Coronavirus Outbreak: help and support for our clients

Help and support for our clients

The UK Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19) was initially announced in the Chancellor’s Budget 2020 speech recently and has been subsequently added to in recent briefings and press conferences. It includes measures looking to protect businesses from the economic impact of the pandemic. With all small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK now facing a much more challenging year we have compiled some of the key details below to help. You can read more on the recent budget in our Budget Report 2020 by clicking here.

Support for Businesses:

An overview of the support currently available:

Type of Relief Information Administrator
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Is payable from day 1 for eligible individuals diagnosed with coronavirus or those unable to work because they are self-isolating Employers
Business rates retail discount This has been increased to 100% for the next 12 months and extended to help the leisure & hospitality sectors Automatic from Local Authorities via (reissued) council tax bill
Small business rate relief Grant of £10,000 if rateable value of commercial property is under £15,000 Automatic from Local Authorities. Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to publish guidance shortly
Small business rate grants £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 Local authorities Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to publish guidance by 20 March
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Government provides 80% guarantee against debt finance and will cover the first 12 months’ interest payments for facilities up to £5m British Business Bank via participating providers Scheme details yet to be published
Time To Pay Case-by-case arrangements for businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities (see below) HMRC Dedicated HMRC helpline is 0800 0159 559
Covid Corporate Financing Facility Larger business ‘making a material contribution to the UK economy’ can finance working capital by selling commercial paper. Businesses do not need to have previously issued commercial paper Details of CCFF are on The Bank of England webpage. They are looking to publish final documentation for the scheme on Monday 23 March when the facility will be open for drawings.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Government grants for up to 80% of salary of employees who would otherwise be laid off and are furloughed up to £2,500 per employee, backdated to 1 March HMRC - for details click here - Scheme to be opened “before the end of April”
VAT The next quarterly VAT payment will be deferred until 31 March 2021 Automatic No application needed
Business rates holiday for nursery business Business rates holiday for 2020/2021 tax year for properties rented by Early Years nurseries Automatic from Local Authorities via (reissued) council tax bill

Support for Individuals

Type of Relief Information Administrator
Income tax Income tax self-assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 deferred till 31 January 2021. No penalties or interest Automatic No application needed
Universal credit Self-employed people can now access full universal credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay HMRC
Mortgage holiday Mortgage borrowers can apply for a 3 month payment holiday. Both residential and buy-to-let mortgages are eligible. Interest will continue to be charged on the amount they owe and didn’t pay Direct from lender
Rent holiday Tenants can apply for a 3 month payment holiday. No one can be evicted from their home or have their home repossessed over the next 3 months Direct from landlord

Other Measures

  • It’s been confirmed that government advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres etc is sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover in place for pandemics
  • To support the food industry and help provide meals for people who need to self-isolate, planning regulations will be relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application

Please check the following link on the HM Treasury site for all the latest announcements and details: COVID-19: support for businesses.

HMRC and Time To Pay

For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

  • Agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • Suspending debt collection proceedings
  • Cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

For more details please refer to the following page on the Gov.uk website: If you cannot pay your tax bill on time

If you are the subject of a tax investigation then our helpful and experienced team can help, please refer to our Tax Investigation page by clicking here.

For our clients we offer a Tax Protection Insurance which helps your peace of mind in the event of any tax investigation. Please ask out dedicated Team for more details – click here.

Monitoring Your Cashflow

Over the coming months, many SMEs will be paying closer attention to their business cashflow and the processes related to it. Our suggestion to clients would be to use what may be a quieter time to talk to us about this and get on top of your bookkeeping, so that you have the numbers to monitor their cashflow and provide them to lenders, including HMRC when agreeing Time To Pay or loans.

Non-Government Support

High street banks are currently offering various degrees of support including:

  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • NatWest
  • Barclays
  • HSBC

If you have any worries or concerns click below to arrange a no obligation call with one of our experts

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