Covid-19

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NEWS & UPDATES IN THE ACCOUNTING WORLD

Coronavirus (CV19) – Financial support for individuals and small/medium sized businesses in England

 

THIS GUIDANCE IS CHANGING AS MORE DETAIL BECOMES AVAILABLE (updated 28/03/2021)

 

Here is a list of the main categories of financial support. It is not exhaustive.

It should help as a checklist and lead you to the correct place with official guidance.
(The list was getting very long so any expired guidance has now been removed)

 

FOR INDIVIDUALS (for businesses see lower down)
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

  • EXTENDED - Job retention scheme (Employees) (CJRS) ‘Furloughment’ – enables employer’s to recover up to 80% of qualifying employee’s wages, capped at £2,500/month.

Firms can call back employees part time, but employers can claim 80% of wages in relation to hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500/month. Eligible employees must have had a payroll submission made to HMRC before midnight on 30th October 2020.

 

  • Statutory sick pay (SSP) - If you are sick and cannot work for whatever reason you can claim SSP of £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks. With regards to CV19, you can claim SSP if you cannot work as a result of the health condition of yourself, a person in a shared home, or a person in your ‘support bubble’ where they are showing symptoms. You can also claim if you have been advised to self-isolate by a health professional/NHS whether their advice is because you are sick, a potential carrier, or advised to ‘shield’ due to high risk status or ahead of surgery.
    Employers can choose to continue to pay you greater amounts depending on agreements with them. For CV19 claims you should obtain an isolation note from NHS111 https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/, or the shielding letter from your GP and give it to your employer so they can recover the payments from the government.
    https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay
     

  • Difficulties paying tax liabilities - HMRC acknowledge the exceptional times and will discuss payment plans with you. You MUST contact them as quickly as possible as they are less obliging after a debt is over 60 days old!
    https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc
     

  • ADDITIONS - Universal credit - A means-tested benefits option which applies to assist with living costs and is paid monthly. Online calculator good place to start, especially if already receiving some type of tax credit. The usual rate has been increased by £20 per week until September, but is received via a one-off £500 credit for those who qualify. The qualifications are quite complex so please see the links below for more detail.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-one-off-500-payment-for-working-households-receiving-tax-credits
    https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators
    https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit
     

  • EXTENDED - Essential bill payment holidays (mortgage, rent, electricity etc) - The government and the FCA have an agreement with mortgage providers and suppliers of essential utilities services to assist with those struggling to pay at this time.
    For the more serious supplies, such as mortgages and other forms of loan repayments you must make your application for assistance before 31/03/2021 although the assistance can be extended to 31/07/2021.
    Others supplies appear more flexible but, as ever with topics of this nature, act as soon as you think you have a problem. There are many types of supply so please refer to the link below for specific guidance on the supply you have difficulty with.

Payment holidays may affect your credit rating or make it harder to obtain finance from elsewhere so do check this with your lender/supplier or give thought to what other assistance you may need.

 

 

  • REPLACED - Green Homes Grant Scheme - Vouchers of up to £5,000 (£10,000 for the poorest households) will be available to fund two thirds of qualifying energy improvement work being done. Due to poor uptake this is now being replaced with an insulation fund being run by local authorities although the details are yet to be announced.

 

 

FOR BUSINESSES

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae
 

  • Self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) - Applies to sole traders and members of a partnership if earning under £50,000pa. Can claim 80% of past 3 tax year’s average profits as a one off claim.
    Stage 1, 2 and 3 of this has now closed, but 4th and 5th stages are still available.
    FIRST EXTENSION (per Chancellor 29/05/2020) – Those qualifying for SEISS can now claim a second grant in August 2020. They can claim 70% of average profits, capped at £6,570 in total.
    SECOND EXTENSION (per Chancellor 05/11/2020) – Those qualifying for SEISS can now claim a third  and fourth grant paid in 2 lumps with the first being claimable from 30th November 2020. The third and fourth grants cover the periods Nov-Jan and Feb-Apr respectively and are worth the equivalent of 80% of average profits for 3 months (based on the 2019/2020 tax return). The grants are capped at £7,500 in total.
    THIRD EXTENSION (per Chancellor 03/03/2021) – There will be a fifth grant covering from May onwards. It was declared to be based on the drop on turnover, but specific details are yet to be released.
    ALL SEISS grant income is taxable and should be reported on the tax return relevant to the tax year of receipt.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension
     

