The government has released updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), including information on the furlough scheme, as well as guidance on delaying import duty and VAT.

Updated guidance on the CJRS has been released, including further information on directors’ pay, confirming that furloughed employees can’t be asked to work for a linked or associated company, as well as more details on how to apply the CJRS to employees working for more than one employer. Full details of this are available at:

Any employer looking to claim back 80% of furloughed employees pay under CJRS will also need to make the necessary claim via HMRC’s online Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal, which is planned for full release on 20 April.

To access the CJRS portal and to make a claim, the employer must be enrolled for PAYE online.

If employers are not currently registered, they should do so urgently to minimise the delay in claiming CJRS payments – further details on how to register for PAYE online are available at:

Delaying Import Duty and VAT

HMRC has announced that duty deferment account holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus, and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT, can now be approved to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended.

For more information, account holders can contact the Duty Deferment Office on 03000 594243 or by emailing, or via the covid-19 helpline on 0800 024 1222.

Duty Deferment account holders can use their accounts during the extended payment period agreed, unless they default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending their account.

The outstanding payment will also not affect their duty deferment limit, so they won’t need to increase their guarantee to cover the outstanding payment, and where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest won’t be charged on the outstanding payments provided they’re paid in full by the agreed date.

Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account

For registered importers who pay cash or an equivalent and are facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of covid-19, the HMRC can now offer an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due – the extension is not available to non-registered importers, and each decision is taken on a case-by-case basis by HMRC and could be refused.

If the request is approved the conditions, including the length of time offered, will depend upon the importer’s individual circumstances and may require the holding of a guarantee for the period of the time extension.

For further information, contact the Customs Debt Policy by emailing

Covid-19: Furlough scheme cut-off date extended to 19 March

The government has announced that the eligibility cut-off date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended to the 19 March 2020, to ensure that thousands more employees can receive support.

Under the scheme, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month, although individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 2020.

New guidance has confirmed that the eligibility date has now been extended to March 19 2020 – the day before the CJRS was announced.

Employers can now claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

HMRC said the scheme is due to be fully operational next week. If any employer now thinks they are eligible for support, they can find out more at: