Coronavirus - Rolling News - Latest Government Updates


22nd May  

COVID-19 support, Dentists' non-NHS work

HMRC have confirmed that overall as long as they meet the criteria for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), dentists can claim on the basis that they have income from non-NHS work. 

The implications of this notice is that this will apply in Scotland.  We are checking this and will report ASAP.  The anticipation is that the schemes will operate in a broadly similar way.

More details here

21st May  

The Scottish Government has today (21 May) published COVID-19 Framework for Decision Making - Scotland's route map through and out of the crisis.

Read more here.

Specified Adult Childcare credits

If you are a grandparent, or other family member, who cares for a child under 12, usually whilst their parent (or main carer) is working then you may be able to claim Specified Adult Childcare credits. 

Since March 2020, your normal caring arrangements may have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have provided care in a different way, for example over the telephone or video, you can still apply for NI credits for the financial years 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021.
Specified Adult Childcare credits work by transferring the NI credit attached to Child Benefit from the Child Benefit recipient to a family member who is providing care for a related child under 12. Therefore, if no one has claimed Child Benefit for the child there is no attached NI credit to transfer and Specified Adult Care credits cannot be awarded.

View the guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-insurance-credits-for-adults-who-care-for-a-child-under-12-fact-sheet.

Holiday entitlement and pay during the coronavirus crisis.

Just in case you missed this, the government has published an explanation of how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard is separate guidance for Northern Ireland.  

The actual guidance is quite lengthy, but well worth reading. You can access it here

Coronavirus guidance for Companies House customers, employees and suppliers.

This is useful advice and guidance for anyone who has to communicate with Companies' House. Again, it's quite lengthy but you can read the full article on the .gov.uk website, here

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch

Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26th May. More details here

14th May  

The Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) reports that nearly two-thirds of firms may not be able to pay their tax. Make sure you are not one of them: ask us for advice if you are worried about this.  More details on our news page.

13th May  

Starting today, some of the self employed (sole traders) can begin to claim from the Income Support Scheme.

More details from the government site: here

Also, a reminder about the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

If you need a larger loan, you may be entitled to other government support.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • was established before 1 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If your business was classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019 you’ll need to confirm that you’re complying with additional state aid restrictions.

Who cannot apply

Businesses from any sector can apply, except:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’re already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under:

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under one of these schemes you can transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme. You have until 4 November 2020 to arrange this with your lender.

How long the loan is for

The length of the loan is 6 years, but you can repay early without paying a fee. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

How to apply

There are 11 lenders participating in the scheme including many of the main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website.

The lender will ask you to fill in a short online application form and self-declare that you are eligible.

The lender will decide whether to offer you a loan or another type of finance and you’ll be responsible for repaying 100% of the amount borrowed.

Find a lender

If the lender turns you down.

If one lender turns you down, you can apply to other lenders in the scheme.

You may want to consider using a broker to find the right type of finance for your needs, or do your own research using the British Business Bank’s finance guide.

12th May  

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to continue

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
  • furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
  • new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy

In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, Rishi Sunak said the furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.

From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

More information here

From our perspective at M&S, probably the most important factor is the indication that employees will be allowed to work as part of the process and that more details will follow by the end of the month.

5th May  

Update on Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and an update for the self-employed about claiming a grant


Self-Employment Grants Update

It will soon be possible for those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to claim their grants.

The service is due to be operational on Wednesday 13 May, although it will not be open to everyone at this stage. The grants will then be paid out by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.

HMRC are now  starting to contact those eligible for the scheme by email, SMS or letter.  However, if you would prefer to take the initiative , you can use HMRC’s online tool to confirm your eligibility and be told the date that you can make your claim.   This can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#claim

Although no claims can be made yet, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that you will be ready to claim as soon as the system goes live.  The most significant of these is that individuals must have their own HMRC Online Account.  For individuals that use a tax adviser to deal with their returns, it may be that you do not have your own account and as advisers will be unable to make the claim on their behalf, this will need to be set up in advance.  The link for setting up an account can be found by following the online tool within the link above and we would recommend that you not only check eligibility but also ensure you have your Government Gateway access in place to minimise the possibility of delays.

Note partners within a partnership will each need to make their own individual claim and set up their own HMRC Online Account.

It is hoped that this service will prove to be as successful as the furlough claim system has been so far.

The  full amount of the grant received is taxable.

Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, (originally posted on 30th April below...)

Scottish Enterprise and partners today advised that from 5pm on Tuesday 5 May 2020 the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund will pause to allow detailed assessment of initial applications.  More information here: https://www.scottish-enterprise-mediacentre.com/news/update-on-covid-19-business-grant-support

30th April  

We have just got this information about the Scottish government's new scheme for helping more businesses.  This covers creative, hospitality etc. plus the newly self-employed and also the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience  Scheme.  It puts some flesh on the bones of the report from the 21st April below. There is obviously quite a lot of work required in preparing your case for the PERF funding, so if you require any help please get in touch with us.  There is quite a lot of reading here, so please scroll down till you find the relevant section for your business. 

Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

Bespoke, needs-based grant awards for Scottish SME firms that can demonstrate they are vulnerable but can present a strong business case for a viable future. Firms need to prove that they are vital to the local, regional or national economy.

The fund is to support these companies with working capital to help them continue trading or to come out of hibernation when the time is right.

How do you define a vital or pivotal enterprise?

Pivotal means different things in different regions and we will take that into account during the assessment. The application process will allow each applicant to make clear their contribution to the economy and their community. You may provide evidence of your unique status or links to key workers and key sectors such as food suppliers or how you are of integral importance to local communities.

Successful applicants will be able to provide evidence of, or demonstrate impact in, one or more of the following areas:

  • Supporting Scotland’s productive capacity – through wage levels, employment, exports, Research & Development and innovation
  • Local economic importance which would include areas such as, employee numbers relative to place, delivery of essential services, wider economic and community value, plus the socio-economic importance of the business in remote and rural areas
  • Leverage on wider business community by demonstrating the impacts of your business on supply chain at a local, regional and national level
  • Being a supplier or potential supplier to NHS or other COVID-19 vital services
  • Being a supplier to other essential businesses
  • Demonstrating a need to rapidly scale up or diversify due to COVID-19

Essential eligibility criteria

  • Companies with up to 249 employees that have been trading successfully prior to Covid19
  • Less than £43.689 million turnover or balance sheet total of £37.572 million
  • Can demonstrate the funding will support the business to be viable
  • Not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019
  • Must have business bank account

For the Pivotal Company Resilience Fund, applicants must provide:

  • Bank Details (You will be asked to upload a copy of a recent bank statement that is less than 3 months old and shows: account name, sort code and account number)
  • Financial information including turnover figure from last year 
  • Last audited accounts if available or latest management accounts
  • 12 month cash flow projection (a template will be provided)
  • Information on other financial support including COVID-19 funding
  • Explain in what way you are pivotal to the local, regional or national economies
  • Information on how the grant be used and how it will help sustain or expand trading

Other important information for the Pivotal Company Resilience Fund:

  • Levels of employment and wages going into the local area will be considered when assessing applications and prioritising funding.  This means, for example, that companies employing less than 10 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in the city centres of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee are unlikely to be successful unless they can demonstrate a substantial impact on the city, regional or national economies.
  • Only one application will be accepted per company or group regardless of  the number of branches, subsidiaries or parent bodies
  • Human Rights Due Diligence checks will be required for grant applications over £100,000.
  • Grant should be for working capital to help meet a cash flow gap and secure your future in the medium-term. These can include payments for rent, wages, directors’ salaries, heat, light & power, materials, transport, financing costs-VAT/HMRC, creditor payment.
  • The grant can augment other funding from Government and other sources.

Demonstrate that you are vital to the local, regional or national economy:

In this section of the application form, you should provide a brief outline of the wider contribution that your business makes to your local community or region of Scotland. As above, this could include benefits that extend to other businesses, local supply chains, associated employment and wider social and community benefits.

In addition, any benefits associated with increased R&D activity, innovation, export potential, increased productivity, diversity and equality, skills and training, supply chain opportunities and a net zero carbon economy could also be included.

Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund

This Fund is for small creative, tourism and hospitality companies that are experiencing hardship because they are ineligible for other COVID-19 Government grant support. The focus is to help companies manage cashflow commitment for the next three months, and those furloughing staff are still eligible to apply.

Grants of up to £25,000 can be accessed in addition to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, those that have accessed other support will not be eligible. For example, if you already qualify for the retail hospitality and leisure £25,000 funding you would not be eligible.

Essential eligibility criteria

  • Companies with up to 49 employees
  • Experienced at least a 50% loss of current or projected revenue
  • Not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019
  • Not in receipt of other COVID-19 government grant support, except the Furlough Scheme
  • Not for pre-revenue companies
  • Must have a business bank account

For the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund companies must provide:

  • Company information
  • Bank Details (You will be asked to upload a copy of a recent bank statement that is a less than 3 months old and shows: account name, sort code and account number)
  • Financial information including turnover figure from last year
  • 3 month cash flow projection (a template will be provided)

The grant is needs based. Successful applicants will be able to provide evidence of or demonstrate:

  • Financial hardship due to COVID-19

What else will we need from you?

To allow us to check you are eligible for the funding you will be asked to provide one of the following:

  • Registration Number - provided by Companies House (CRN), Charities Commission, Mutuals, Public Register and other statutory and regulatory bodies that you must file accounts and annual membership details with.

Or

  • UK VAT Number – If you are VAT registered, supply your number.

Or

  • Unique Tax Reference Number - If you do not have a Company Registration Number or a VAT registration number as detailed above, you should provide your HMRC Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or HMRC Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference, as appropriate for your entity. You will be asked to scan and upload a copy of this document.

Employee numbers

You will be asked to provide your full-time equivalent (FTE) job numbers:

  • a full-time job is one of 30 hours or more per week
  • a part-time job is one of at least 15 hours per week
  • two part-time jobs count as one full-time equivalent job
  • we do not accept zero-hour contracts as eligible permanent jobs

Turnover/balance sheet

You will be asked to provide various pieces of financial information including your turnover figure from last year. You will be asked to complete a cash flow template and asked to upload your latest accounts that have been filed. You will also be asked for your latest management accounts that cover the period to date that are not covered by the latest accounts that have been filed.

Demonstrate you are vital to the local, regional or national economy

For those applying for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, this section should provide a brief outline of the wider contribution that your business makes to your local/region of Scotland.

This could include benefits that extend to other businesses, local supply chains, associated employment and wider social and community benefits.

In addition, any benefits associated with increased R&D activity, innovation, export potential, increased productivity, diversity and equality, skills and training, supply chain opportunities and a net zero carbon economy could also be included.

Fair Work First

You will be asked if you are or are committed to becoming a Fair Work First employer. Fair Work First means investment in skills and training, no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts, action on gender pay, genuine workforce engagement, including with trade unions, and payment of the real Living Wage. The real Living Wage is currently £9.30 per hour and is based on the cost of living. More information can be found at https://scottishlivingwage.org/

Business size

You will be asked to confirm you are a Micro, Small or Medium Enterprise. The definition of these are set out below:

Micro-business

  • fewer than 10 full-time equivalent employees; and either
  • an annual turnover of no more than €2 million; or balance sheet total of no more than €2 million.

Small enterprise

  • fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees; and either
  • an annual turnover of no more than €10 million; or balance sheet total of no more than €10 million.

Medium enterprise

  • fewer than 250 full-time equivalent employees; and either
  • an annual turnover of no more than €50 million; or a balance sheet total of no more than €43 million.

We can only accept one application per company or group if you have different branches, subsidiaries or parent bodies.  If you are part of a group, to calculate the overall SME qualification you must combine the data (staff FTEs, turnover and balance sheet from last approved accounts) for each of the following:

  • Enterprises that have a shareholding of between 25% - 50% in your enterprise or in which you hold a 25% -50% shareholding (add the relevant percentage for each to 100% of the main applicant data)
  • Enterprises that have a shareholding of 50.1% or above in your enterprise, or in which you hold a 50.1% shareholding, are considered linked by majority control and 100% of the data of each must be combined.
  • The same principle applies if a majority control (over 50.1%) is exercised through voting rights, legal or contractual rights that exercise a dominant influence.
  • You are only considered an SME if the combined data is still with the thresholds.  You must be no more than 249 combined employees but one or other of turnover (€50 million) or balance sheet total (€43 million) can be exceeded.
  • If you have just exceeded the SME threshold in the last year due to an exceptional year, you could still qualify, if this was just temporary.

For further guidance refer to the European Commission’s User Guide to the SME Definition.

Authorised Signatory

  • Director: a registered director of a company;
  • Trustee: a registered trustee of a charity;
  • Partner: a designated partner/member of a limited liability partnership or a legal partner within a business;
  • Proprietor: owner of a business.

Transparency

Information on all grant awards will be published on the European Commission Competition database. Information on all grant payments over £25,000 will also be published on the Scottish Enterprise website. This is required to comply with our legal obligations.

Scottish Enterprise is subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and may be obliged to release information about your application or grant award in response to any requests received.

State Aid

Confirmation of State aid received under the Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities measure and Undertaking in Difficulty Status

Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the European Commission has approved schemes to aid businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak on the basis of their Temporary Framework, including the Covid-19 Temporary Framework measure for the UK. The maximum level of aid that a company may receive is €800 000 (€120,000 per undertaking active in the fishery and aquaculture sector or €100,000 per undertaking active in the primary production of agricultural products). This is across all UK measures under the terms of the European Commission’s Temporary Framework.

Provide details of any other funding your business has received

In your application you are required to declare any aid already approved under the Temporary Framework. The Euro equivalent of the Sterling aid amount is calculated using the Commission exchange rate applicable on the date the aid is offered. Daily rates can be found here

Any aid provided under this measure will be relevant if you wish to apply, or have applied, for any other aid based on the European Commission’s Temporary Framework. You will need to declare this amount to any other aid awarding body who requests information from you on how much aid you have received. You must retain the award letter for four years after the conclusion of the UK’s transition from the EU and produce it on any request from the UK public authorities or the European Commission.

Aid may be granted to undertakings that were not in difficulty (within the meaning of Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation on 31 December 2019, but that faced difficulties or entered in difficulty thereafter as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. This aid is in addition to any aid that you may be have received under the De Minimis regulation allowing aid of up to €200,000 (€30,000 per undertaking active in the fishery and aquaculture sector or €20,000 per undertaking active in the primary production of agricultural products) to any one organisation over a three fiscal year period (i.e. your current fiscal year and previous two fiscal years), and any other approved aid you have received under other State aid rules, such as aid granted under the General Block Exemption Regulation.

Undertakings in Difficulty Assessment

Source: Section 2(18) General Block Exemption Regulations

In your application you will be asked to declare that on 31 December 2019, you did not meet any of the criteria to be considered an undertaking in difficulty.

2 (18) ‘undertaking in difficulty’ means an undertaking in respect of which at least one of the following circumstances occurs:

(a) In the case of a limited liability company (other than an SME that has been in existence for less than three years or, for the purposes of eligibility for risk finance aid, an SME within 7 years from its first commercial sale that qualifies for risk finance investments following due diligence by the selected financial intermediary), where more than half of its subscribed share capital has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. This is the case when deduction of accumulated losses from reserves (and all other elements generally considered as part of the own funds of the company) leads to a negative cumulative amount that exceeds half of the subscribed share capital. For the purposes of this provision, ‘limited liability company’ refers in particular to the types of company mentioned in Annex I of Directive 2013/34/EU (1) and ‘share capital’ includes, where relevant, any share premium.

or

b) In the case of a company where at least some members have unlimited liability for the debt of the company (other than an SME that has been in existence for less than three years or, for the purposes of eligibility for risk finance aid, an SME within 7 years from its first commercial sale that qualifies for risk finance investments following due diligence by the selected financial intermediary), where more than half of its capital as shown in the company accounts has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. For the purposes of this provision, ‘a company where at least some members have unlimited liability for the debt of the company’ refers in particular to the types of company mentioned in Annex II of Directive 2013/34/EU.

and

(c) Where the undertaking is subject to collective insolvency proceedings or fulfils the criteria under its domestic law for being placed in collective insolvency proceedings at the request of its creditors.

and

(d) Where the undertaking has received rescue aid and has not yet reimbursed the loan or terminated the guarantee or has received restructuring aid and is still subject to a restructuring plan.

Creative or Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund

What does this involve?

This fund is designed for companies that are ineligible for other COVID-19 grant support or are not yet in receipt of the funds they need to survive. 

Am I eligible?

You must meet these criteria in order to apply:

  • Your company has up to 49 employees
  • You have experienced at least a 50% loss of current or projected revenue
  • You were not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019
  • You are not in receipt of other COVID-19 government support, except the Furlough Scheme
  • You are not a pre-revenue company
  • You have a business bank account

What does this cost?

There is no cost to apply

Who is this for?

This is for small Scottish creative, tourism and hospitality businesses who have experienced at least 50% loss of current or projected revenue as a result of COVID-19.

How long does this take?

It will take up to 10 working days from application to appraisal and funds being released for approved applications.

Important information

Before you apply you must meet some criteria and have detailed information to hand. You will need to:

  • meet our stated eligibility criteria
  • have a business bank account
  • provide a bank statement from your business bank account that is less than 3 months old
  • provide a Companies House registration number if you are a registered business
  • provide a VAT registration number if you are registered for VAT
  • provide the following information to complete a 3 month cash flow table: any invoicing discount drawdown, net debtors receipts, VAT, funding from Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, funding from Coronavirus Interruption Loan Scheme, any other COVID 19 grants or other grants, any other income; cost of wages and salaries, PAYE/NI costs, pension costs, employee expenses, HP payments, corporate credit card payments due, non-stock supplier direct debits, supplier direct debits, bank term loan repayments, bank charges & Interest, Supplier payments, any other monthly payments, overdraft limit.

Your application will not be successful if you are applying on behalf of a non-supported sector: Gambling and betting activities, manufacture, repair or distribution of weapons and ammunition, manufacture, repair or distribution of military fighting vehicles

Next steps

Read our detailed guidance notes for applicants

Then visit our partner site to start your application.  

The volume of applications going through this site is extremely high and you may have difficulty getting through to the application form at the present time. You may wish to try later.

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

What does this involve?

You need to apply in your Local Authority area. You may only apply to this fund once. 

You will be asked to provide documentary evidence of your status and eligibility for the grant. Local authorities will then determine whether you meet the criteria, which has been set by the Scottish Government.

You will need to provide: 

  • documentation to show you had an active business prior to COVID-19, such as your VAT registration, bank account statements showing revenue and outgoings linked to self-employment, marketing materials, etc. A full list is provided with the application form.
  • self-declaration that you are currently experiencing hardship
  • evidence of being resident in the local authority area of application

Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £2,000.

Am I eligible?

You must sign a declaration confirming that you meet all of the following criteria:

  • you became self-employed on/after 6 April 2019 (did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018-19)
  • over 50% of your individual income is from self-employment
  • your trading profits were below £50,000 in financial year 2019-20
  • you have lost business due to coronavirus and are suffering financial hardship as a result
  • you are ineligible for other COVID-19 related business support (including the Business Interruption Loan Schemes, Corporate Finance Fund, Job Retention Schemes, Future Fund, R&D Focussed SMEs Fund, HMRC Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Non-Domestic Rates relief, Small Business Grant or other business support)
  • you do not receive working age benefit payments (Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Income Support) or have applied for but not yet started receiving Universal Credit
  • you trade as self-employed, not as a limited company or partnership
  • you have taken steps to limit costs and expenditure (including through schemes such as VAT deferral and seeking a mortgage payment holiday)
  • you do not have access to sufficient savings or other sources of income to meet basic needs

What does this cost?

There is no cost to apply

How long does this take?

Up to 10 working days from application to appraisal and funds being released for approved applications.

Important information

If you receive the grant you can continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.

Next steps

You can apply direct through your local authority's website.

 

 

23rd April

What do you need to provide to HMRC to make a claim via the Job Retention Scheme?

HMRC has published a step-by-step guide explaining the information that employers need to provide to HMRC to make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). It also describes the processes involved.


View it as this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-step-by-step-guide-for-employers

22nd April

Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool

A new ‘support finder’ tool will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.  We think it's actually pretty good:  if you are unsure of what support you might be able to receive, you can access the tool here:

https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder/y

21st April

Scottish Government provides some more information on their additional scheme to help the self-employed.

When this was announced, the level of detail provided was slight and this update, while definitely giving us more information and also telling us these grants will be paid in May, still leaves many questions unanswered, not least:

Will Owner Managed Businesses (Ltd companies, especially SMEs) be covered?

Who decides what is a "pivotal" or "vital" business?

What constitutes a "creative" business?

Given that applications can be made by the end of April, it is optimistic to say that recipients will then be paid early in May?  We hope not: many businesses need all the help they can get.

This is what the SG's website tells us:

"Support for the newly self-employed and firms suffering hardship to be paid in early May.  

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days.

The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will be broken into three separate funds as follows:

• £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants
• £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief
• £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland

The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

Speaking in parliament, Ms Hyslop also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, and that recipients will receive funds in early May.

She said:

“This funding is intended to relieve the hardship of individuals and smaller firms that are ineligible for support from the UK Government or are not in receipt yet of the funds they need to survive.

“Our hospitality, tourism and creative sectors have been decimated by this crisis and previously profitable businesses have seen demand dry up overnight.

