Tuesday 24 March 2020

Getting information from HM Government is patchy and they seem unable to answer basic questions. We have been e-mailed the following documents by HMRC :

Covid-19 Guidance for Employees

Covid-19 Support for Businesses

which raise as many questions as they answer. We can access the HM Revenue and Customs Agents’ Forum and we are looking at least every day to see if there is anything new. This forum puts us into direct contact with HMRC but often we are just talking to the office boy. There are reports of a nursing home in Spain where the management have scarpered, and HM Commissioners of Revenue and Customs appear to be joining them.

The issue at the top of the list is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which is outlined in Covid-19 Support for Businesses. This is about as much as anybody knows at the moment. Beyond that, well, we are simply not looking that far ahead just yet. It will be somebody’s pay day this Friday March 27th and we will concentrate on that.

The next issue is anybody Self-Employed whose income has collapsed, a self-employed hairdresser being one example. We are currently advising clients to apply for Universal Credit, but there is a Bill going through Parliament which may offer something else.

If you have an upcoming deadline then we will post you a One-Time Authorisation Code about a month in advance, so everything can be done by e-mail. We have told HMRC about the OTAC and have asked them if it is OK, but have been unable to get an answer from the office boy. They actually use some sort of OTAC system themselves for internal communications.

We send the OTAC by second class post on a Saturday afternoon so it takes as long as possible to get to you. We can send it by mobile phone SMS if you wish. For security, we do not send it by e-mail.

We are open on Sundays for e-mails about emerging issues, but the service may be a bit slower.

The spot of bother between 1939 and 1945 was officially known as the National Emergency. This is obviously a new National Emergency and should be recognised as such. This morning of Monday March 23rd we had 5 reams of paper dumped outside our door after ordering it, but without the doorbell being pressed, so we can take it the emergency starts today.

In general our long-standing advocacy of all-electronic ways of doing things means we are incidentally the champions of social distancing. The banks are not pulling their weight during this new National Emergency by making it easy for us to access bank accounts directly by all-electronic means. If you have cash transactions, then you may record them on sheets to be found elsewhere on this website and scan and e-mail them to us. Bank statements and other documents can be scanned and e-mailed as well. Please contact us for a discussion.

We are currently well-stocked with ink, stamps and paper. We bought plenty of first class stamps last week in anticipation of postal rates going up today, March 23rd. Generally we will be running a bit more slowly, but we will aim to be always in contact with our clients. We will not be running our printer to print off large quantities of documents in case it breaks down.