Businesses

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Statutory sick pay (SSP) paid to employees due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

From 26 August 2020 you can claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • you are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to Coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

  • an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they are at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)

Further details can be found here. We will let you know when the scheme will end.

Businesses urged to prepare for NHS COVID-19 app

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other venues across England and Wales are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for the public rollout of a new app.

The NHS COVID-19 app is currently being trialled and will launch on Thursday 24 September in England and Wales, including QR check-in at venues.

QR codes will be an important way for NHS Test and Trace in England and NHS Test, Trace, Protect in Wales to contact multiple people if Coronavirus outbreaks are identified in venues.

Businesses across England and Wales like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

More information can be found here.


 Thursday 10 September 2020

Ministers announce new grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns

Ministers have announced new funding to support businesses impacted by Covid-19.

Businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid-19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000.

Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a 3 week lockdown period. Each new 3 week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.

The scheme provides a safety net to further protect jobs where a business is required to close and comes in addition to billions of pounds of existing loans, grants and tax breaks as well as the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs.

Further information on the scheme, who is eligible and how the grants will be distributed can be found here.


 Friday 28 August 2020

CBILS and BBL Update

Coronavirus Business Interruption loan

The government has given banks extra time to grant state-backed loans to medium-sized and larger businesses in an extension of Covid-19 support packages until 30 November. The original deadline for CBILS was put at September 30, while the cut-off for the larger scheme was October 20.

The British Business Bank wrote to lenders last week to say that applications for the Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, or CBILS, aimed at medium-sized businesses with turnover of up to £45 million had to be in by midnight on September 30, but that they had two more months to consider the cases. That pushes the final approvals date to November 30. The deadline for approving larger CBILS has been set for December 31.

The bank said yesterday that it had given “an update clarifying the closing of applications”. Some lenders interpreted this as an extension of the loans, which may be the first step in a move to keep the schemes open into next year.

Bounce Back Loans

The bounce back loan scheme, is aimed at smaller businesses and is due to end on November 4. No extra time has been given for approvals of bounce back loans as they were designed to be agreed by banks speedily, with minimal affordability checks.

Almost £52 billion has been lent under the schemes, including £35 billion in bounce back, £13.4 billion in CBILS and £3.4 billion in larger CBILS.

Please contact us if you need help in applying for a loan.

Contact Us

 Friday 7 August 2020

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

The claims service for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme is now live.

When you can claim

You can make a claim after 7 days from the date of your registration. You can only claim for scheme discounts you offered on or after the date you registered. 

What you’ll need

You’ll need the records you’ve kept for each day you’ve used the scheme, including the:

  • total number of diners (covers) who have used the scheme, including children
  • total amount of discount you’ve given
  • period you’re claiming for

If you’re making a claim for more than one establishment, you will need to have the:

  • records for each establishment
  • overall total value of the claim for all establishments ready before you claim

How to claim

You must enter accurate details for all the establishments you’re claiming for and check your claim carefully before submitting.

If you claim too much, HMRC will not be able to correct this until 14 August.

If you claim too little, HMRC will not be able to correct this until 21 August.

You can make up to 5 claims before 30 September. You cannot claim after that.

When you sign into the service you must choose the periods that you’re claiming for, from:

3 to 5 August
10 to 12 August
17 to 19 August
24 to 26 August
31 August

You’ll also need to enter the total number of covers and claim value for each establishment that has offered the scheme discount.

What happens next

Once you’ve claimed, you’ll get a claim reference number. HMRC will then check your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by BACs into the bank account you gave when you registered, within 5 working days.

Paying tax

You’ll still need to pay VAT based on the full amount of your customer’s bill before the scheme discount is applied. This amount needs to be reflected in the correct VAT return for the period the transaction took place.

If your point of sale system does not allow you to account for VAT accurately under this scheme, you can manually adjust your VAT account after the sale.

If you cannot include the adjustment in the period the transaction took place, you should estimate the VAT and you must account for any difference in your next VAT return.

The payment you receive will be treated as taxable income.

If you need to make a correction

If you need to correct any information given during registration or to a claim, you will need to contact HMRC. There is a dedicated helpline for this scheme: 0300 322 9429.

For more information please click here. If you are ready to make a claim please click here to sign into your Government Gateway account and start your claim.


 Wednesday 5 August 2020

New Grants to Boost Recovery of Small Businesses

Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20 million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced.

Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.

The support will be fully funded by the Government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially and the support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through local enterprise partnerships (LEP) Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.

LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses, set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area.

Activities supported through the £20 million can include:

• One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to Coronavirus,
• Grants (£1,000 - £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.

More information on the grant can be found here.


Thursday 30 July 2020

Claim money back through the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Find out how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. You cannot make a claim yet. The claims service will be available from 7 August to 30 September. Full details can be found here.


