The government has set up a dedicated support page where businesses can find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus.

HMRC support during COVID-19

Coronavirus helpline

The HMRC helpline number has been updated while they support customers impacted by coronavirus – call 0800 024 1222 from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme  

The Chancellor has announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

GOV.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.

Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June inviting them to apply.

Unfortunately this may lead to an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Remember that HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your bank details, PIN or password. If someone texts, emails or calls claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond

The government has also introduced the following help for the self-employed:

We will continue to share the most up-to-date information directly with you as it becomes available.

Job Retention Scheme

The government has committed to supporting businesses and individuals through the Coronavirus pandemic.  The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows businesses to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

HMRC has now published further details on GOV.UK. They are aiming to have the scheme open by the end of April 2020. More detailed guidance will be published closer to the time.

Guidance for employers is available on GOV.UK.

Guidance for employees is also available on GOV.UK.

Statutory Sick Pay – Update 

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing two weeks of COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million employers with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Individuals who are employed by a Personal Service Company are entitled to SSP on the same terms as any other employee.

HMRC will provide further details on how employers can access the rebate as soon as possible.

Working Tax Credit Uprating – Update 

Working Tax Credits payments will be increased by £1,045 to £3,040 per year from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021.

The amount a claimant or household will benefit from will depend on their circumstances, including their level of household income. But the increase could mean up to an extra £20 each week.

The increased payments will come into effect on the 6 April, but individual payment dates will vary. Your constituents should only contact HMRC if you have not received an increased payment by 18 May. They can find out more about your Working Tax Credit payments on the HMRC app or through a Personal Tax Account.

VAT deferrals 

Customers who are unable to pay VAT due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, now have the option to defer that payment until 31 March 2021. They will not need to apply for deferral as eligibility is automatic. Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do this in sufficient time.

COVID-19 scammers target taxpayers 

HMRC has seen that fraudsters are taking advantage of COVID-19 to offer spurious financial support and tax refunds. They text, email or phone taxpayers offering the bogus refund or aid, or threaten them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed. These scams often target the elderly and vulnerable.

If someone texts, emails or calls claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you are owed a tax refund or can claim financial help, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it’s a scam.

HMRC’s advice:

  1. Recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your bank details, PIN or password.
  2. Stay safe – don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
  3. Take action – forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts to 60599.
  4. Check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and to recognise genuine HMRC contact.
  5. If you think you have received an HMRC-related phishing or bogus email or text message, you can check it against examples published on GOV.UK.
  6. Contact your bank immediately if you believe you’ve submitted card details to a scammer and report to Action Fraud if you suffer financial loss.
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