The Government has issued a number of initiatives to help businesses and individuals through the current Coronavirus outbreak. The situation is changing daily. The information contained is this communication is correct, as far as we know, as at today the 18 March 2020.
Please note, in most cases, the Government has yet to issue the detailed guidance around these financial support measures. We are eagerly awaiting the detailed guidance, at which point we will be able to provide better advice and guidance. The main measures released to date are:
- Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
- Legislation will be brought forward to allow small to medium sized (up to 250 staff) businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19
- This will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVD-19
- Employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of the SSP for those staying at home come into force
- The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
- Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, some of those working in the gig economy, or self-employed people, is able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.
Smarter View – We do not at present what date these measures will come into force and how SSP can be reclaimed by the employer and do not currently have timescales.
- Support for businesses that pay business rates
- There will be a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/21 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount for 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by their Local Authority
- A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- For businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBBR) or Rural Rate Relief the Government will provide a one-off grant of £10,000
Smarter View – We believe these arrangements will be administered via your Local Authority. Detailed guidance has yet to be seen. We are being asked if there any conditions attached, but until guidance is seen we do not know. These measures look extremely powerful, but speed is the key.
- Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- There will be a specific loan scheme, with loans available up to £5 million in value. The Government will guarantee 80% of the loan and there are interest holidays and low interest rates available
- Further details, including the lenders providing access to the scheme will be announced shortly and the scheme will be available week commencing 23 March 2020
Smarter View – This is encouraging, especially as key dates are mentioned. The formal details including interest rates, etc will be required before making a judgement. This type of funding is available under other schemes and very often requires financial forecasting, etc. If we can help, please do not hesitate to call
- Support for businesses paying tax
- All businesses and self employed experiencing financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support via HMRC’s Time to Pay service
- These are dealt with on a case by case basis. If you are concerned call HMRC’s dedicated line on 0800 0159 559
Smarter View – This includes VAT, PAYE, Corporation Tax, Self Assessment and other taxes. As always, if concerned and unable to meet payments then call and make alternative arrangements. Talking to us and HMRC is always the best policy. As most people are aware over the past couple of years, we have been implementing cloud accounting software. Such software helps with tax planning and keeping on top of commitments. If you are interested in looking at this as an option for you, we can do telephone and video conference set up, contact us >>
- IR35 Implementation
- Last night, in the Commons, the Government announced that the legislation due to come into effect from 6 April 2020, has bene postponed for 12 months
Smarter View – All though this only impacts on a few contractor clients. This will give those clients clarity in connection with financial uncertainty over the next couple of months.
There are of course other items that are relevant at this time and there is a wealth of information out there, that you may find useful:
- The Federation of Small Businesses have provided a useful information website. Link https://www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html
- HM Government also provide useful information. Link https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response