This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.

Measures are being announced and this tracker is updated on a daily basis.

This tracker includes changes in Budget and Finance Act 2021.

The Coronavirus Bill gives the government emergency powers to deal with the crisis in any way it needs. The bill includes some Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) measures. Further tax legislation enabling the other measures is being announced as the government devises it.

At a glance: new measures

Employers & Employees


Tax payments & compliance


Business rates

Cash funds

Loan funding 

The following loan funds have been announced during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. They are open until 31 March 2021, announced 17/12/20.

Other loans include:

See COVID-19: Loan funding


Land & property





Insurance schemes


Employers and employees

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Employers may claim a grant of up to 80% of past salaries of employees who would have been laid off during this crisis. This is subject to a cap of £2,500 per month.

There are different variations of the scheme, which ended on 30 September 2021:

March to October 2020

November to June 2021

See Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1 November 2020

July to September 2021

Job Support Scheme

Job Retention Bonus

COVID-19: Issues for directors and shareholders

See COVID-19: Company Directors & Shareholders

COVID-19 Homeworking guidance

See COVID-19: Working from home

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

HMRC's new claim portal initially went live on 26 May 2020.

During the pandemic small and medium-sized businesses and employers have been able to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows:

Draft legislation was laid before parliament on 9 September 2021 to end this scheme on 30 September 2021. Employers had until 31 December 2021 to make claims under the scheme (but see below for an extension for certain employers).

The suspension to the usual three waiting days for COVID-19 related SSP continues until 25 March 2022. 

Key essentials for employers

The online system for making an SSP reclaim is available through PAYE online. Where employers use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for them, the agent can make a claim on their behalf.

See HMRC Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Off-Payroll Working & SSP

See COVID-19: IR35 & Off-Payroll Working

IR35 & private sector Off-Payroll Working

See COVID-19: IR35 & Off-Payroll Working

Employment-Related Securities: Deadlines for registration of new schemes and filing of returns

See Employment-Related Securities: What’s New? June 2020

Kickstart Scheme

See Kickstart Scheme

Apprenticeship and training payments

See A Plan for Jobs 2020: Helping the unemployed

Employer-provided PPE and virus testing

See COVID-19: Employer-provided PPE and testing

Employer-reimbursed virus testing

Cycle to Work Scheme

See Cycle to Work



Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) (now ended)

First and second grants paid to 13 July 2020 and from 14 July 2020:

Extension of the scheme from 1 November 2020 to 30 September 2021:

See Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

See Our SEISS eligibility tool (this is made by us and not an HMRC tool) - added 30/4

Scotland: Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

A one-off grant of £2,000 if you became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and are unable to claim under the SEISS.

To be eligible you must:

See COVID-19: Scotland

Self-employed and low earners

Sick Pay


VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 could be deferred until 31 March 2021. 

This was a deferral of tax and not an exemption: effectively, this is a fast way to provide business with emergency funding.

See COVID-19 VAT deferred payments


VAT: Making Tax Digital (MTD) Digital links


 VAT: Temporary zero-rating of PPE from 1 May 2020 to 31 October 2020 (now ended)

See COVID-19: Temporary zero-rating for PPE


VAT: Option to tax deadline extended (now ended)

See COVID-19: Option to tax deadline extended

VAT: CIS Domestic Reverse Charge

See COVID-19: CIS Reverse Charge VAT

Temporary VAT cuts for hospitality and tourism

In his Summer economic update, the Chancellor announced a temporary cut to the rate of VAT on food, accommodation and entry fees to attractions from 20% to 5% until 12 January 2021, which was extended in his Winter Economic Plan to 31 March 2021. Budget 2021 extended this again until 30 September 2021 with a new 12.5% rate being introduced between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.

VAT on food and non-alcoholic drinks

From 15 July 2020 to 30 September 2021 (previously 31 March 2021, prior to that 12 January), to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector:

Between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 the 5% increases to 12.5% with a proposed return to the 20% rate from 1 April 2022.

VAT on accommodation and attractions

From 15 July 2020 to 30 September 2021 (previously 31 March 2021, prior to that 12 January):

Between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 the 5% increases to 12.5% with a proposed return to the 20% rate from 1 April 2022.

See COVID-19: Reduced rate VAT

Overseas VAT refund scheme (now ended)

For the prescribed period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020: 

See R & C Brief 10 (2021): Repayment of VAT to overseas businesses not established in the EU and not VAT registered in the UK

Deferring Income Tax payments

Income Tax

Income Tax payments on account due by 31 July 2020 for the 2019/20 tax year under the Self Assessment system could be deferred.

See COVID 19: Deferring Income Tax payments

Business taxes: Time to Pay

See Time to Pay agreement

Corporation Tax: claims for early repayment and loss relief

Companies House

A three-month filing extension was announced in respect of accounts from 25 March 2020. This now applies automatically until 5 April 2021.

See COVID-19: Companies House filing extensions

Appeals: Reasonable excuse

See Coronavirus is a reasonable excuse

Appeals: Reasonable excuse (Corporate Interest Restriction: CIR)

See Corporate interest restriction

Appeals: Deadline extended (now ended)

See COVID-19: Tax appeal deadlines extended


HMRC late payment interest rate cut

HMRC interest rates for late payments will be revised after the Bank of England interest rate reduction to 0.1%.

These changes will come into effect on:

Repayment interest rates remain unchanged. Added 20/3/2020

The rate for underpayments of quarterly instalments is reduced to 1.25% from 23 March 2020. Added 24/03/2020.

See COVID-19: HMRC reduce late payment interest rate


CGT: Soft landing on penalties under new 30-day reporting regime

See Change to new CGT reporting


Access to Heritage Assets: Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme 


Business Rates

Small business rates scheme

Business Rates: Expanded Retail Discount

See COVID-19 Business Rates

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:


Grant funding

Cash grants are available to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

See COVID-19 Grant Funding for Business.

SME business support grants

A £20m fund for grants of £1,000 to £5,000 to help SME's rebuild.

See £20m in new grants for SME’s

Arts Council funding

Cash grants are available: there is a tight deadline for applications.

See COVID-19: Arts Council Funding 


Check your policy wording and contact your insurer.

Hardship/Household Support Fund: Social housing and homeless

Other immediate changes applicable for direct and indirect taxes

Statutory Residence Test (SRT)

See COVID-19: Statutory Residence Test

Landlords & Tenants

Private or social accommodation. 

Commercial tenants

See COVID-19: Landlords & tenants

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

A reduced rate of SDLT applies on the purchase of residential property from 8 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, this exempts properties costing £500,000 or less from a charge. The exemption decreases to £250,000 from 1 July 2021 to 30 October 2021 before returning back to pre-pandemic rates of £125,000 from 1 November 2021.

See SDLT Rates & Allowances

HMRC has updated its guidance on exceptional circumstances that allow refunds following a sale outside of the normal three-year limit to specifically include the impact of COVID-19 preventing the sale. 

You may still be able to apply for a refund, if you purchased your new home on or after 1 January 2017 and were unable to sell your previous home within 3 years. To be able to get the refund, the delay in selling must be because of exceptional circumstances. These may be, but are not limited to:

See SDLT Residential Porperty Higher Rate 

Land and Buildings Transaction tax, see COVID-19 Scotland


Temporary changes to pension tax for recently retired returning public sector workers

See COVID 19: Pension tax changes for retired public sector staff returning to work


Reduction in lifetime ISA withdrawal charge

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