The Coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruption to businesses and economies worldwide.
The UK government has responded to Covid-19 with measures aimed at delaying its spread and mitigating damage to the economy with a substantial stimulus package.
Some of the measures announced by the Prime Minister in the daily briefings apply throughout the UK, however some measures relate to devolved taxes, such as Business Rates.
The Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive have been swift to respond with their own measures or similar proportions.
This is a fast-moving area and UK Government are publishing details of further measures here.
This is a summary of some of the key announcements for businesses, including:
- statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- business rates holiday of 12 month for some businesses
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding for certain retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (now open for applications)
- the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Time to Pay arrangements.
Click to see our flowchart for how this may apply to you.
While we await complete details for the majority of the measures the flowchart is current as of this time of email.
There are also several individual measures to support those who may be experiencing financial difficulty during this challenging and unprecedented time.
See our flowchart below for the support available to you.
Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
The government announced a 3-month deferment in Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for all UK businesses.
Consequently, there is no requirement to make a VAT payment from 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2020 and you will have until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.
If you pay by direct debit you should cancel this now to avoid money being collected.
You do however still have to submit your VAT return.
Need to send us your records? Click here to book the scan van. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
The flow charts above are based on the measures for England.
For the measures relating to devolved taxes in your area please see:
Northern Ireland: www.economy-ni.gov.uk/news/covid-19-business-support-grant-schemes
Off payroll working in the private sector (IR35)
The government has announced that the rules to extend off payroll working to the private sector will be deferred until April 6th 2021.
The change to the rules has caused difficulty due to ‘high levels of misinformation in the market’ and lack of contractor awareness.
It has now been postponed until April 6th 2021 as there is a greater need than ever for clarity around what is happening.
This announcement comes as part of the UK Government’s response to the ongoing spread of the Covid-19 virus to help businesses and individuals.
The change is ‘a deferral, not a cancellation’ of the policy, and the UK Government remains ‘committed to reintroducing’ the change.
Extended access to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
As part of a package to widen the scope of SSP and make it more accessible, SSP entitlement will begin from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth, for those who have Covid-19, or self-isolate in accordance with government guidance.
SSP relief for SMEs
Small and medium-sized businesses will be allowed to reclaim SSP paid for absence due to Covid-19. The refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has claimed SSP as a result of Covid-19.
Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible, with the size of an employer being determined by the number of people they employed as of 28th February 2020.
Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
Expanded access to Time to Pay
Businesses and self-employed individuals, in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible for support with their tax affairs through existing Time to Pay arrangements.
HMRC has set up a dedicated Covid-19 helpline, on 0800 0159 559, for those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.
Please be aware that some individuals are taking advantage of this situation to send out scam emails and calls impersonating:
– Government assistance
– Local authorities
If you have any concerns on how Covid-19 may affect you or if you have any questions on what we have mentioned above, please call us on 0191 586 1615 or click here to send us an email.