“However, because of the decisions the Scottish Government has taken, thousands more self-employed people and small businesses will be able to benefit from support compared with elsewhere, and we have been able to help sectors of the economy that are not being supported in other parts of the UK.  

“As well as dealing with this immediate crisis, we must look to the future. We must ensure that those businesses with a part to play in strengthening resilience in Scotland’s economy survive this crisis and thrive in future, which is why £45 million is being allocated to those firms.

“We continue to engage with businesses on a regular basis to understand their needs and press the UK Government to deliver for them.”

Background

The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants. For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed. The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support."

ONCE WE HAVE MORE INFORMATION ON THE REAL DETAILS OF THIS WORTHWHILE INITIATIVE, WE'LL PUBLISH THEM HERE.

15th April

Furlough Start Date Extension

Originally, individuals had to be employed on 28 February 2020 in order to be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but in order to allow more individuals to benefit the date has been extended to 19 March 2020 (the day before the scheme was announced).

The new eligibility rules mean that employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

This is a welcome change, that is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees that were previously expected to miss out, but we should caution that the reality is that we don't think this will benefit as many people as might be thought. The key aspect is that there must have been a submission to HMRC by 19 March. Most monthly-paid employees in March would have been paid after 19 March when the RTI submission referred to would have been made. This has been done to prevent abuse of the system but it will still almost certainly mean that lots of employees are excluded unless they are paid weekly or mid month.

Newly self employed support


The Scottish Government is launching a second phase of its business support package (see: https://news.gov.scot/news/additional-support-for-business) to help mitigate the impact of coronavirus.


A £100 million fund is being made available for newly self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will open for applications by the end of April.
This aims to protect recently self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.

On first reading perhaps a glimmer of hope here for Owner Managed Businesses, as it does say it will be extended to those who don’t already qualify for relief announced previously but equally we wouldn’t want to create false hope as the exclusion of OMBs from any financial support has been pretty emphatic up to just now. We’ ll continue to investigate and let you know as soon as the position becomes clearer.

14th April

Self-employed (Sole Trader, NOT Owner Managed Business) and wondering how much you might get from the government?

Here is the announcement from HMRC's website:

How HMRC works out total income and trading profits for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Find out how HMRC will work out your income and profits if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost profits due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

HMRC will assess your eligibility for the grant based on your total income and trading profits. This guide details how we do this.

You can use this guide to find out if you’re eligible and how much you may get.

Trading profits

We will use the figures on your tax returns for your total trading income (turnover), then deduct any allowable business expenses and capital expenditure.

Allowable expenses include:

It also includes:

  • any business expenses deducted through the trading allowance
  • capital allowances, used to buy assets used in your business
  • qualifying care relief
  • flat rate expenses

We will not deduct from your trading profits:

  • any losses carried forward from previous years
  • your personal allowance

Example 1

If your total trading income (turnover) in each of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 was £20,000, and you claimed the £1,000 trading allowance each year.

This is worked out as:

  1. £20,000 deduct the trading allowance of £1,000 = £19,000
  2. Multiply £19,000 by 3 = £57,000
  3. Divide £57,000 by 3 = £19,000

Your average trading profit would be £19,000.

If you have more than one trade in the same tax year

We will add together all profits and losses for all these trades to work out your trading profit.

Example 2

If you only traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019, and made a £60,000 profit for your first trade, and then a £20,000 loss for your second trade, your trading profit for that year would be:

Trade 1 £60,000 profit deduct trade 2 £20,000 loss = £40,000

If you traded for more than one year

To work out your average trading profit we will add together all profits and losses for all tax years you’ve had continuous trade.

Example 3

If you made:

  • £60,000 profit in tax year 2016 to 2017
  • £60,000 profit in tax year 2017 to 2018
  • £30,000 loss in tax year 2018 to 2019
  1. Add £60,000 and £60,000 then deduct £30,000 loss = £90,000
  2. Then divide £90,000 by 3

Your average trading profit for the 3 tax years would be £30,000.

Example 4

If you did not trade in tax year 2016 to 2017 but made:

  • £25,000 of profit in tax year 2017 to 2018
  • £45,000 of profit in tax year 2018 to 2019
  1. Add £25,000 and £45,000 = £70,000
  2. Then divide £70,000 by 2

Your average trading profit for the 2 tax years would be £35,000.

Total income

Your total income is the total of all your:

  • income from earnings
  • trading profits
  • property income
  • dividends
  • savings income
  • pension income
  • miscellaneous income (including social security income)

Eligibility

Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income for either:

  • the tax year 2018 to 2019
  • the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019

Example 5

  2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2018 to 2019 Average for the 3 tax years
Trading profit £50,000 £50,000 -£10,000 £30,000
Pension income £15,000 £15,000 £15,000 £15,000
Total income £65,000 £65,000 £5,000 £45,000
Trading profit are more than half of your total income Yes Yes No Yes

So even if you made a loss in the tax year 2018 to 2019, you would still be eligible for the grant because your average trading profit for the 3 tax years:

  • is £30,000 - which is less than £50,000
  • is more than half of your total income of £45,000

9th April

Furloughed Employees – Calculating the Grant

With many employers having now identified which members of their staff are to be furloughed, the next question has become, what grant are they entitled to?  The answer depends on whether the employee is salaried and received a regular wage, or whether there pay varies.

Salaried employees        -              The grant will be 80% of the employee’s regular wages up to the cap of £2,500.

