Update as on 31 March 2020

This is a current update as of today Tuesday March 31st.

We have highlighted in italics those that have been updated.

 

Useful contacts

 

HMRC Coronavirus helpline: 0800 0159 559

Universal credit helpline: 0800 328 5644

Universal credit website: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

HMRC Coronavirus guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

We have tested all of the above and you can get through.

 

Time to pay service- HMRC

  • Case by case basis
  • Covid 19 helpline 0800 0159 559
  • Clients to call in any case if Self-assessment, PAYE, VAT or corporation tax as they will be then be able to mark the account so as not to expect the payment
  • Having called the line they are open to helping clients and are mostly telling clients not to pay their liabilities at this time
  • If a client can’t pay their liability don’t pay it but contact the line at the same time to tell them
  • Interest on deferred payments and time to pay usually 1% to 3% this may be cancelled further down the line

 

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

 

  • Self- employed profits must be less than £50,000
  • Claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. (This may be extended if needed)
  • The scheme won’t likely come in until 1 June 2020
  • You can apply if self- employed individual or a member of a partnership
  • You need to have submitted a self-assessment tax return to 5 April 2019
  • Chancellor has given those who have yet to submit a 2019 return a further 4 weeks to submit these so that they qualify so filed by 23 April 2020
  • You need to have traded in 2019/20
  • As long as you are still trading you can still apply and are intending to still trade
  • Once applied your money will be paid into your bank
  • Not able to be applied for yet and HMRC will contact you if they are eligible for the scheme NB: We think that there may have to be some declaration made to enable HMRC to pay out but we will let you know once we have an update
  • Tax years taken into account include 2016/17 – 2018/19
  • Taken from an average of the income for the 3 years

 

Coronavirus Job retention scheme

 

  • All businesses eligible.
  • In order to use the company needs to change the status of employees to ‘Furloughed Employees’ (employees with temporary leave) and notify them of this change.
  • Submit information about furloughed employees and their earnings through a new online portal (still to be launched)
  • Employees who were given P45 as at 28th February 2020 are now reinstated on payroll
  • HMRC will then reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wages costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month (HMRC still working to set this system up)
  • System to be live within 2 to 3 weeks
  • Maximum grant calculated per employee and in addition employers national insurance and auto enrolled pension contribution
    • Example of claim £2,500 + £245 (Ers NI)+ £59 (Auto Enrolment pension)= £2,804.00 claim allowable per employee per month
  • Company directors can claim Furlough provided they were on PAYE as at 28 Feb 2020; company directors can complete their statutory duties which is the only work allowed this has been confirmed by Ben Kerry of HMRC
  • Businesses who have genuinely got work on like the Key worker businesses are unlikely to qualify entirely as there is work there for them and Furloughing employees isn’t in the best interest of the business

 

Deferring VAT and personal income tax payments

 

  • VAT payments deferred for 3 months from 20th March 2020
  • Self-assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 now deferred until 31 January 2021
  • Automatic offer with no applications required
  • Taxpayers will be given until the 5 April 2021 to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid as normal
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in deferral period for both Self-assessment and VAT
  • Cancel any direct debit set up with HMRC so as to avoid the payment been taken accidentally

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption loan scheme

 

  • Launched last week and has about 40 lenders ready to help
  • Government provides lenders with 80% guarantee on each loan
  • Guarantee on loan is free
  • Scheme supports loans up to £5 million
  • 12 months interest free rather than the 6 months first reported
  • Turnover must be below £45 million per annum
  • First £250,000 (at discretion of lender) no personal guarantee required
  • Finance terms are up to 6 years
  • List of lenders and rules available on https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
  • We are still hearing that lenders are asking for personal guarantees on some of these loans. The Government has said that the guarantee should be on them and they are going to look into the lenders practice here; we will update you when we here anymore

 

Universal credit for Self employed

 

  • Working tax credit for the next 12 months is been increased by the same amount
  • Minimum income floor for Self-employed been removed meaning every self-employed person can now access in full universal credit at a rate equivalent to SSP
  • £1bn support for renters by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and universal credit, so that the allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in all areas
  • Worked out on a case by case basis
  • Universal credit helpline 0800 328 5644
  • This needs to be applied for by the self- employed individual and is easier to apply online than over the phone

 

Businesses paying sick pay to employees

 

  • Sick pay includes employees from small and medium sized businesses
  • Sick pay starts from day 1 and not day 4
  • Refund of 2 weeks SSP per eligible employee who has been off because of Covid-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees qualify
  • Employers can reclaim the expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP
  • Sick note for employee can be obtained from 111
  • Government will be in touch with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism as soon as possible

