Employer Bulletin – April 2020

24 April 2020

The latest edition of the Employer Bulletin has been released by HMRC and can be located here.

This particular edition discusses the latest HMRC updates to support employers and payroll agents through the Coronavirus pandemic and includes information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme and the deferral of VAT payments. The Bulletin also looks at the wider effects of COVID-19 on IR35 reforms, workplace pensions and the independent loan charge.

There is information relating to more ‘business as usual’ items for payroll professionals including updates on claiming the Employment Allowance, changes to the Official Rate of Interest, and reporting Expenses and Benefits in Kind.

Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme

On the topic of the Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme, there is confirmation that HMRC is continuing its work to establish the systems for reimbursement of SSP for eligible employers. Further details on the scheme, and how it interacts with state aid will be published in due course.

Workplace pensions and COVID-19

The Bulletin also reminds employers of the ongoing requirement to meet their Automatic Enrolment (AE) duties, despite the unprecedented and challenging times we are living in. Employers who claim for a grant under the CJRS will be able to claim pension contributions, up to the level of the statutory minimum AE employer contribution on the wages they are claiming. The scheme does not require employers to amend their pension arrangements and current scheme rules and contribution requirements will still apply.

If employers are worried that they may not be able to make their pension contributions, regardless of whether they have furloughed employees or not, they should discuss this with their provider. Employers may be able to change the due date for payment of employer contributions to a later date or be able to pay contributions over a longer period. There are also government support packages available to help employers if they are having issues with their cash flow.

Official Rate of Interest 2020-21

The Official Rate of Interest used to calculate the income tax charge due on the benefit of employment-related loans and the taxable benefit of some employer-provided living accommodation is confirmed as being 2.25% for tax year 2020-21. If an employer provides employment-related loans or living accommodation to employees, they will need to note the reduction in the interest rate.

Reporting Expenses and Benefits in Kind for tax year ending 5 April 2020

There is also a reminder about the deadline for reporting any Expenses and Benefits in Kind as it is rapidly approaching, on 6 July 2020. Employers need to report this information for each employee that they have provided with expenses and benefits.

Employers can report using either commercial payroll software, HMRC’s PAYE Online service, or HMRC’s Online End of Year Expenses and Benefits service. If they cannot use any of these, then they can use the official forms P11D and P11D(b).

If the information is sent late then employees could end up paying the wrong tax, so employers should ensure that they adhere to the deadline.

It is advisable for all payroll professionals to familiarise themselves with the content of the Bulletin in full.


The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.