Variable employees        -              The grant will be 80% of the higher of the following (again capped at £2,500):                                                            

  • The same month’s earnings from the previous year
  • The average monthly earnings for the tax year ended 5 April 2020

Where a variable employee has not worked for 12 months and therefore the above rule cannot be applied, the claim should be based on 80% of their average monthly earnings since they started work.

Some examples of how this will apply in practice are set out below:

Salaried Employee – Example 1

Where an employee receives an annual salary of £24,000.

Monthly salary

£2,000

80% of salary

£1,600

Below cap?

Yes

Furloughed Wage

£1,600

 

 

Furloughed wage

£1,600

Employer’s NIC

£120

Total Grant*

£1,720

From the total grant, £1,600 is paid over to the employee and the balance is used to settle the employer’s NIC due on the furloughed wage.

Salaried Employee – Example 2

Where an employee receives an annual salary of £45,000.

Monthly salary

£3,750

80% of salary

£3,000

Below cap?

No

Furloughed Wage

£2,500

 

 

Furloughed wage

£2,500

Employer’s NIC

£245

Total Grant*

£2,745

From the total grant, £2,500 is paid over to the employee and the balance is used to settle the employer’s NIC due on the furloughed wage.

Variable Employee – Example 1

Where an employee has been employed for more than 12 months and received the following:

  • Average wage of £1,800 per month last year (based on total wages of £21,600 for full year)
  • A wage of £2,100 in April 2019

Higher salary out of above

£2,100

80% of salary

£1,680

Below cap?

Yes

Furloughed Wage

£1,680

 

 

Furloughed wage

£1,680

Employer’s NIC

£130

Total Grant*

£1,810

From the total grant, £1,680 is paid over to the employee and the balance is used to settle the employer’s NIC due on the furloughed wage.

Variable Employee – Example 2

Where an employee started on 1 September 2019 and earned £15,400 up to 31 March 2020.

Average salary to date

£2,200

80% of salary

£1,760

Below cap?

Yes

Furloughed Wage

£1,760

 

 

Furloughed wage

£1,760

Employer’s NIC

£140

Total Grant*

£1,900

From the total grant, £1,680 is paid over to the employee and the balance is used to settle the employer’s NIC due on the furloughed wage.

8th April

Job Retention Scheme Update:  HMRC announces date

HMRC has informed the accountancy profession that they are aiming for a 20th April start date for claims. Businesses will need the following information on each of their furloughed employees:

 *   National Insurance number
 *   salary, National Insurance and pension contribution information that allows business to calculate the claim amount.

If you have not already done so, you need to enrol for PAYE online services. This can take up to 10 days. If you have a Government Gateway login you should check to make sure you have access to PAYE for employers and if not, request for this to be added to your account.

Follow the guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/paye-online/enrol

6th April

Please note that the new number for all Covid 19 enquiries to HMRC is 0800 024 1222.

3rd April

Guide to Home Working – What Can You Claim? 

Following advice from the government in response to the coronavirus, more and more businesses have transitioned to allow their staff to work from home.  This leads to these businesses incurring new expenses and raises the question of “What costs can we claim?” for many, particularly those that have home workers for the first time.

Before looking at the particular expenses, it is important to note that costs cannot be claimed for furloughed employees, but only those that are carrying out work from the company from home, be it because the office has closed or they are self-isolating.  With that in mind, the tax position for some of the more common costs home working is likely to incur is:

Mobile Phones: It is possible to provide each employee with one mobile phone (including SIM card package). This is deductible for the business and does not create a taxable benefit for the employee (regardless of any private use of the mobile).

Broadband: If an employee already pays for broadband, no additional expenses can be claimed. If you were to pay this for the employee, it would create a taxable benefit for them. If an employee does not have broadband at home already, the costs for this can be reimbursed so long as any non-business use is minimal.

Providing equipment (laptops, tablets, computers etc): Provided there is not significant private use of the equipment, there is no taxable benefit to the employee for having use of it.

Purchasing equipment: If an employee is required to purchase equipment (e.g. a laptop) to enable them to work from home, this can be reimbursed by the business. The tax treatment for this is the same regular purchases of equipment. So long as there is not significant private use of the equipment, and it will not be retained by employee after home working has ceased, there is no taxable benefit on the employee.

Electricity and Heating: It is possible to give employees £4 per week (£6 per week from 6 April) to cover the additional costs incurred without any tax consequences. This cost also qualifies as a deduction for the business.

For equipment, to ensure that you are complying with non-significant private use, it is recommended that a policy on this is set and made clear to any employees that private use should be minimal.

If you opt to allow for more than insignificant private use of company equipment, or plan to reimburse your employees over and above the “tax-free” rates, this creates a taxable benefit for the employee. These should be reported through a PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA), through which the business can settle the tax and NIC that would usually be payable be the employee themselves.  This means that the employee is no adverse effect on the employees.

Employee Loans

During the pandemic, employers may wish to offer their employees the benefit of a salary advance, or an interest free (or low interest) loan.  These are considered employment related loans, and provided the amount loaned is less than £10,000, there are no tax consequences for the employee.

Any loans in excess of this should be subject to the HMRC official rate of interest (currently 2.5% pa).