 

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates

 

  • Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/21 tax year
  • Businesses that received the discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by the local authority as soon as possible
  • Eligible if business is based in England and is in this sector
  • No action for client as local authority will contact business
  • Local authorities are already starting to contact businesses with regards this grant

 

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

 

  • Cash grants available up to £25,000 per property
  • Businesses in sector with rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
  • Businesses with rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000
  • Local authorities are already starting to contact businesses with regards this grant

 

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

 

  • Business rates holiday for nurseries in England for 2020/21 tax year
  • Local authorities are already starting to contact businesses with regards this grant

 

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

 

  • Companies that receive small business rates relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) or tapered relief (TR)
  • Government will provide £10,000 one off grant
  • Local authorities are already starting to contact businesses with regards this grant

 

Support for larger firms through the Covid-19 corporate financing facility

 

  • For turnovers of above £45 million
  • Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies
  • Supports companies by a short term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short term liabilities
  • We are still waiting to hear details on this.

 

 

 

Update as of 27 March 2020

After the further update provided by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Thursday with regards to the next steps for self- employed workers please find below a summary of the points raised with our comments along with further updates on previous information provided both from previous schemes offered and Companies House. Should you need any further support then please contact us.

HMRC Coronavirus helpline: 0800 0159 559

Universal credit helpline: 0800 328 5644

HMRC Coronavirus guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

We have tested all of the above and you can get through.

New points raised by Chancellor on Thursday 27th March 2020 along with further updates

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

  • Claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. (This may be extended if needed)
  • The scheme won’t likely come in until 1 June 2020
  • You can apply if self- employed individual or a member of a partnership
  • You need to have submitted a self-assessment tax return to 5 April 2019
  • Chancellor has given those who have yet to submit a 2019 return a further 4 weeks to submit these so that they qualify so filed by 23 April 2020
  • You need to have traded in 2019/20
  • As long as you are still trading you can still apply and are intending to still trade
  • Self- employed profits must be less than £50,000
  • They are covering the periods of accounts from 2016 – 2019 to work out the average income across them
  • Not able to be applied for yet and HMRC will contact you if they are eligible for the scheme
  • Once applied your money will be paid into your bank

Barnett Ravenscroft comments: – You will appreciate that this scheme is in its infancy and we will update you when we know more

 

Earlier points raised:

Time to pay service- HMRC

  • Case by case basis
  • Interest on deferred payments and time to pay usually 2% or 3% this is likely to be cancelled further down the line
  • Covid 19 helpline 0800 0159 559
  • Clients to call in any case if Self-assessment, PAYE, VAT or corporation tax as they will be then be able to mark the account so as not to expect the payment
  • Having called the line they are open to helping clients and are mostly telling clients not to pay their liabilities at this time

 

Coronavirus Job retention scheme

  • All businesses eligible.
  • In order to use the company needs to change the status of employees to ‘Furloughed Employees’ (employees with temporary leave) and notify them of this change.
  • Submit information about furloughed employees and their earnings through a new online portal (still to be launched)
  • Employees who were given P45 as at 28th February 2020 are now reinstated on payroll
  • HMRC will then reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wages costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month (HMRC still working to set this system up)
  • System to be live within 2 to 3 weeks
  • Maximum grant calculated per employee and in addition employers national insurance and auto enrolled pension contribution
    • Example of claim £2,500 + £245 (Ers NI)+ £59 (Auto Enrolment pension)= £2,804.00 claim allowable per employee per month

 

Barnett Ravenscroft comments: – You will appreciate that this scheme is in its infancy and we will update you when we know more

 

Deferring VAT and personal income tax payments

  • VAT payments deferred for 3 months from 20th March 2020
  • Self-assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 now deferred until 31 January 2021
  • Automatic offer with no applications required
  • Taxpayers will be given until the 5 April 2021 to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid as normal
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in deferral period for both Self-assessment and VAT
  • Cancel any direct debit set up with HMRC so as to avoid the payment been taken accidentally

Barnett Ravenscroft comments: – Complete and file your VAT return and then you don’t need to do anything else for now

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption loan scheme

Barnett Ravenscroft comments: – we suggest that you call your bank and apply as it is designed to help all businesses with cash flow, the banks may need further financial information which we can help you with.

