The Government is offering a lot of support and I thought it would be helpful to try to have one place to update you as to what support is available, and where, and ask if you needed our help. As a business owner you need to focus on your customers and staff – and you can leave us to update you on what information you need to know!
If you need our help just click on any of the email links, give us your phone number and email address and we will get back to you ASAP! Of course, this is an emerging issue and not all details are available for the various items of government support. Check back to see what changes periodically.
Project Restart - support to help the economy restart:
Project Lockdown - support to keep the economy going:
How can we support you?
.... and just being there when you need us!
The government have announced a Job Retention Scheme Bonus of £1,000 per employee - if you bring back to work a previously furloughed employee. (Limited details are available as the detailed guidance has not been released)
This is to be calculated and paid once your January RTI returns have been received (ie after 6th February 2021.
The Eat out to Help out Scheme allows participating restaurants to offer a 50% discount up to £10 per person.
Restaurants have to register and you can register if your establishment:
sells food for immediate consumption on the premises
provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals
was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July
You can use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme:
all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020
to offer a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to diners for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in
There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme.
Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer.
Registration will close on 31 August.
This applies to eat in or takeaway food, hospitality and leisure.
From 15th July 2020 to 12th January 2021 there is a reduction from 20% to 5% in the rate of VAT chargeable on goods and services for these categories.
The reduction also applies to admission to the following attractions, where they do not qualify for the cultural VAT exemption:
The point at which Stamp Duty on homes applies has been increased to £500,000
If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, you only start to pay SDLT on the amount that you pay for the property above £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before. Although, if you are purchasing a second property or via a limited company then the extra 3% still applies.
There are several different incentives, all based around young people being hired and the firms getting their wages subsidised by the government under its £2billion Kickstart Scheme. (Limited details are currently available and the detail is expected to be released by August)
The Bounce Back Loan for small business is available, apply through your business bank or via certain other lenders. Check their website for details or ask us.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
The following businesses are not eligible to apply:
The coronavirus job retention scheme enables employers to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages for employees who are temporarily not working due to the virus.
The initial CJRS pays up to 80% of wages for up to £2500 per worker each month. The first part of the scheme, 80% up to £2,500 goes from 1 March to 31 July.
The second phase of CJRS runs from 1st August to 31 October.
From 1 July, business can bring furloughed employees back part time. But only employees who have been previously furloughed are eligible for the scheme and the CJRS will close to new entrants on 30 June 2020. The minimum furlough period will reduce to 1 week.
From August, a furloughed employee must still be paid 80% but the amount the employer pays increases.
In August the employer is responsible for paying the Employers NIC and Pension contributions
In September the CJRS will pay 70% and the employer pays 10% plus NIC and pension.
In October, the CJRS will pay 60% and the employer pays 20% plus NIC and pension.
Making a claim
Follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Note: you can claim at any time, but only once per month, and HMRC take 6 to 10 days to pay once they have received the information. The portal is staying open for claims until the scheme ends.
Which Employers are eligible?
Note if companies are in a formal Administration then they can also access the scheme.
Which Employees are eligible?
Note: employees who have been made redundant can be temporarily rehired and paid using JRS.
Note: employees hired after 28th February 2020 might not be eligible - must have been reported to HMRC using RTI process by 19 March 2020.
Note: employees already on unpaid leave at 28th February 2020 are not eligible.
Note: Employees on Sick leave or who are self-isolating get SSP and can be furloughed.
Note: employees with more than one employer may be furloughed by one but not by the other.
How long can an employee be on furlough?
What can a furloughed employee do?
They cannot do anything that provides their normal service or generate revenue for the organisation – furlough is effectively paying them not to work.
A furloughed employee can do volunteer work or training – as long as this does not provide a service or generate revenue for your organisation.
If an employee is required to do training whilst furloughed, then they must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for the time spent training even if this is more than the 80% of the JRS.
NOTE: A company director may continue to carry out statutory duties, ie filing accounts, but cannot do anything that provides a service or generates a revenue for the business.
What can an employer claim for?
How do you work out the 80%
How does an employer claim?
HMRC have a new section on their online portal. You or us as your accountant need to have online access to your businesses PAYE scheme using your HMRC Online service. Note if your not sure about this speak to us ASAP!
You will need details from your PAYE scheme and pay calculations.
Employers can submit at least one claim every 3 weeks
HR and employment law notes
Employment law continues to apply whilst furloughed.
Holiday entitlements continue as normal whilst an employee is furloughed.