HMRC have published guidance on all these matters and this can be found here: 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-expenses-are-taxable-if-your-employee-works-from-home-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

27th March

Further, important update re the self-employed

We promised you some more detail after yesterday's announcement.  Here it is:

Last night Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the 'Self-Employed Income Support Scheme' to those affected by the impact of COVID-19 which he said was equivalent to the furlough scheme for those paid via PAYE.  Here are the key points:

The new grant is available to self-employed individuals or members of a partnership that meet the following criteria:

 *   Have submitted an Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 18/19 and traded in tax year 19/20
 *   Would be trading currently, if it wasn't for the COVID-19 pandemic
 *   Intend to continue trading in 20/21 tax year
 *   Have lost trading/partnership profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic
 *   Majority of earnings (over half of your income) must come from self-employment
 *   Having trading (net) profits of up to £50,000, averaged over the last 3 years (less than 3 years if they don't have that history)
If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020 to allow HMRC to assess your eligibility.
You will not be eligible if you have only recently become self-employed, i.e. commenced after 6 April 2019.

What you'll be entitled to if you meet the above criteria:

 *   You will receive a taxable grant of 80% of the average profits from the tax years applicable
 *   Up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, the same limit as furlough workers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
 *   This will run for the next three months and may be extended, if needed
 *   It will also be backdated to the 1 March 2020
 *   Grants will be paid in one lump sum covering all three months, and will start to be paid by HMRC at the beginning of June.


How eligible individuals apply:

 *   You cannot apply for this scheme yet. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible and invite you to apply online.
 *   You do not need to contact them before they do so as they are urgently working to get things up and running.

Further update on how to claim for wage costs through job retention scheme

HMRC have released the details of how to claim for wage costs through the coronavirus job retention scheme<https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme>.

The main points are:

 *   You can claim for employees full-time, part-time, agency and zero hours or flexible contracts
 *   Employees must have been on your payroll at 28 February 2020
 *   Scheme will also cover employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired
 *   To be eligible for the subsidy employers should write to their employee confirming that they have been furloughed and keep a record of this communication.
 *   The employees cannot work while under furlough, this includes providing any services or generating revenue for the employer
 *   Employees on reduced hours/pay are no eligible for this scheme and you will have to continue paying the employee through your payroll and pay their salary subject to the terms of the employment contract. This means they cannot be paid the reduced wage and 'topped up' to 80%.
 *   While on furlough the employees wage will be subject to income tax and national insurance.
 *   If your employees is on sick leave or self-isolating they should get Statutory Sick Pay, but can be furloughed after this.
 *   If your employee has more than one employer then they can be furloughed for each job.
 *   Full 80% must be paid to the employee
 *   All other aspects of employment law continue to apply such as maternity and paternity rights, accrual of holiday pay etc.
 *   Paid on either the average monthly wage in the year ending 5 April 2020 or March 2019 wage if higher
 *   For employees starting after 6 April 2019 it is paid on average monthly earnings since starting

How to claim

Employers need to make a claim for wage costs through this scheme.

You will receive a grant from HMRC to cover the lower of 80% of an employee's regular gross wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.
At a minimum, employers must pay their employee the lower of 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month. An employer can also choose to top up an employee's salary beyond this but is not obliged to under this scheme.
A claim will be permitted every 3 weeks. Payments will be made direct to the employer and it will be taxable income of the employer. HMRC will issue more guidance on how employers should calculate their claims for Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions, before the scheme becomes live.

Limited Company, Owner Managed Business? 

A resume of what you need to know.

If you own your own business, the announcement of the 'Self-Employed Income Support Scheme' to those affected by the impact of COVID-19 was welcome for some but not others.  In particular, this will not apply to directors who run their own limited company who are classed as employees.  If this is you, read on…

To be the most tax efficient, most directors receive a minimum salary which is topped up with dividends.  And as an employee, technically, directors will be eligible for the Job Retention Scheme whereby you can be furloughed and receive 80% of your salary.  However, there are two practical problems.
 1.  Under this scheme directors cannot work: work is classed as providing services or generating revenue (unlike the rest of the self-employed, who can continue to work).
 2.  Directors would only receive 80% of their salary under PAYE, which is normally at low levels - note dividends are not included!


What other options are there?

Grants - only businesses with premises and receiving Small Business Rates Relief are eligible for a grant of £10,000. This will not be available to any businesses working from home, or with larger premises.

There is a £25,000 grant, but only for those businesses with a property with a rateable value of between £18,000 and £51,000 and it is only available for those businesses in the leisure, hospitality or retail sectors.


These grants are available online via your council website.


Loans - The business interruption loan is available which is available through your bank with an 80% guarantee from the government.  There has been some backlash towards some banks however because some of them are still requesting personal guarantees. It is likely that business plans/cashflows will be required to support the application and demonstrate the viability of the business. If you are a M&S client, and given the seriousness of the situation, this is a service we would be happy to assist with at no cost.


All of this means that, very frustratingly, owner managed businesses currently have no significant measures available to them.


What can you do?

In order to survive the next few months, cashflow will be vital.
 *   Credit control - keep on top of any customers due you money
 *   If you can work you may want to consider offering a discount for early payment
 *   Raise invoices as soon as possible
 *   Speak to your suppliers and ask for increased payment terms, discounts
 *   Contact your utility provider - are you on the best tariff, any reductions available
 *   Review all your costs and reduce all that you can
 *   Furlough staff if necessary
 *   Look for ways to generate new income
 *   Speak to your bank re payment holiday for any loans if applicable
 *   Ask for time to pay for any PAYE due.  Use the VAT deferral.

Personal Finance

 *   Request a mortgage holiday
 *   Review costs - are you on the best tariff for your utilities
 *   Contact council tax office - councils can defer payments

If you want to chat about how your business has been affected, please do not hesitate to contact us.

