Quarter of self-employed to delay paying tax

A quarter of self employed workers are expected to delay paying tax at the end of the month due to Covid.

Tax Return

UK HMRC self assessment income tax return form 2020

A quarter of self-employed workers plan to delay their tax bill amid financial struggles stemming from the coronavirus crisis, according to a report from consumer group Which?

The report shows that 25% of the 4,000 people surveyed are hoping to delay the payment due on January 31st, while one in five has already deferred July 2020’s tax payment.

One in six taxpayers said they either did not know how they planned to settle their tax bill or had not thought about it yet.

The report came as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) calculated that 14% of the UK workforce was furloughed in the week to December 27th, up from 11% the week before, while the proportion of companies still trading during the second half of December fell to 71% from 84% in the earlier part of the month.

The ONS report said that the latest lockdown had taken a toll on the jobs market, with data compiled by job search platform Adzuna showing that the number of postings fell by five percentage points in the week that ended on January 8th. Jobs site Indeed has also noted that the new lockdown has reversed the steady recovery in job vacancies seen at the end of 2020, with the number of jobs on its site now 36% down on the previous year’s trend and continuing to fall, with declines sharpest in sectors forced into a ‘stop-start’ pattern of closure, reopening and closure by lockdown restrictions. Fitness and beauty businesses are the hardest hit.

Employment rights post Brexit

Meanwhile, the Government initially denied reports that it is considering changes to employment rights post-Brexit to remove ‘red tape’. The FT says the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has consulted some business leaders on the proposals which include ending the 48-hour maximum working week, changes to rules about breaks at work, logging daily working hours and overtime pay in relation to holiday entitlements. Any deviation from EU standards could lead to retaliatory measures such as tariffs by the European Union. On 19th January, the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the business, energy and industrial strategy committee that his department was carrying out a consultation with business leaders into EU employment rules, including the working time directive.

And Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development Freedom of Information requests have shown that just over a third of claims for financial support during self-isolation made by low-income workers in England have been granting, with wide variation across local authorities. The Government announced last year that low-paid workers required to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service should be entitled to a £500 payment.

Meanwhile, Labour is expected to use an opposition day debate on Monday to force a House of Commons vote on proposals to retain the £20-a-week Covid boost to universal credit and working tax credit.

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