Support to protect businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak

23rd Mar 20

We appreciate this is a very strange time to be operating a business.  There is so much information to digest and understand for all of us.  However, if you are struggling to know which support offering may fit your business, please do call us on 01440 821991 or email enquiries@accountability-plus.co.uk.  We are very happy to help you.

This is obviously an ongoing situation with new announcements being made regularly.  However, as of today’s date (Monday 23rd March), these support options have been put in place.

Coronavirus Job Retention 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.

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs

The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19

  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force

The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.  Your business must be UK-based and must be a small or medium-sized and employ fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020

A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge.

Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief

Grant funding has also been announced of £10,000 for all businesses, whatever their sector, who already receive small business or rural rate relief. Businesses will not need to apply for grant funding, you will be contacted by your local authority.

Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

The Government will introduce a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for OFSTED registered businesses.  You need not do anything. This will apply to your next council tax bill.

Small Business Grant Scheme

The Government will provide funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch early next week to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

Your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year and meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.

The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

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.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

There is little in place yet for the self-employed, although IPSE and other bodies are working hard to get this addressed. ISPE have issued advice for freelancers and the self-employed via this link

If your employees need further information, please send them to the HMRC website

If your business remains open, the HRMC are offering this clear informational poster around COVID-19.