COVID-19 Advice for Business

Contact us on 01279 501271 to discuss business-related issues

May 20th

Is COVID an opportunity to access further education?

ICE

May 19th

Update on Statutory Sick Pay

SSP_update

May 18th

Update on Job Retention Scheme

CJRS_Update

May 13th

Advice for claiming for the self-employed

Self employment income support scheme

May 12th

HMRC update to Employers on Job Retention Scheme

HMRC_letter_11th May

May 5th

Price Bailey have some useful information for employers here

April 30th

You can see the three HMRC COVID-19 Webinars here

You might be interested in reading our Website expertise sheet

April 28th

Information about applying for a Bounce Back Loan can be found here

April 23rd

HMRC are running Webinars on how to claim for furloughing staff.

Details can be found here

April 22nd

There is some useful information from Martin Lewis here

April 20th

The COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme launched today.  Find out more here

Useful information for potential Start-ups can be found here

April 10th – message from HMRC

Dear customer,

We want to help you get ready to make a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If you’re eligible for the scheme, there are things that you can do now to be ready when the system is up and running later this month.

You’ll need to provide the following to make a claim:

  1. The bank account number and sort code you’d like us to use when we pay your claim.
  2. The name and phone number of the person in your business for us to call with any questions.
  3. Your Self-Assessment UTR (Unique Tax Reference), Company UTR or CRN (Company Registration Number).
  4. The name, employee number and National Insurance number for each of your furloughed employees.
  5. The total amount being claimed for all employees and the total furlough period.

If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf, so please speak to them now.

However, if you use a file-only agent (files your RTI return but doesn’t act for you in other matters), they won’t be able to make a claim for you and you’ll need the information listed above from them to make the claim yourself.

For more detailed advice, please visit GOV.UK. This guidance is being regularly updated, so please review it frequently.

You may also find this recorded webinar helpful, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme‘, available on HMRC’s YouTube channel.

We’ll email you again in the next few days with more details on how and when to access the online system – please do not try to do this until we let you know it is available.

April 9th

HMRC are running a series of Webinars about COVID-19 issues.

Find out more here

April 8th 

Useful information from the Allia Futue Business Centre can be found here

April 4th

Information about claiming back SSP can be found here

April 3rd

More information from the Government can be found here

March 27th

The Chancellor, this evening, announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

GOV‌.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.

Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June, inviting them to apply.

Unfortunately, we are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.

HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for these details.

The government has also introduced the following help for the self-employed:

Deferral of Self Assessment Income Tax payments due in July 2020 and VAT payments due from 20 March 2020 until 3‌0‌‌ June 2020

Grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates

Increased amounts of Universal Credit

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Directors of their own company paid through PAYE, may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

Announced on March 26th

SUPPORT FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

The Chancellor has announced that the government will pay self-employed workers facing financial difficulties 80% of their monthly income covered by the government. Where three years of historic tax returns are available the amount will be calculated over income averaged over three years. If there is only a year, that will be used.

Support will be capped at £2,500 per month and will initially be a lump sum covering three months.

Eligibility:

  • Mr Sunak says the scheme will only be open to those who are already self-employed and have a self-assessment tax return for 2019.
  • If profits exceed a £50,000 a year you will be ineligible.

How to access the scheme

If you have yet to file your tax return due in January, it is imperative you do so or you risk not being eligible. The scheme has yet to be set up so no action is yet possible. The Chancellor suggests that people will be able to “access” the scheme “no later than June”.

There are a variety of Government and other measures being put in place to help businesses through the Corona Virus crisis.

To assist you to find and focus on those likely to help your specific business needs, we are summarising some of the ones we know about below and via our website . We will try to keep the list updated as new measures and other initiatives are announced (newest will be at the top)

If you run a business activity in the Bishops Stortford area, or specifically your business is registered as a Business Improvement District levy payer, and would like some free help or initial business mentoring advice, please contact us at 01279 501271 (kindly leave outline message and your contact details)

We also welcome receiving relevant information or hearing from other organisations and skilled individuals, who are willing to offer free advice or services, particularly related to business continuity and crisis management.

The official government advice websites are available: Here and Here 

Other useful resources include:

National

Federation of Small Businesses

Shoosmiths

BBC

Local

East Herts Business Support

Price Bailey

Tees Law

Below is an outline of the government support available, the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

 

JOB RETENTION SCHEME – UP TO 80% OF WAGE COSTS

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Eligibility: All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

DEFERRING VAT AND INCOME TAX PAYMENTS:

The government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT

 – the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Eligibility: All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

INCOME TAX

 – For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Eligibility: If you are self-employed you are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

 

BUSINESS RATES HOLIDAY FOR RETAIL, HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE BUSINESSES  

We will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

Eligibility – You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:
    • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
    • for assembly and leisure
    • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

 

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the  Government Business Rates Calculator

Further guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount guidance. here

 

CASH GRANTS FOR RETAIL, HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE BUSINESSES 

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

Eligibility – You are eligible for the grant if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:
    • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
    • for assembly and leisure
    • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

 

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.  How to Find your local authority

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES THAT PAY LITTLE OR NO BUSINESS RATES

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Eligibility – You are eligible if:

  • your business is based in England
  • you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR
  • you are a business that occupies property

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.  How to Find your local authority

CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME 

A new temporary loan scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. Details can be found Here

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.

Eligibility – You are eligible for the scheme if:

  • your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
  • your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria (details on website)

How to access the scheme

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available  Here

All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all. You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

SUPPORT FOR LARGER FIRMS – CORPORATE FINANCING FACILITY 

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will provide funding to businesses by purchasing commercial paper of up to one-year maturity, issued by firms making a material contribution to the UK economy. The facility will offer financing on terms comparable to those prevailing in markets in the period before the Covid-19 economic shock and will be open to firms that can demonstrate they were in sound financial health prior to the shock.

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.  It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

Eligibility – All UK businesses are eligible.

 

How to access the scheme

More information is available from the Bank of England Website  Here

TAX TIME TO PAY SERVICE 

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. Here

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Eligibility – You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

How to access the scheme

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.