COVID-19 Update: Furloughed Employees and more important updates

In Accountancy, News by Caroline

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:

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