COVID-19: New consultation on the taxation of coronavirus support grants

02 June 2020


On 29 May 2020, Government published a consultation on draft clauses to the Finance Bill 2020 “Draft legislation: Taxation of coronavirus (COVID-19) support payments”.

  • The legislation ensures that grants made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are within the scope of tax and included as revenue for income tax and corporation tax purposes.
  • This will apply to the following support payments:
    • CJRS,
    • SEISS,
    • Any other scheme that is the subject of a direction given under section 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (functions of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in relation to coronavirus or coronavirus disease),
    • A Coronavirus Business Support Grant Scheme; and
    • Any scheme specified or described in regulations made under the draft legislation by the Treasury.
  • Under the CJRS, the recipient of the grant is taxed if the employees are working in a UK taxable business (to ensure that any deduction for employee expenses met by the grant is matched by taxation of the grant covering those expenses).
  • Grants paid under the CJRS in respect of employees not working for a business are outside the scope of tax.
  • Under the SEISS, the recipient of the grant is taxed on the amount as if it were profits of the trade to which it relates in the 2020-21 income tax year.
  • HMRC will have additional compliance and enforcement powers in relation to the CJRS and SEISS in order to recover payments in which recipients were not entitled. These powers can also be used in circumstances where a CJRS payment has not been used to pay employees, make pensions contributions, pay PAYE or National Insurance contributions.
  • HMRC will have the power to recover payments, by imposing a 100% tax charge, from anyone who has received a payment under the Schemes to which they are not fully entitled or anyone who has not used a CJRS payment to pay employee costs, PAYE, NICs and make pension contributions.
  • HMRC will charge a penalty if an individual’s behaviour is considered to have been deliberate.
  • The provisions give HMRC powers to make an officer of an insolvent company jointly and severally liable for the Income Tax charge raised in relation to any CJRS payment to which the company was not entitled or any CJRS payment which was never intended to be used to pay employee costs, PAYE, NICs and make pension contributions in certain circumstances.
  • The draft tax information and impact note states a penalty will only apply if the person fails to notify HMRC about the deliberate incorrect claim within 30 days, or 30 days after the Finance Bill receives Royal Assent if it arose before that.
  • The measure will be monitored through information collected from tax returns, receipts and compliance activity.
  • The measure will have effect from Royal Assent of the Finance Bill 2020.
  • The consultation will close on 12 June 2020.

View the consultation here.

Aspire Comment

This draft legislation confirms what we were expecting the next actions and powers of HMRC to be. Compliance investigations will be taking place on a mass scale, and it is imperative that you have calculated your payments appropriately, maintained the required records, and acted with reasonable care.

We are offering a fixed price COVID-19 Health-Check aimed at guiding you through the process and replicating HMRC’s likely approach to a post-COVID-19 investigation.  We will detail recommendations for remedial action which may be taken to reduce potential risks where necessary.

If you would like to arrange a Health-Check please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0121 445 6178 or email