Stronger together: Supporting you through COVID-19

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to develop, new information and advice is circulating rapidly. To help businesses and individuals stay well-informed, we will be collating and analysing the most up-to-date and relevant information, helping you to make the best decisions for you and your organisation. 

What help is available from the Government? 

COVID-19 Job retention scheme, guidance for furloughing workers: Following the announcement of the coronavirus job retention scheme, the Government has now released much anticipated information about how the scheme will work. Read more here.

Business rates and cash grants to small businesses: The main announcement in Budget 2020 on business rates was one of the measures to help small businesses trying to cope with the effect of coronavirus.  It was the abolition of the charge for one year for all shops, restaurants, cinemas and music venues with rateable values below £51,000. Read more here.

VAT: The next quarterly VAT payments have been deferred by the Chancellor such that no VAT will be due between now and the end of June. Instead, businesses will have until April 2021 to settle this deferred liability. Read more here.

Funding and loans for SMEs and large corporates: Small- or medium-sized businesses struggling with the impact of COVID-19, may also benefit from a new temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), which launched on Monday 23 March 2020. Whereas, larger businesses may benefit from the COVID-19 corporate financing facility (CCFF). Read more here.

Determining residence status - updated guidance:  HMRC has issued additional guidance confirming that the coronavirus pandemic creates exceptional circumstances for determining residence status. Read more here.

Ban on evictions for commercial tenants: The Government announced an extra protection for businesses on Monday 23 March with a ban on evictions for all commercial tenants who miss rent payments due to coronavirus. Read more here.

Deferral of July payments on account: The Government has clarified its guidance in relation to the deferral of upcoming income tax payments. Read more here

If you have any concerns about paying tax due to the impact of COVID-19, or have outstanding tax liabilities, contact HMRC. A helpline has been set up specifically to address these situations and measures can be put in place to help you, such as agreeing instalments, or putting a halt to debt collection proceedings.

Call HMRC on 0800 024 1222 to discuss your options, or read more about how they may be able to help you here.

What can I do to help my business keep moving?

Cloud accounting: working from home whilst running your business: Despite these difficult times, this could be an excellent opportunity to make the leap from desktop software to a cloud solution. Making the transition may seem daunting, but cloud solutions are increasingly necessary, now more than ever. Read more here.

Management information: using a forecast model for scenario planning: If you already have a good forecast model in place or, failing that, the last budget you prepared, now is the time to update it to reflect what you are experiencing currently. This will allow you to assess the impact on your business and plan accordingly. Read more here.

R&D tax incentives: more companies are eligible than you may think: In the current economic climate, considering all potential sources of finance and short-term cash is key. One option to explore is Research and Development (R&D) tax credits, which are available for those working on specific projects to make an advance in science or technology. Read more here.

How do I complete my statutory audit?: If you have booked an audit or site visit over the coming weeks, senior members of our team will be in touch to discuss with you whether the plans in place are still appropriate and practical. Alterations or rescheduling will be agreed where possible. Read more here

Claiming on insurance: There has been some confusion around whether businesses – particularly in the retail, hospitality, and leisure industries – will be able to claim on their insurance if closing due to the impact of COVID-19. Read more here.

Considering insolvency during the COVID-19 crisis - take a deep breath: In these uncertain times, if you find your business in financial crisis, you may consider insolvency. However, the advice from Hazlewoods Business Recovery and Insolvency team is to be bold and take a breath. Read more here.

What do I need to know for my employees/contractors?

Off-payroll working rules delay: The Government has announced that they are postponing the off-payroll working rules (also known as IR35) due to come in from 6 April 2020, for medium and large sized businesses by one year to 6 April 2021. Read more here.

Statutory sick pay for those affected by COVID-19: The Government has announced that ‘eligible’ employees diagnosed with COVID-19, or ‘eligible’ employees that are unable to work as they are self-isolating in line with Government advice due to displaying COVID-19 symptoms, will be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) which will be payable from day one. Read more here.

 

What do I do if I am self-employed?

Support for self-employed workers: The Government has announced a delay in upcoming income tax payments until January 2021 and universal credit is now accessible by all self-employed individuals required to self-isolate, which will be provided at the same rate of statutory sick pay available for employees. Read more here.

Self-employment income support scheme: On 26 March the Chancellor announced a grant scheme for the self-employed similar to that for employees but with some additional caveats. HMRC will cover up to 80% of average monthly trading profits (based on the past three tax years) and capped at £2,500 per month. This scheme is not expected to be up and running until early June, so in the meantime a business interruption loan could be considered.  The grant will be backdated until March 2020 and will initially be available for three months but will be extended if required. Read more here.

 

What else do I need to know?

Mortgage holidays: Homeowners and those with buy-to-let mortgages who are impacted financially by the coronavirus, will be able to request a mortgage payment holiday of up to three months. The Financial Conduct Authority has advised that lenders should grant mortgage holidays regardless of customers’ circumstances and should have no negative impact on credit scores. Read more here.

Support when renting private or social accommodation: Evictions from private or social accommodation have been banned for at least three months. Read more here.

Information sources

For further information and guidance, please see below for links to Government and WHO websites. 

HM Government Business Support

Government guidelines for employees, employers and businesses

HMRC dedicated coronavirus helpline

World Health Organisation – country and technical guidance

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