Can carry over 2-weeks holiday to next 2-years. Normal rules on not carrying holiday over to the next holiday year are to be amended.
National Minimum Wages does not apply to furloughed workers as they are not working but furloughed.
The minimum time for an individual to be furloughed is 3-weeks. Employees can be furloughed multiple times.
Maternity/Paternity/Adoption leave and Pay: mothers must take a minimum of 2-weeks Maternity leave as per normal. Employees who qualify for SMP are still eligible for 90% of average earnings for the first 6 weeks followed by 33 weeks at the lower of 90% of weekly earnings or the statutory rate.
When deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.
I expect HMRC to audit a number of claims and to have a simple risk model to identify employers who have abused the system.
You can read the governments guidance here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
We have a draft furlough letter for employers to use and a draft Directors Board minute template. Email us for a copy on firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding for 80% of Self-employed profits, up to £2,500 or £2190
(updated 29th May 2020)
This package is a cash grant of 80% of self-employed profits capped at £2500 per month, initially for 3-months (march, April, May). This has been extended with a second 3-month grant (June, July, August), but at 70% and capped at £2190 per month.
Follow this link to check for eligibility https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
And claim using this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
Note that the grant for the first three months needs to be claimed by 13 July. Claims for the second will open in August.
If HMRC's eligibility checker says you are not eligible then you can appeal against this and HMRC will contact you to check.
To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:
SSP is from Day 1 of an absence rather than day 4 and the government will reimburse small employers for up to 2-weeks of SSP per eligible employee. This is organised via your PAYE scheme as normal, ie good record keeping is required!
This takes effect from 13 March 2020.
Eligible employers are those who had less than 250 employees at the end of February 2020.
The individual needs to go online to NHS111 and complete an online 'isolation note' to provide to the employer...and employers need to ask for this isolation note or a sick note.
All business with a rateable value that means they benefit from small business rate relief or rural rate relief are eligible for a one-off cash grant. This means a rateable value under about £15,000. The various local authorities are responsible for organising this.
Some local authorities are requesting you to fill in an online form to claim this. Some are saying they will write to you. Check your local authority web pages to see if you have to do anything or not.
+ Qualifying date for eligible business properties was 11 March 2020
+ One payment per ratepayer, paid to person/business whose name is on the business rates bills
+ Applies to business land and buildings but not car parks, parking spaces or buildings occupied for personal use.
+ Business that don't have a commercial premises are not included.
+ Future changes to the rating list of property, ie amending the rateable value do not affect the cash grant or eligibility for it, unless it is to correct a factual error.
+ Government Counter Fraud departments will monitor and audit the grants.
+ no time frame for when the local authorities will actually make payment (yet).
If you need to look up details of your rateable value then try this government resource https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates
If your rateable value is between £15k and £51k, and you are in the appropriate sectors (retail, leisure and hospitality) then this is you and you get a £25,000 cash grant.
If you have a smaller rateable value, ie up to £15k, and are in these sectors then you will be entitled to a cash grant of £10,000 whether or not you get small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
The local authorities are responsible for this - check your authority's website for details.
See the guidance published as per note 4 above.
Also, if you run a pub or restaurant that serves food (or used to before you were closed) then you will be able to operate a hot food takeway service without going through the usual planning process. You need to notify your local authority but you don't need prior approval.
This fund is aimed at small and micro businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund.
This grant is aimed at businesses with:
Which businesses will local authorities prioritise to receive grants?
Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;
Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;
Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
There are three levels of grants
Less than £10,000
The amounts paid are subject to the local authority’s discretion. Each authority will have an application process containing more local details.
How to apply
Check your local authority’s website for details
This should be organised automatically by your local authority and is for the 12 months to 31 March 2021.
You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:
More information on eligibility is set out in the expanded retail discount guidance.
Check your local authority's website for details, although you should not need to do anything it should be processed automatically and your 2020/21 rates bill re-issued.
The government is giving banks and other lenders financial support so that they can deal with issuing loans under the CBIL scheme– and:
1) 80% security guarantee and hence easier to get than an ordinary loan
2) 12-month interest holiday, paid for by the government
3) Contact your usual bank (or get help from us!).
4) The CBILs scheme will (initially) run for 6-months from 23rd March 2020
To be eligible for support via CBILS, the small business must:
You might get a better interest rate by having a normal secured loan at 2%(ish)+base!
You might only need an overdraft - Some banks are not offering CBILs overdrafts.
