Gef’s Daily Roundup

Montreal Protocol Extended

Increased measures to protect the Earth’s atmosphere from ozone depleting substances, under an international treaty, have been extended to the Isle of Man. Having ratified the original Montreal Protocol the latest amendments bring the island in line with the UK with immediate effect after their Government accepted the Island’s request.

The treaty limits the production of an array of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and compounds known as Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (F-Gases) that contribute significantly to global warming and are found in items such as fridges and fire extinguishers.

As a fully signed up member to the Montreal Protocol, the Island will be able to ship items that contain the ozone depleting substances to the UK for appropriate disposal. This has been illegal since July 2017. The situation had led to a stockpiling of some products, including hundreds of fridges that could not be disposed of as there is currently no facility to do it on the island.

Changes to Salary Support

In accordance with the guidance for the Salary Support Scheme, any business which has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak can apply, subject to certain conditions. For this scheme, adversely affected means a reduction in revenue of at least 25% due to reduced demand or closure during the period of the grant claim. A comparison for the same period in 2019 should be used to determine whether there has been a reduction in revenue.

The Treasury has been contacted by a number of businesses which were in their relative infancy in 2019 and were more established in 2020. They may therefore be able to comply with this requirement when comparing the turnover figures to those of 2020 rather than 2019. In light of this, a decision has been made that for periods 12 and 13 (January and February 2021) businesses can make comparisons in turnover to the same period in either 2019 or 2020. Claims for periods 12 and 13 that have previously been rejected on the basis of a comparison to 2019 will be reviewed and applicants contacted accordingly. 

Submit VAT Online

VAT-registered businesses and individuals are reminded that they will be required to submit Value Added Tax (VAT) returns online and make payments electronically from 1 April 2021. Three-quarters of VAT returns are currently submitted electronically using the gov’s online services. 
It will become mandatory to submit this way from 1 April to ensure all customers are prepared for the forthcoming introduction of an improved system with greater online functionality. Customers who are not currently enrolled for VAT online services will automatically receive an activation code with their next VAT return. 

Guidance is available at www.gov.im/customs to help customers through the enrolment process, and one-to-one sessions will also be accommodated for those who require additional help. Assistance can be requested by calling 686677.

Changes to Postal Customs

People are being reminded that postal goods, received from outside of the UK, may now be subject to import duties. 

It comes after Isle of Man Customs and Excise reported an increase in queries since changes were introduced from 1 January 2021 following Brexit. The changes include the charge of Customs Duty, Excise Duty and VAT on goods arriving from the EU. The Customs and Excise Division is responsible for collecting any charges due on goods arriving through the post and, if applicable, will send a letter detailing any payment required. The goods will not be released until all tax and duties have been paid. The charges can easily be paid using Government Online Services at https://services.gov.im.

Not Out of the Woods Yet

Unlocking too quickly would lead to a substantial surge in Covid infections, the UK’s chief medical adviser says. Prof Chris Whitty told MPs that would be dangerous and risk lives among the many vulnerable people not yet protected by the vaccine. “A lot of people may think this is all over. It is very easy to forget how quickly things can turn bad,” he said. His comments come amid pressure from backbench Tories to ease lockdown more quickly, given the drop in infections.

Palace Recollections ‘Differ’

Buckingham Palace has issued a statement in response to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, saying issues of race are ‘concerning’ and ‘will be addressed’. Following the explosive interview airing in full on UK television last night, a palace spokesman said: ‘The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. 

‘The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.’

An average of 11.1m people in the UK watched the interview on Monday night.