At a time of economic uncertainty and facing unprecedented challenges in our lives, I have compiled details below of the measures announced by the Government to help and support businesses and individuals, which I hope will be of some use.
Many forms of support and funding have been announced in recent days, but how these will be implemented for most is still unannounced. I am doing absolutely everything I can to keep up to date with changes in legislation and will post updates as and when available.
THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
At the time of writing this email, there is no information available as to when the scheme will be available for employers or how exactly to apply.
All UK employers are eligible for the scheme. You will need to:
- Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
- Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
- HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
- HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.
DEFERRED VAT PAYMENTS
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
Any VAT registered businesses will not need to make a VAT payment from 20th March 2020 to 30th June 2020. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
SELF ASSESSMENT TAX
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
STATUTORY SICK PAY
A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.
Two weeks sick pay is reclaimable from HMRC for employees who have been off work because of COVID-19.
You are eligible for the scheme if:
- your business is UK based
- your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
THE CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
The scheme is now available from some providers.
The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme and there are 40 accredited providers in all.
Businesses need to apply directly to the lenders listed at the link below:
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES PAYING TAX: TIME TO PAY SERVICE
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
NB: These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
You are eligible if your business:
- pays tax to the UK government
- has outstanding tax liabilities
If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559. If you’re worried about a future payment, please call them nearer the time.
RATES RELIEF/GRANTS FOR SCOTTISH BUSINESSES
At the time of writing, there is no information available as exactly who is eligible, what the eligibility criteria is, when the grants will be available or whether there will be an application process or if the grants will issued automatically.
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has addressed the Scottish Parliament on the economic impact of COVID-19 in Scotland.
She outlined the actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April:
- a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
- £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
- £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
- 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
HELP FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED
There has unfortunately been very little help announced for self-employed workers at the moment. The Chancellor announced the suspension of the minimum income floor for the self-employed, meaning self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
There is increasing pressure on the Government to announce further measures to help the self-employed, and I would hope there will further changes to assist, however this is not guaranteed.
As a reminder, all self-employed workers are eligible for Universal Credit and you can find out more at https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit.
It is worth remembering that some lenders can provide a mortgage holiday. The most up to date list I have is as follows:
RBS – 0345 301 6910
NatWest – 0345 303 0191
Halifax – 0345 850 3705
Lloyds – 0800 783 3534
TSB – 0345 835 3380
Principality – 0330 838 7581
Virgin Money – 0345 602 8301
Clydesdale – 0800 121 4203
Nationwide – 0800 464 30 30
Deferred or reduced payments:
HSBC – 0345 587 3471
Santander – 0800 389 7000
Reviewing Individual circumstances:
Skipton – 0345 850 1711
Yorkshire BS – 0345 1200 200
No clear guidance yet:
Barclays – 0800 022 4022
Furness – 0800 220 568
Phone numbers do appear to be changing regularly – so please check lender websites directly.
NB: I am not authorised to provide financial advice, only accountancy, so please speak to a professional in this field regarding mortgage holidays before making any decisions. The above is information purposes only.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any specific questions
T: 01786 357225