26th March

Financial Support for the Self Employed (winners and losers)

With public pressure growing, the Chancellor announced this evening the government's plans for supporting those who are self-employed.  More details on the support package are sure to follow in the coming days, but the main principle of the measure is that, much like the measures for employees, self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive taxable grants worth 80% of their average monthly profits (capped at £2,500 per month).

The monthly payment will be calculated based on an average of the profits included on the individual's tax returns for the last 3 years.   If you have only traded and submitted tax returns for a year or two, then the average for those periods will also be taken into account.   For those that have not yet submitted their return for the year ended 5 April 2019, they will have 4 weeks from today to do so in order to be included under the scheme.

Unfortunately, not all self-employed individuals will be eligible for this scheme.  Only those with profits up to £50,000 and those whose self-employment profits make up the majority of their income will receive the grant.  Additionally, anyone who only became self-employed after 6 April 2019  will not be entitled to any additional support, as it is only those with a submitted 2019 tax return that will be recognised.

HMRC will be in touch directly with those that are eligible to receive the payment, however it is currently expected that this will not happen until early June.  In the meantime, those impacted are encouraged to claim universal credits.  

We'll update you with more information as soon as we've looked in depth at what the Chancellor has said and what it might mean for you.

25th March

Extra three months to file your accounts.

The government has announced that businesses are to be given an extra three months to file their accounts with Companies House to let them prioritise responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the measures, which came into force today, any company that applies for an extension to file their results citing Covid-19 will automatically and immediately be granted an additional three-months.

24th March

Useful links at Fife Council

Fife Council have updated their website to include a set of articles and links to help businesses at this trying time.  It looks like this:

Fife Council

And you can access it here

23rd March 

On Friday 20th March 2020 Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a sweeping range of measures to be introduced over the coming days, weeks and months. Here is a summary of the main measures he announced:

 *   Government to pay 80% of wages for employees temporarily not able to work, up to £2,500 per employee per month. The payment will be in the form of a grant available from HMRC, available by the end of April (backdated to 1 March 2020). MORE DETAILS HERE.
 *   For the self-employed, a deferral of personal tax payments due on 31 July 2020, payments deferred until 31 January 2021.  This is an automatic offer with no applications required.  No penalties or interest will be charged in the deferral period
 *   No VAT payable by any business in the quarter to June 2020, with any amount deferred being due by the end of the 20/21 tax year.  All businesses are eligible and it is an automatic offer with no applications required. Vat refunds and reclaims will be paid by HMRC as normal.  VAT returns should still be submitted, any direct debits should be cancelled.
 *   The government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be interest free for 12 months rather than the initial 6 months, available from Monday (also available to large and medium sized businesses). Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) - British Business Bank British Business Bank<
https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/> .   You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.
 *   Increase in Universal Credit Standard Allowance of £1,000 for the next 12 months.
 *   Working tax credit basic element increased by £1,000 for the next 12 months.
 *   Housing Benefit and Universal Credit to be enhanced so that the local housing allowance will cover 30% of market rents for renters.
 *   Increase in benefits for self-employed, suspending minimum income floor thereby allowing self-employed access to Universal Credit equivalent to SSP for employees.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access 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.

If you need advice, please don't hesitate to call us.  You can also see the full summary of the government's actions to date here

20th March 

US Tax

This morning, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced via Twitter: that at President Trump’s direction, we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15.

All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.

We expect the IRS will issue official guidance today or Monday, officially extending the deadline.

Individuals and small businesses can also delay paying any federal income tax payments up to $1 million and $10 million, respectively, until July 15, 2020. At this time, we don't know if the IRS will increase the tax payment limitations.

18th March

Getting more time to pay

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak there may be a strain on your business to meet its financial obligations.  However, in order to ease the burden it may be possible for you to request a Time to Pay (TTP) arrangement with HMRC.  A TTP arrangement will provide your businesses with some additional breathing space during these uncertain times to enable you to settle your existing tax liabilities. For many businesses, this could be invaluable. 

More specifically, a TTP will allow you to settle your current tax liabilities in monthly instalments which are agreed with HMRC.  Typically, this means you can spread your payments over a period up to 12 months, depending on your financial circumstances. In order to set up the TTP you will to contact HMRC on 0800 024 1222. ,, at which time they will talk you through your business’s current financial position and set a monthly amount that you both agree that would be manageable for you.

Before you contact HMRC you’ll need to know:

  • Your reference number (i.e. your 10 digit Unique Taxpayer reference, VAT reference or PAYE reference)
  • The amount of tax bill you’re finding difficult to pay and the reasons why
  • What you have done to try and get the money to pay the bill
  • How much you can pay immediately and how long you may need to pay the rest
  • Your bank details

HMRC will ask you about:

  • your income and expenditure
  • your assets, like savings and investments
  • what you’re doing to get your tax payments back in order

As you can imagine the HMRC helpline may well be busy when you telephone but please persevere!

The following steps will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:
 
a 100% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors on properties with a rateable value of between £18,000 and £51,000.

  • a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020
  • 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below increase from 1 April 2020

The finance secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from rate payers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.  

  • an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19 – there are no details for this as yet but we'll update you when we get them.

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

Small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. 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

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

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week to support 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. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

Support for businesses paying tax

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.

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 024 1222.  More information is available here.

Insurance

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.  Does your insurance include this?  Please check with your insurer or broker.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

The business helpline number is 0800 024 1222. The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm – Currently, no further information is available but it looks like this might be in place next week.