Is this suitable for startups - probably not as one of the requirements is that you already have a viable business. Visit www.startuploans.co.uk for potential startup loans.
As with any kind of formal borrowing, you will need:
If you are thinking of accessing the CBIL scheme or a commercial loan scheme or any other type of borrowing, please get in touch as we can help you through the process.
If you have a tax bill ring the HMRC virus support line and they will give you easy terms to pay or defer your tax bill.
HMRC's dedicated helpline number is 0800 0159 559
HMRC are also being nice on penalties! Penalties related to late payment and interest may be waived if you have payment issues as a result of the virus.
No VAT needs to be paid this VAT quarter (from 20 March to 30 June 2020). Of course it will then fall due later and you have until 5th April 2021 to pay this deferred VAT – at which point a time to pay arrangement might be handy.
Note that VAT deferral is automatic, you do not need to apply. However, if you pay by direct debit you need to cancel the DD at your bank or it will still be collected!
Also note, that the VAT return itself still needs to be done on time.
Similarly if you have a 31 July Income Tax Payment to make then it can be deferred to January 2021- at which point your normal January 2021 tax bill will also be due!
Note that deferral is automatic and that no penalties or interest for late payment will be charged for the deferral period.
If you are a freelancer then this works for you – if you have work! The Off Payroll Working rules will now come into affect for private sector businesses from 6 April 2021.
If you don't know what this means then it probably doesn't apply to you.
A great cash boost to anyone with a mortgage. You will still owe the money to your lender, it is just a payment holiday and so your mortgage term is effectively extended by 3 months.
This applies to households with residential mortgages and to landlords with buy to let mortgages.
If you have other debts (credit cards, etc.) you should contact your lender as most of them are offering flexible support, ie payment holidays.
Tenants can apply for a 3-month payment holiday from their landlords.
If you are a renter and you don’t have a paying job. Claim universal credit and housing benefit now! It takes a little while to process so don’t delay but start it today.
Local Housing Allowance will pay for at least 30% of market rents.
Landlords will not be able to start evicting tenants for non-payments for at least a 3-month period. At the end of this period, landlords and tenants are expected to work together to put in place a repayment plan for the backlog.
This is clearly not great news for Landlords! so make sure you match the rent holiday with a mortgage payment holiday to avoid cash flow difficulties.
If you as an individual are struggling financially then please claim Universal Credit or employment support allowance (ESA).
If you literally have no money then claim for emergency funding and you should get help.
Note that this is means tested and you don't get paid if you have £16,000 of savings or more.
Don’t delay, start your claim now as it takes a while for anything to happen. Over recent weeks there has been a 10 fold increase in the number of claims so the system is creaking under the strain.
The minimum income threshold for Universal Credit will be temporarily removed for those directly affected by COVID-19 or in self-isolation, providing compensation for any income losses. Universal Credit will be available to those directly affected by COVID-19 or in self-isolation, with no need to attend a job centre. Go online to NHS111 and get an online virus 'isolation note' if you are self-isolating. you can email this to the job centre as part of your claim.
At present, single claimants under the age of 25 are eligible for a monthly entitlement of £251.77, while those aged 25 and over can claim £317.82.
Employment and Support Allowance
ESA will be available to those directly affected by COVID-19 or in self-isolation, from the first day of sickness rather than the eighth day. At present, single claimants under the age of 25 can claim up to £57.90 per month, while those aged 25 and over can receive up to £73.10
If you have a 31 July Income Tax Payment to make then it can be deferred to January 2021- at which point your normal January 2021 tax bill will also be due!
MOT certificates extended
If your car, motorcycle or light van's MOT expiry date was due on or after Monday 30th March then it will be automatically extended by 6-months. This will happen automatically.
If you have a lorry, bus or trailer then they are extended by 3-months from 21 March 2020, for certain vehicles you need to apply for this.
If your road tax is due, you can tax your vehicle straight away.
Note that you still have a responsibility to keep your vehicle in a safe and road-worthy condition.
You can check your MOT history to see when your MOT expiry date has been extended.
Government guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020
Non-essential shops and business closed
From midnight on 23rd March non-essential business premises are to be closed. Note that this is a government prohibition order and therefore enforceable with unlimited fines!
What is essential and what is non essential? check out the government guidance here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF.pdf
If you stay open then you must:
+ Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and
+ Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
+ Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.
High street shops, department stores and shopping centres to reopen (announced 25 May 2020, updated 2nd July)
If you need help or support then please email email@example.com or visit our contact page