26 March Covid-19: More updates from government

HMRC’s tax helpline is changing

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. The tax helpline number is changing. You can now call them on 08000 241222. Opening hours are from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected automatically.

 Business Rates Expanded Retail Discount

Guidance on the operation of expanded retail discount 2020 to 2021 has been updated so that certain properties previously excluded from the relief, but that have been the forced to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions, will now be eligible for the relief. Many high street businesses that have closed due to Covid-19 restrictions will now be exempt from business rates including retail, leisure, and hospitality properties, estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls.

 Vehicle owners to be granted MOT exemption in battle against coronavirus

Temporary exemption will enable vital services to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine. Further information can be found here.

 Producing hand sanitiser and gel for coronavirus (COVID-19)

HMRC have produced guidance on temporary changes to the use and supply of denatured alcohol and duty-free spirits, to help businesses who produce hand sanitiser and gel. All guidance on the production and supply of hand sanitiser can be found here.

 Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The UK Government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice. To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. Further information can be found here.

 Hotel accommodation to support key workers and vulnerable people

Guidance has been updated to clarify the exemption for hotels, hostels, and B&Bs to open so they can offer accommodation to key workers and support rough sleepers to keep them off the streets and in suitable accommodation. Further guidance can be found here.

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