What is the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme to offer a discount to diners and encourage them to eat out of home during his Summer Statement on 8 July.
It can be used all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 August to 31 August 2020 to offer a 50% discount - up to a maximum of £10 per person - to diners for food and non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in.
Alcoholic drinks and service charges are excluded from the offer.
There is no limited to the number of times customers can use the offer during this period, however customers cannot get a discount for someone who is not eating or drinking.
Who can register?
Operators can register their pub if it:
- Sells food for immediate consumption on site
- Provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for sit-down meals
- Was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July 2020
Businesses that CANNOT register are:
- Those that only offer takeaway food or drink
- Catering for private functions
- Hotel that only provides room service
- Dining services such as packaged dinner cruises
- Mobile trailers or vans
Operators should note that if an application is based on inaccurate or dishonest information, their registration will be revoked.
When can pubs register?
Pubs can register for the scheme from Monday 13 July but the Government states discounts cannot be offered before 3 August.
Once registered, it is expected operators will offer the discount during the whole of their opening hours on all the eligible days they are open and on all qualifying sales of food and drink.
If a customer buys a meal with the intention of eating it in but then takes it away and leaves, the discount can still be applied.
The service pub operators will use to claim reimbursements will be available on 7 August.
Operators must wait seven days from registration to make their first claim. HMRC will pay eligible claims within five working days.
Claims can be submitted on a weekly basis.
Operators will still need to pay VAT based on the full amount of their customers’ bills and any money they receive through the scheme will be treated as taxable income.
HMRC will provide further guidance on how to make a claim when the registration service is open.
Where will pubs be able to register?
The service where operators can register from is not yet live but will be from Monday 13 July.
How to register
Ensure you have your Government Gateway ID and password (if you don’t have one, you can create one when you register) to hand.
You will also need the name and address of each venue to be registered, unless you are registering more than 25 (if this is the case, you cannot register yet but this service will be available from 13 July).
If you are registering 25 venues or fewer, you must provide the details of each site. You may also need to provide a list to HMRC on request, with details of all participating establishments.
If you do need to register more than 25 establishments that are part of the same business, you do not have to provide details for each one but a link to a website that contains details of each venue participating in the scheme including the trading name and address.
The UK bank account number and sort code for the business (details where a BACS payment can be accepted) will be required alongside the address on the bank account for the business.
It may also be useful to have your VAT registration number, employer PAYE scheme reference number and corporation tax or self-assessment unique taxpayer reference to hand.
What happens after registration?
Registration is instant and you will receive a reference number, which you will need when you claim the reimbursement.
There will also be promotional materials available to download to help promote the scheme and inform customers of your participation.
Venues will also be added to a list of registered establishments that will be available to the public but isn’t available yet.
The Government is encouraging operators to register all eligible businesses as while it may be possible to add new establishments once you have registered your business, you will have to contact HMRC again and this could delay venues being included in the scheme.
To be removed from the list, you will have to contact HMRC but this isn’t immediate so you should let customers know you aren’t offering the discount.
What records do pubs have to keep?
For each day of using the scheme, details of the following must be kept:
- Total number of people who have used the scheme in your venue
- Total value of transactions under the scheme
- Total amount of discounts given
If you are using the scheme for more than one venue, you must keep the above records for each.