Wednesday 22 July 2020

VAT: Reduced Rate for Hospitality, Holiday Accommodation and Attractions

The government has updated its guidance on reduced rate VAT. A new section about Retail Schemes has been added to the guide. Its original announcement was on 8 July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to:

  • hospitality
  • hotel and holiday accommodation
  • admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

Retail schemes

Catering businesses using retail schemes may have to alter their accounting systems for the period 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021.

If you have a bespoke retail scheme agreement, you should review it and if you think an alteration is needed, contact your large business Customer Compliance Manager. If you are not a large business customer you should contact: Kamran.Hussain@hmrc.gov.uk

Further information can be found here.


Thursday 16 July 2020

VAT Flat Rate Percentages Reduced

HMRC have updated their flat rate percentages for the businesses mostly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Reduced rates will apply from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021.

  • Catering services including restaurants and takeaways rate changed from 12.5% to 4.5%
  • Hotel or holiday accommodation from 10% to 0%
  • Pubs from 6.5% to 1%

The guidance can be found here.


Tuesday 14 July 2020

Summer Economic Update

On 8th July, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak made a speech entitled “Summer Economic Update” where he unveiled further Government supports and he unveiled the Government’s plan for jobs which he described as the “Second phase in the Government’s economic response to the crisis.”

Please see our July e-news for the highlights on the following announcements:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Job Retention Bonus
  • Kickstart Scheme and Measures to Help People Find Work
  • Value Added Tax Reduced Rate for Hospitality and Tourism Sectors
  • Eat Out To Help Out Scheme
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday
  • Residential Rates on Purchases from 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme will provide a discount of 50 per cent of up to £10 a person on eat-in meals, including non-alcoholic drinks, at participating establishments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the month of August.

Restaurants, cafes and pubs can register their establishment here. HMRC have also provided a range of promotional materials, you can download free assets to help you promote the scheme here.


Wednesday 8 July 2020

Economic Update

Today the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set out plans for the next stage of our economic recovery. Important announcements:

  • Companies will receive a £1,000 bonus for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021. 
  • From today until 31 March 2021, buyers will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £500k when they move home. Nearly 9 out of 10 people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no Stamp Duty at all.
  • The Government will cut the rate of VAT applied on tourism and hospitality related activities from 20% to 5% for six months.

More information on all the Chancellors announcements can be found here.


Monday 29 June 2020

Tax payments due 31 July 2020 – do you really need to defer? - Additional text in bold below

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, HMRC announced that taxpayers required to make a second payment on account towards their 2019/20 income tax liability by 31 July 2020 can defer their payment until 31 January 2021. The deferral is automatic, so there is no need to inform HMRC and no interest or penalties will be charged during the deferral period.

However, it must be appreciated that this is a measure to assist those suffering financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic. HMRC expect taxpayers who have not suffered financial hardship and have sufficient funds available to make the payment on time and this remains the case despite the fact that the statements they are currently issuing show a due date of 31 January 2021 for the second payment on account.

Limited Companies and LLP’s - How to apply for breathing space to consider a rescue plan for your company, under measures to support companies and other types of business in financial difficulty.

If your business has or is really struggling, you can get “formal” breathing space to consider a rescue plan for your company.

A moratorium gives struggling businesses formal breathing space in which to explore rescue and restructuring options, free from creditor action.

Except in certain circumstances, no insolvency proceedings can be instigated against the company during the moratorium period. It also prevents legal action being taken against a company without permission from the court - with the exception of employment tribunal proceedings, or proceedings between an employer and a worker, which do not require permission of the court to commence or continue.

Directors remain in control of the company and will still need to meet their filing obligations with Companies House. Late filing penalties will still be applied where accounts are filed late.

How to get a moratorium

The directors must file for or apply to court for a moratorium. It will give the company 20 business days to consider rescue options.

The moratorium will be managed by a monitor, who is a licensed insolvency practitioner.

Extending a moratorium

The moratorium can be extended for a further 20 business days without creditor consent, or for a longer period with creditor consent, by filing relevant statements with the court. It can also be extended further on application to the court.

Any extension must be made before the current expiry of the moratorium.

What to send to Companies House

To make sure the company’s record is accurate and up to date, any notices must be delivered to Companies House as quickly as possible.

The monitor must deliver notice of the commencement of a moratorium to Companies House.

They also need to receive a notice if:

  • the moratorium is extended
  • the moratorium is terminated early
  • the monitor is replaced, or an additional monitor is appointed
  • the court makes an order giving permission for the disposal of property

The moratorium will expire at the end of the initial 20 business day period or any extended period.

The monitor is not required to deliver a notice stating that the moratorium has ended if it has expired by time.

The monitor must deliver a notice if it has ended for another reason, such as:

  • it has been terminated early by the monitor
  • the company has entered an insolvency procedure

Who it applies to:

A moratorium can be applied for by companies and LLPs registered in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Please click here for further information.

If you are in difficulty, please talk to us and we will do our best to help you review all available options.


Friday 19 June 2020

Businesses Need to Reinstate VAT Direct Debits

The deferral of VAT payments due to Coronavirus comes to an end on 30 June and businesses need to take action to reinstate their direct debit mandates.

