Coronavirus Update

Following on from our last post here is another update for all clients and interested parties to update on the changes over the last week.  Most notably there is the support for businesses including the Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) to fund 80% of employee wages and last night the announcement of the Coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme to assist on a similar level .

There is currently much anxiety but we all have to bear in mind these exceptional rules are being brought in to enable people to stay home in safety while as far as possible shielding them from the financial hardship that brings. As ever, this will not cover all situations and hopefully those that fall through a gap will be assisted on a case by case basis. In particular, we would emphasise these schemes are being brought in to assist those in the greatest need and are not to be seen as an opportunity to manipulate the situation.

You will find for ease of reference, our email from last week at the bottom of this email so you can access the weblinks recommended at that time as these are constantly being reviewed and updated by the Government and each organisation. There are a few new links which we will point you to in this email now as this should help each individual/business find the information needed for their particular set of circumstances.

Generally we would urge you to follow the updates that can be found online and also continue to monitor any news reports that may be relevant to your situation. For this reason, we highlight again the link to register for direct updates from the Government:

Also, a new Business Support site has been set up which is tailored to giving Government advice to companies and the self employed:

Coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme

In many cases, it is fairly straightforward where there is a 3 year track record of self employment; the 2018/19 tax return due in January was submitted and the self employment continues. The average net profit per annum must be below £50,000 and amount to at least half of overall income (so if you have an employment, pension or other income this may preclude support depending on the sums involved). You should wait to be contacted directly by HMRC as they have the details of every taxpayer falling in to this category:

Inevitably this is going to take time and the hope is the system will be in place to pay out a lump sum to those eligible by June.

Meanwhile, the assistance being put in place for mortgage repayment holidays, Government backed bank borrowing and other support can be utilised, as should any accessible savings. Anyone self employed who has employees should also take advantage of the options available to reduce costs through furloughing employees who are not productive at this time and if you have a business premises then the grant available to existing Small Business Rate Relief claimants should help once you are contacted by your local authority.

Anyone falling in the gaps and not meeting the criterion for the scheme would need to resort to Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Furlough

Furlough is the position where an employee can’t work, has a job but the job is on hold. The employer operating the PAYE scheme can put you on furlough and the Government will pay 80 percent of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The official guidance is here:

An interpretation of how this may operate is here:

General support for businesses including companies, partnerships & sole traders

HMRC has changed the dedicated phone number for the coronavirus helpline targeted at businesses and the self employed to 0800 024 1222 to increase load capacity.

However, due to their own staff shortages arising from personnel in self isolation, please be aware the hours of availability have been reduced.

The information on VAT & tax payment deferrals, grant aid etc is available here:

Particular advice for VAT registered businesses:

Please note, if the VAT is usually paid by Direct Debit, you must cancel the mandate to prevent HMRC taking the funds and VAT Returns must be submitted by the usual due dates.

Information for any employees you may have:

Assistance for businesses with premises who pay business rates or who are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR):

For cashflow problems due to the loss of work and trading activity, there is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:

As always, we shall endeavour to help each and every one of you in whatever way possible.

1st April 2020