  • PLEASE NOTE - ADDITIONAL SUPPORT GRANTS (per Chancellor 03/03/2021) – Although these have now mostly expired still contact your local authority. They will review what is available for any alternatives.
    Broadly the grants previously comprised of:
    - Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) – variants for partially open or closed businesses with business premises. (Be aware the term ‘LRSG (Closed)’ is the name of the scheme, not that it is now ended! Equally to ‘LRSG (Open)’)
    - Closed Business Lockdown Payment (CBLP) – also relates to businesses with premises.
    - Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) – does not require businesses premises, but subject to local council discretion on how they are payable.
    - Christmas Support Payments (CSP) – available for pubs with less than 50% of income from food and impacted by Tier 2+ restrictions. Council discretion up to £1,000
    NEW – RESTART GRANTS  (per Chancellor 03/03/2021) – These are one-off grants to help non-essential business open safely as restrictions are lifted. For non-essential retail they are worth up to £6,000 per rateable property outlet and £18,000 for those in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors.
    The Chancellor also announced £700m of funding for sports (£300m), arts/culture (£300m), museums and community culture projects (£100m) - further details are yet to be announced.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-restart-grant

 

  • EXTENDED - Business rates relief - Qualifying businesses will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 financial year. Local Authorities will automatically reduce this to zero, but check if you’ve not heard.
    This has been extended for a further 3 months to 30/06/2021, but then reduced to 2/3 of the rates to the 31/03/2022.
    https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-business-rate-relief

 

  • Job retention scheme (Employees) (CJRS) (‘furloughment’ – enables employer’s to recover up to 80% of qualifying employee’s wages, capped at £2,500/month. There have been a number of adjustments and extensions over time so the notes below brief the guidance for the current time:


  • EXTENDED To the end of September (per Chancellor 03/03/2021) – Like recent rules, firms can call back employees part time and employers can claim 80% of wages in relation to hours not worked (unlike earlier restrictions) up to a maximum of £2,500/month. Eligible employees must have had a payroll submission made to HMRC before midnight on 30th October 2020. Employer’s still pay employer’s national insurance and pension contributions.
    Although the rules remain the same to the end of June, from July they begin to be restricted to 70% then 60% for August and September. The employer must still pay the employee at least 80% of normal wages through this time.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
 

  • Employment support for the youngest in society - The chancellor announced a large amount of support by way of the ‘Kickstarter’ scheme, traineeships and apprenticeships.
    TO ADD - The Chancellor announced (on 03/03/2021) the available funds to support apprenticeships will be doubled.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rishis-plan-for-jobs-will-help-britain-bounce-back
     

  • Statutory sick pay rebate scheme (SSP) - Usually SSP cannot be recovered from the government, but for sick pay payable to those self-isolating you can claim the first 2 weeks; 12 weeks if NHS told them to shield. Employers can choose between furloughment or SSP. See the SSP section under ‘Individual Support’ for further brief guidance.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19
     

  • VAT payment deferment - Any VAT payment due between 20th March and 30th June can be deferred until 31st March 2021. Claim is automatic, but must cancel direct debit so the money does not get taken. Remember to start it up again afterwards.
    NEW! - AMENDED - (per Chancellor 24/09/2020) – Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free, but you must apply.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deferral-of-vat-payments-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19
     

  • Difficulties paying tax liabilities - HMRC acknowledge the exceptional times and will discuss payment plans with you. You MUST contact them as quickly as possible as they are less obliging after a debt is over 60 days old!
    https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc
     

                LOANS

  • EXPIRES 31/03/2021 - Loan type 1 - Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) - Uncapped and more akin to normal borrowing, but the government guarantees 80% of the loan. Interest free for 12 months. Make the application through your bank. Scheme closes on 31/03/2021
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme

  • EXPIRES 31/03/2021 - Loan type 2 – Bounce Back Loans (BBL) - Capped at 25% of the 2019 calendar year turnover, but the government guarantees 100% of the loan. Interest free for 12 months, then typically 2.5% over 6 years thereafter. Prior to repayments starting you can now apply to adopt an interest only option, extend to 10 years, or pause repayments if you have already made 6 repayments.
    Very easy application form and can apply through 11 designated banks. Scheme closes on 31/03/2021
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

  • NEW – Loan type 3 – Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) – Once the CBILS and BBL loans have ended this new scheme is available from 06/05/2021 to 31/12/2021. It’s available to all business and 80% of the loan will be secured by the government. The application for these loans is likely to be substantially harder than the BBL which was introduced to overcome the delays inherent in CBILS application processes. There are a number of parameters, periods and terms involved so please see the following link.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recovery-loan-scheme

A NOTE ON LOANS: When assessing loan support it is important to ask yourself the question – Am I in difficulty as a result of CV19, or was I in difficulty anyway? This is a common theme amongst the questions connected with obtaining financial assistance . . . .
In addition, remember the loan is not your money! The loan is made to the business. To draw the funds from the business for your own personal needs could have unexpected tax consequences.