COVID-19 Update: Barnett Ravenscroft comments on the latest schemes to help businesses

In Accountancy, News by Caroline

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

We have highlighted in red those that have been updated.

Useful contacts

 HMRC Coronavirus helpline: 0800 0159 559

Universal credit helpline: 0800 328 5644

Universal credit website:

HMRC Coronavirus guidance:

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
  • 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.