CORONAVIRUS: THERE’S HELP OUT THERE FOR YOU

Posted on March 31, 2020

We know that many of you are worried about how to keep your businesses afloat and how to do the right thing by your staff. There’s a lot of information for you to absorb and it’s changing day to day so we’ve set out below a brief guide to the financial support that’s available and how you access it.

If your call is not urgent, please could you email us instead.

There’s a lot of information including on available financial support and how to keep employees safe/how to clean workplaces safely at the following links:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
www.gov.scot/news/gbp-320-million-package-of-support-for-businesses/
www.businesswales.gov.wales

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (all UK employers are eligible) – rather than lay your staff off, you can get support to continue paying 80% of an employee’s salary (capped at £2500 a month) if that employee would otherwise have been laid off. You’ll need to:

a. designate those affected employees as “furloughed employees”;

b. tell the affected employees; and

c. tell HMRC about these furloughed employees through a new online portal HMRC is setting up

When deciding whether you can furlough an employee you will still have to comply with employment law.

2. Deferring VAT and income tax payments (all UK businesses are eligible):

a. VAT payments will automatically be deferred from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 for all UK businesses. You do not need to make a VAT payment during this period.

b. For income tax self-assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until 31 January 2021. It will be done automatically. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

c. HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals in temporary financial distress as a result of coronavirus which have outstanding tax liabilities.

If you cannot pay your tax bill because of Coronavirus, please call the HMRC Coronavirus helpline on 0800 1015 9559.

3. Reclaiming statutory sick pay (UK based businesses are eligible) – the government will allow SME’s and employers to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to coronavirus – up to 2 weeks per eligible employees for employers with less than 250 employees. Further details of the rebate scheme will be provided shortly once legislation has passed.

4. Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (businesses based in England are eligible) – this will be introduced for the 2020 to 2021 tax year and you don’t need to do anything. If you got the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year you will be rebilled by your local authority. This covers properties wholly or mainly 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.

5. Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure grant of up to 25k per property – the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme (businesses based in England are eligible):

a. businesses with a rateable value of less than £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000;

b. businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000

You don’t need to do anything to get this – your local authority will write to you if you’re eligible for the grant. Guidance for local authorities will be provided shortly.

6. Nursery businesses that pay business rates (businesses based in England are eligible) – a business rates holiday is to be introduced for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. You don’t need to do anything – it will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020 (your bill may need to be reissued).

7. If your business pays little or no business rates (businesses based in England are eligible) – the government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will give a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. You don’t need to do anything – your local authority will write to you if you’re eligible.

8. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (UK based businesses are eligible) – this supports SMEs with access to working capital including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses won’t face upfront costs and will get lower initial repayments. The scheme is open for applications – talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers: www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

All major banks are offering this scheme. If you currently have a loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to aid cash flow.

9. YouLend cash advance – our chosen partners, YouLend, can offer you a cash advance from your future card payment transactions to help your business through the next few weeks/months. Cash is available within 1-7 days. We’ll credit your account with 5% of the loan – most of the commission payment we receive from YouLend.

Support for the self-employed

1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

This new scheme is available to people who are self-employed or a member of a partnership and who have lost income due to coronavirus.

This scheme will pay 80% of your average profits over the past 3 years – tax years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 (if you are eligible and haven’t submitted returns for 2018-19 you now have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement (26th March 2020) to file returns by the 23rd April. Ref: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme).

The scheme will pay up to £2,500 per month for three months (this may be extended if needed) but only if your average annual profits are £50k or less. HMRC expects to start making the first payments by the beginning of June 2020 and you will apply using an online form. If you are eligible HMRC will pay the grant straight into your bank account.

2. What can the self-employed get in the meantime?

HMRC has changed the welfare system so people who are self-employed can now access Universal Credit in full. They have also made sure that most people can access the business interruption loans.

HMRC also say that a self-employed person can be entitled to a combination of Universal Credit and new style Employment Support Allowance and Local Housing Allowance and Child Benefits to see them through the next few months.

For more information please go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

If you need any help, please e-mail us : info@lccomputers.co.uk: Stay Safe

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