Quick note on a subject very much on a lot of freelancers minds at present
Furloughing yourself if you are a limited company.
Whilst the government announcements have actually raised more questions than answers I thought I would provide my summary of what we do know is possible under the furlough scheme.
As you are no doubt aware by now, if you are in the position of working through your own limited company, you can benefit from the government job retention scheme and claim 80 percent of your average salaried pay (not including dividends) by furloughing your employment for a minimum of a 3 week period.
HMRC have yet to implement an actual system for this yet but have advised that an online portal should be operational by end of April. Your furloughed employment can be backdated to 1 March 2020 or any date after this from when you stopped working. You must not carry out work whilst you are furloughed, however, if you are a Director as well, you can continue to fulfil your Director’s duties during your furlough.
Furlough pay is paid to you from your company through your ‘normal’ PAYE payroll systems. The new HMRC portal will allow you to upload pay data and then HMRC will refund the employer. There are a few ways of working out ‘average pay’ (average from February, average from the last 12 months, etc.) and the Government have said you can use the most generous to the employee. The maximum you can claim for is 80 % of average income from salary to a maximum of £2500 per month. You will need to create a furlough agreement between yourself as the employee and the limited company to demonstrate you have furloughed yourself – this can be a simple one page document varying your contract of employment.
You can unfurlough and refurlough, HOWEVER each furlough period must be at least three weeks and you cannot accept work during that period. HMRC will retrospectively audit companies claiming furlough pay. Obviously if you have any specific queries please do reach out to me, I cant promise I will be able to answer but I will try!
I’ll follow with more information as and when its clarified.