Below are extracts from Howard’s end of year bumper holiday edition  I have included the following:-

SWAB TESTS

The Government is to introduce a temporary income tax exemption and National Insurance contributions (NICs) disregard, to ensure that employees who purchase their own Coronavirus swab tests, and are reimbursed by their employer, will not attract income tax and NICs liabilities in the current tax year.

A Coronavirus swab test means a test which detects the presence of a viral antigen or viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) specific to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Under normal tax rules, the cash reimbursement of a test by an employer to an employee, would constitute earnings, and the amount reimbursed would be subject to income tax and Class 1 NICs as a result.

This measure allows employees to access a Coronavirus swab test, outside of the national testing programme, for business reasons without attracting income tax and NICs liabilities, for example if an employee needs a negative test result in order to travel abroad for business.

BREXIT – HMRC urges businesses to act now to avoid delays

With just two weeks to go until the Brexit transition period ends, HMRC is urging traders to complete crucial preparations needed to trade with Europe from 1 January.

This month, HMRC has sent 250,000 letters and emails to VAT-registered traders urging them to get ready for the new trading rules. 

The changes to customs and tax rules on 1 January will affect everyone who trades with Europe, no matter the type or value of the goods they buy or sell, how frequently they trade or how their goods are transported. Ongoing trade negotiations between the UK and the EU will not impact on this deadline.  

There will be no further extensions and these talks will not remove the changes ahead for trading with Europe. As of 1 January, businesses will no longer be able to trade with EU countries in the same way they do at present. 

In HMRC’s letter we urge traders to complete the new trader checklist  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/steps-to-take-before-calculating-your-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme It helps them work through the key steps they will need to take to prepare for 1 January 2021.

For businesses that plan on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the free Trader Support Service https://www.tradersupportservice.co.uk/tss can guide them through new processes under the Northern Ireland Protocol that starts from 1 January 2021.

If you want to read the full edition please contact Howard at mail@spa.org.uk