Update: 26/03/2020- We are hearing that lenders are asking for personal guarantees on some of these loans and as the Government has said that the guarantee should be on them and they are going to look into the lenders practice here; we will update you when we here anymore

 

Universal credit for Self employed

  • Working tax credit for the next 12 months is been increased by the same amount
  • Minimum income floor for Self-employed been removed meaning every self-employed person can now access in full universal credit at a rate equivalent to SSP
  • £1bn support for renters by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and universal credit, so that the allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in all areas
  • Worked out on a case by case basis
  • Universal credit helpline 0800 328 5644

Barnett Ravenscroft comments:- This needs to be you as the self-employed person contacting them as this is done on a case by case basis

 

Businesses paying sick pay to employees

  • Sick pay includes employees from small and medium sized businesses
  • Sick pay starts from day 1 and not day 4
  • Refund of 2 weeks SSP per eligible employee who has been off because of Covid-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees qualify
  • Employers can reclaim the expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP
  • Sick note for employee can be obtained from 111

 

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates

  • Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/21 tax year
  • Businesses that received the discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by the local authority as soon as possible
  • Eligible if business is based in England and is in this sector
  • No action for client as local authority will contact business

 

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

  • Cash grants available up to £25,000 per property
  • Businesses in sector with rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
  • Businesses with rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000

 

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

  • Business rates holiday for nurseries in England for 2020/21 tax year
  • No action required local authority will contact you as soon as possible

 

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

  • Companies that receive small business rates relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) or tapered relief (TR)
  • Government will provide £10,000 one off grant
  • No action local authority will contact business as soon as possible

 

Support for larger firms through the Covid-19 corporate financing facility

  • For turnovers of above £45 million
  • Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies
  • Supports companies by a short term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short term liabilities
  • Information to be provided this week

 

Richard & Ben

 

 

 

 

 

Update as of 23 March 2020

The Latest Help Available (Covid 19)

After the update provided by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday please find below a summary of the points raised with our comments. Should you need any further support then please contact us.

HMRC Coronavirus helpline: 0800 0159 559

Universal credit helpline: 0800 328 5644

HMRC Coronavirus guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

We have tested all of the above and you can get through.

New points raised by Chancellor on Friday 20th March 2020

Coronavirus Job retention scheme

  • All businesses eligible.
  • In order to use the company needs to change the status of employees to ‘Furloughed Employees’ (employees with temporary leave) and notify them of this change.
  • Submit information about furloughed employees and their earnings through a new online portal (still to be launched)
  • Employees who were given P45 as at 28th February 2020 are now reinstated on payroll
  • HMRC will then reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wages costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month (HMRC still working to set this system up)
  • System to be live within 2 to 3 weeks

Barnett Ravenscroft comments: – You will appreciate that this scheme is in its infancy and we will update you when we know more

Deferring VAT and personal income tax payments

  • VAT payments deferred for 3 months from 20th March 2020
  • Self-assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 now deferred until 31 January 2021
  • Automatic offer with no applications required
  • Taxpayers will be given until the 5 April 2021 to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid as normal
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in deferral period for both Self-assessment and VAT

Barnett Ravenscroft comments: – Complete and file your VAT return and cancel your direct debit. Then you don’t need to do anything else for now

Coronavirus Business Interruption loan scheme

Barnett Ravenscroft comments: – we suggest that you call your bank and apply as it is designed to help all businesses with cash flow, the banks may need further financial information which we can help you with.

Universal credit for Self employed

  • Working tax credit for the next 12 months is been increased by the same amount
  • Minimum income floor for Self-employed been removed meaning every self-employed person can now access in full universal credit at a rate equivalent to SSP
  • £1bn support for renters by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and universal credit, so that the allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in all areas
  • Worked out on a case by case basis
  • Universal credit helpline 0800 328 5644

Barnett Ravenscroft comments:- This needs to be you as the self-employed person contacting them as this is done on a case by case basis

Earlier points raised:

 

Businesses paying sick pay to employees

  • Sick pay includes employees from small and medium sized businesses
  • Sick pay starts from day 1 and not day 4
  • Refund of 2 weeks SSP per eligible employee who has been off because of Covid-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees qualify
  • Employers can reclaim the expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP
  • Sick note for employee can be obtained from 111

 

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates

  • Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/21 tax year
  • Businesses that received the discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by the local authority as soon as possible
  • Eligible if business is based in England and is in this sector
  • No action for client as local authority will contact business

 

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

  • Cash grants available up to £25,000 per property
  • Businesses in sector with rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
  • Businesses with rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000

 

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

  • Business rates holiday for nurseries in England for 2020/21 tax year
  • No action required local authority will contact you as soon as possible

 

