Updated: Aug 5
So how was it for you ? No, Mr Hancock not that ! I mean Freedom Day.
Does it feel like the handcuffs have come off and life is back to 2019 normal ? Or is it like Groundhog Day, does the new normal feel just like last week ?
And with freedom comes challenges. For example, I'm not sure of the etiquette of masks any more. Do you, on walking into a small shop where there is no-one else present except the (non mask wearing) assistant wear one anyway, or be polite and wave it around showing that you'd be willing to if he or she wanted. In waving it around you are doubtless scattering little COVIDs to all four corners of the shop, but by leaving it in your pocket you can be seen to be recklessly endangering the assistant's health.
Can we shake hands again ? And if you do so, is it expected that the next thing you do is get sanitiser out ?
What about hugging ? It all feels very clandestine, even if you're not the former Health Secretary.
Heaven forbid that you cough in the street. Do you do it discretely and look around for a stranger to glare at ?
At risk of sounding uncharacteristically philosophical, perhaps we just need to remind ourselves that the only constant in life is change. Google tells me that Heraclitus said that in about 500BC (hint - BC does not mean 'Before Coronavirus')
Maybe we should just forget how great the world was in 2019 (like we've forgotten the bad bits about it) and focus on making our new 2021 lives as great as we can.
On that note, what are the freedom positives ?
1. We have the new SEISS scheme (grant 5)
A characteristic of each of the self employed grants is that every one of them has involved different calculations. Round 5 is no different.
The claims are now open, the self employed person wishing to claim has until the end of September to make the claim. There are many conditions, most of which are the same as claims 1-4. As with previous rounds, these need to be made yourselves, they aren't something I can do for you.
But to focus on the headlines of the claim, and in particular what makes this different to any of the previous ones:-
- You have to extract your turnover for the period 1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021. Here's a point - those accounts may not have been given to your trusty accountant yet. You'd better get a move on, please don't send them in on the 29th September ! And, of course, you may not make your accounts up to 31st March...
- You compare that turnover with the declared turnover that went on the 2019/20 tax return.
- If 2019-20 wasn't a representative year for your business, you can use 2018/19 as a comparison, but need to be able to justify why you think that to be the case
- If turnover is down by 30% or more and assuming all other conditions are met then a grant of 80% of 3 months profits is made (to a maximum of £7,500)
- If turnover is down by less than 30% then assuming all other conditions are met, a grant of 30% of three months profits is made, capped at £2,850.
Like the other grants, it remains liable to tax and National Insurance as part of your trading profits.
2. I have the wisdom of Samson
This week I was pondering with a client an intractable problem they had within their business. Inevitably it involved people (in my experience all intractable problems involve humans.)
After a few minutes - or maybe hours, it certainly felt like it - of going nowhere the idea was formed of how to solve the situation, which on discussion turned out to be a plan as cunning as any of Baldrick's.
I was told 'you really do have the wisdom of Samson'
Now, my knowledge of the Old Testament isn't as good as maybe it should be. But I recall that Sansom was the strongman who after being captured and tortured pushed the temple pillars apart killing all those inside.
I like to think that the client actually meant 'Soloman', the kindly, intelligent and immensely wise King. My teenage daughters, on the other hand, now prefer to think of me as some kind of prototype suicide bomber.
3. George has a response from HMRC
I have a problem with HMRC concerning George (name changed). It's involved writing letters (corresponding by email with HMRC is still seen as radical).
I have an outstanding letter (that refers, incidentally, to the fact that I needed a reply, not to the quality of the pensmanship. Mind you, now that it's been mentioned...).
Anyway, I've been chasing and yesterday received a reply.
'Thank you for your letter of 30th December, I apologise for the delay in replying.......'
It goes on to discuss further information needed, and finishes with
'Please let me have your reply in 15 days'
How to respond to that ?
Anyway, it's the weekend so that I should do what the Spanish Magician famous for his vanishing act used to do. He'd stand on stage, count uno, dos then disappear without a tres
On that note, stay safe and stay positive. Enjoy your weekend