The VAT payment deferral means that all UK VAT-registered businesses have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 until 31 March 2021.

However, businesses need to take steps to reinstate their direct debit mandates so that they are in place in time for payments due in July 2020 onwards. Any outstanding returns should be filed, and three working days should be allowed to elapse before reinstating the direct debit mandate.

HMRC will issue guidance on the end of the VAT deferral period very soon but, to be effective, direct debit mandates usually need to be set up three working days before a VAT return is filed.

We cannot set up direct debit mandates on behalf of our clients; the business needs to set up the mandate through their business tax account.

HMRC has confirmed that it will not collect the outstanding balance of deferred VAT when the direct debit mandate is reinstated. HMRC has made the necessary systems change to avoid this happening for businesses in MTD for VAT.

Please click here for further information from HMRC.


Thursday 11 June 2020

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund Launched

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes opened on the 8 June.

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.

What you get

You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.

Eligibility

You may be eligible if your business:

  • is based in England
  • has relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • occupies property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000
  • was trading on 11 March 2020

You will need to show that your business has suffered a significant fall in income due to Coronavirus.

The Government has asked local councils to prioritise businesses such as:

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators
  • regular market traders
  • bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates
  • charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief

Local councils have discretion about how to prioritise this funding. Please check with your council for details of their scheme.

You cannot apply if your business is in administration, insolvent or has received a striking-off notice.

If you are already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you are already claiming under another government grant scheme, such as:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
  • Zoos Support Fund
  • Dairy Hardship Fund

Businesses that apply for the discretionary grants scheme can still apply for Coronavirus-related loans if they are eligible.

You are still eligible if you have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

For the full report click here.


Thursday 4 June 2020

How to Treat Certain Expenses and Benefits Provided to Employees during Coronavirus (Covid-19)

To find out about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of Coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC please click here.

This guidance is about Income Tax treatment only. National Insurance contributions treatment may vary depending on the individual benefit or expense.

Please talk to us if you need clarification in any of these areas.


Thursday 7 May 2020

Business Bounce Back Loan – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The British Business Bank has released FAQs for Small Businesses regarding the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, these can be found here.

Business Rates Revaluation Postponed

A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of Coronavirus.

Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021 but following the recent economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic ministers want to ensure businesses have more certainty during this difficult time. Read more here.


Thursday 30 April 2020

Government announces “bounce back” loans for small businesses

The Government has announced a new 100% Government backed loan scheme for small businesses.

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.

Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

• Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
• Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
• Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
• No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Businesses will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by Coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools
  • if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

More information about the scheme will be published shortly. Click here for further details.

Find out if your business is eligible to receive government support

You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. Use the business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

Coronavirus Business Support Finder

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Help and support if your business is affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

HMRC have put together a video to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of  Coronavirus. Watch the video here and register for the free webinar.

Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts

Please beware of emails and messages pertaining to be from HMRC. Take extra caution at this time and do not click on links or share personal details. Please talk to us if you want to confirm whether any correspondence is genuine. Find out how to recognise when contact from HMRC is genuine, and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages by clicking here.


Thursday 9 April 2020

We continue to receive information and updates regarding the financial packages being offered by the Government and are contacting our affected clients. Please click the link below for a summary of key information released during the last week.

We do hope that our clients and contacts and their loved ones are keeping well and staying safe and are able to have some downtime (at home) over the Easter weekend.

Further Information on Government Funding

Thursday 2 April 2020

Coronavirus support for Landlords and Furnished Holiday Letting (“FHL”) Businesses

We have prepared this guide to assist our clients in understanding the support measures currently available to landlords and those operating FHL businesses.

The information below is correct as at 2 April 2020 but changes might be made and additional measures introduced as the outbreak progresses. We will continue to monitor these changes and will keep you updated accordingly.

Landlords and Furnished Holiday Letting Businesses

Monday 30 March 2020

Coronavirus support for Sole Traders / Partnerships and Ltd Companies

Financial support measures and related guidance is being created by the Government on an almost constant basis at present. We have therefore tried to summarise the key measures specifically available to you as either a Sole Trader (or Partnership) and for those who operate via a Limited Company. Please click the links below to download the documents.

Sole Trader / Partnership Limited Company

We hope that you will find the documents useful as it is hard to navigate the Government pages and establish what you might qualify for as a business. Naturally, on a case by case basis we can help to facilitate claims for support, if required. Now is the time to start to take practical steps to protect your position. The full package of measures is listed on the following website if you need to look at further detail:-

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

 

HOMES AND OUR FAMILIES

If you or your business are likely to be affected by the current situation, now is the time to consider contacting your mortgage provider who may agree a mortgage payment ‘holiday’ for a three month period. Those that are in rented accommodation are encouraged to contact their Landlords to discuss their position.

It is the marginal gains that you can make in good business practices, managing home bills and adapting your business model that will combine to help you through these times.


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