 of additional support from the Welsh Government. The emergency package of support will cover the operating costs for July and August 2021 of businesses required to remain closed and who remain severely impacted as a result of the continuation of the restrictions. Eligible businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors and their supply chains who continue to be severely impacted by restrictions, such as travel agents, attractions limited by social distancing and venues for school visits, will also be eligible to apply for support. 

Eligible businesses will be entitled to an additional payment of between £1,000 and £25,000, depending on their size, structure and circumstance, to cover the period up to the end of August 2021.

To qualify for support, businesses must show their turnover has reduced by more than 60% compared to the corresponding timeline in 2019 or equivalent.  All eligible businesses will need to apply for the funding.  

See: Economy Minister confirms further Welsh Government support for businesses impacted by Covid restrictions | GOV.WALES

Grant scheme to help people struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic

The Tenancy Hardship Grant supports people who are behind on their rent by more than eight weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021. Administered by local authorities the grant is open to people who are not receiving housing-related benefits. 

People living in private rented accommodation who have rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic may be eligible for the grant. 

People who are eligible can register their interest with their local authority immediately and grants will be processed from mid-July.

See: New £10 million grant scheme to help people struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic | GOV.WALES

Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants

Guidance for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors to explain the possession action process in the county courts in England and Wales has been updated to reflect changes to notice periods and bailiff enforcement in Wales.

See: Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Agricultural Shows Innovation Fund

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most, if not all, agricultural shows across Wales were cancelled in 2020 and a large number will be cancelled in 2021. 

The objective of the Innovation Fund is to encourage innovative solutions to help meet the current challenges and to aid collaboration between agricultural show Societies.

The Innovation Fund will support new projects only – no retrospective activities will be considered. 

There are three funding categories:

  • Category 1 – Innovation through the pandemic
  • Category 2 – Innovation within the “new normal”
  • Category 3 – Innovation that encourages collaboration

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 16 July 2021.

See: The Agricultural Shows Innovation Fund – Royal Welsh (rwas.wales)

Heritage Fund Programme

Steps to Sustainability, a new National Lottery Heritage Fund programme delivered by the Social Enterprise Academy, will provide a pathway of support to heritage organisations

Who should apply?

Small to medium heritage organisations based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and those who:

  • Have an income-generating idea that is not yet fully formed.
  • Need the resources and support this programme offers to pursue this idea. 
  • Will release up to two people from your organisation, ideally a trustee and a staff member or volunteer to attend the full programme.
  • Can commit to the full programme schedule. 

The closing date for applications is 23 July 2021.

See: Programme: Steps to Sustainability – Wales (socialenterprise.academy)

Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

Lists of and information about private providers who have self-declared that they meet the government’s minimum standards for the type of commercial COVID-19 testing service they offer.

There is added information on private providers of day 2 and day 8 tests for international arrivals, including a link to the list on GOV.​UK. Added further details on the UKAS accreditation process for private providers. Updated the general list of providers.

See: Private providers of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)