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

  • Companies that receive small business rates relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) or tapered relief (TR)
  • Government will provide £10,000 one off grant
  • No action local authority will contact business as soon as possible

 

Support for larger firms through the Covid-19 corporate financing facility

  • For turnovers of above £45 million
  • Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies
  • Supports companies by a short term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short term liabilities
  • Information to be provided this week

 

Time to pay service- HMRC

  • Case by case basis
  • Interest on deferred payments and time to pay usually 2% or 3% this is likely to be cancelled further down the line
  • Covid 19 helpline 0800 0159 559
  • Clients to call in any case if Self-assessment, PAYE, VAT or corporation tax as they will be then be able to mark the account so as not to expect the payment
  • Having called the line they are open to helping clients and are mostly telling clients not to pay their liabilities at this time

 

 

Update as of 18 March 2020

We thought it would be useful to set out the points outlined by the chancellor last night.

  • Support for businesses who are paying sick pay
    • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
    • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
    • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
    • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
    • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force
    • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
  • Support for businesses who pay business rates
    • Business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for 2020/21 tax year
    • £25,000 grant provided to businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry with rateable value of £15,000 to £51,000
    • Any enquiries on eligibility  directed to local authority
  • Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
    • One off grant of £10,000 to businesses eligible for Small Business Rates relief or rural relief
    • Local authority will contact business
    • Provided funding to authority will be given in early April
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    • Temporary loan scheme delivered by British Bank
    • Launches next week
    • Government provide lenders 80% guarantee on loan
    • Government won’t charge for this guarantee
    • Supports loans up to £5 million
    • First 6 months loan interest free as government will pay interest for that period
  • Support for businesses paying tax
    • May be eligible for support for both businesses and Self employed
    • Case by case basis
    • Covid 19 helpline 0800 0159 559
  • Insurance
    • Businesses covered for both pandemics and government ordered closure should be covered
    • Advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient for claim
    • Businesses encouraged to check insurance policies most businesses are unlikely to be covered

This covers the points raised and there will be more to follow.

We hope the above is beneficial to you and should you need our help please do not hesitate to telephone us.

Richard Gold and Ben Eley

 

Update as of 17 March 2020

As the COVID 19 pandemic continues to worsen and the Government ramps up it’s measures, we’re aware that it’s affecting businesses throughout the UK and globally. Our clients have asked what assistance is the Government able to provide and how can it be accessed?

We have set out the current position and will update this regularly with further information as it becomes available:

Statutory Sick Pay

The government will support small and medium-sized businesses and employers to cope with the extra costs of paying COVID-19 related SSP by refunding eligible SSP costs. The eligibility criteria for the scheme include:

  • the refund will be limited to two weeks per employee
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences, but should not require employees to provide a GP fit note
  • the eligible period for the scheme will commence from the day on which the regulations extending SSP to self-isolators come into force.
  • Current statutory sick pay is £94.25 per week increasing to £95.85 per week from 1 April.

Time to Pay 

The government will ensure that businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. Time to Pay gives businesses a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back.

The telephone number for the COVID-19 Helpline is 0800 0159 559.

HMRC have placed a further 2,000 experienced call handlers into this department to assist with agreeing Time To Pay arrangements.

£3,000 grant for Businesses eligible for small business rate relief

If you are a business that claims small business rate relief i.e. you have a rateable value for your company premises of less than £15,000 then you will be available for a £3,000 grant which was confirmed by the Chancellor.

Details of how to claim this grant have yet to be confirmed and we will update this information in due course.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Government have announced that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will launch in a matter of weeks to support businesses and give access to lending and overdrafts.

The scheme will support loans of up to £1.2m and is currently in its infancy again we will follow with further details when this scheme is available.

Self Employed

The Government has further announced that the self-employed workers will potentially be eligible to claim universal credit and contribution employment and support allowance.

This will be claimed should a self-employed worker come down with the Coronavirus.

Banking Assistance

Natwest and Lloyds have outlined support packages for small businesses worth £5b and £2b respectively with the potential to add more but they are mainly aimed at current business clients.

In general, the banks appear to be outlining plans to assist small businesses as required and you should speak to your bank manager about the assistance available. Should you need any further finance options, please do not hesitate to contact us for further contacts.

Cyber Attacks

Please be wary of cyber-attack increases at present

Similar to the GDPR situation (when hackers used GDPR as a front for fraudulent emails) unfortunately fraudsters are using the coronavirus to forward emails of an attacking nature which you should be on the lookout for.

This is a summary of what is currently available. We will keep you informed as and when we know more. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need our help.