Coronavirus Update - What Help is Available For Business
We understand that many of our clients are worried about the potential impact on your businesses of the measures central government are taking to control the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
We are in a similar position and trying hard to keep abreast of the most up to date information as it arises. We have created this page to pass on what we can to clients as quickly as possible and it will continue to be udated regularly.
You can find the latest official information from the government via their website here:
Business Premises to Close
On the evening of Monday 23rd the government announced further measures to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus, most notably the forced closure of many businesses. Certain areas seem open to interpretation and it has been very difficult say with clarity which business should and shouldn't now remain open. Here is a link to the governments official guidance on the matter. FURTHER BUSINESSES AND PREMISES TO CLOSE
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
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.
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.
More information and FAQ's about the scheme can be found here: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQ's
Deferral of VAT and Income Tax payemnts
For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
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.
For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
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.
Statutory Sick Pay Relief
Where employees are required to self isolate due to Covid-19, employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for uo to 2 weeks.
- 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.
- Eligibility will be from day one of ilness instead on the usual day four.
Repayments will be via the employees PAYE contributions, the government will work with employers over the coming weeks and months to set up mechanism.
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.
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
For Small Businesses
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.
- Available to businesses in England that occupy a building and receive small business rate relief (buildings with a rateable value less than £15,000)
- Grants will be distributed by local authorities to all eligible businesses.
- Local authories will contact eligible businesses directly and payments will be made directly to bank accounts
- Newark & Sherwood District Council have produced an online form to provide details for businesses whose bank details they do not already hold. If you meet the criteria and think this applies to your business, you can find the form here and shoukld fill it in as soon as possible: COVID-19 Business Rate Application Form