02 Apr COVID-19 – UK Businesses help from the government
UK Businesses – how can the government help your finances?
We have all suffered in one way or the other the current coronavirus crisis. As an individual or as a business, you are not alone.
As a tax adviser and accountant, I have been asked many times what the different government schemes are to support you or your business.
I have prepared this visual aid to make your reading easier (just follow the numbers in brackets):
Hoping to help as many small businesses as possible, I have compiled a list of financial/tax help made available by the government.
This is basically a copy-paste from Companies House and HMRC’s websites. Hopefully there is a solution for your business!
Walton on Thames
Coronavirus Financial Support for UK businesses and employees
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – access finance of up to £5 million.
This Scheme supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years.
This Scheme will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so there is no upfront costs and lower initial repayments for smaller businesses.
This Scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders backed by all major banks.
Eligibility: any business with UK-based activity, annual turnover of less than £45 Million, and have a borrowing proposal which the lender a) would have considered had it not been for COVID-19, and b) believes will enable you to trade through short to medium term difficulties.
All businesses can apply except for certain sectors.
Apply via your lender’s website. It is up to the lender to grant this finance.
More info on: Business Interruption Loan Scheme – More info
Job Retention Scheme – all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
The PAYE scheme should have been created on or before 28 February 2020.
This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as “furloughed workers”.
HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus Employer’s NIC and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on the subsided wage.
This will cover wages backdated to 1st March if applicable and is initially open for 3 months (will be extended if necessary).
All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme set up on or before 28th February 2020, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through its PAYE scheme) and public authorities.
The employer must have a UK bank account.
To access this, the employer must designate “furloughed workers” and notify these employees (considering employment law and contract). When the portal for this is live, the employer will have to submit to HMRC information about such workers.
The first grants are expected to be paid within weeks and aimed to happen before the end of April.
For more info: Furloughed workers.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – support for self-employed individuals whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Conditions: registered as self-employed, have submitted a Self-Assessment tax return for 2018/19, have been trading during 2019/20 and intend to continue trading during 2020/21, have lost profits due to COVID-19, have had profits of less than £50,000 (from 2016/17 to 2018/19 tax years), and that more than half of your income comes from self-employment.
You can claim a taxable grant of 80% of the average trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.
This taxable grant will be calculated by HMRC, taking the average profits from tax years 2016/17 to 2018/19.
You cannot apply for this scheme yet.
HRC will contact you if you are eligible and invite you to apply online. The scheme will only be accessible through your gov.uk tax account.
Please be aware that any texts, calls or emails claiming to be HMRC would be a scam.
Once applications have been submitted, HMRC will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.
It will be paid in a single instalment directly into your bank account. Grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020.
If you claim tax credits, you will need to include the grant in your claim as income.
For eligible individuals who haven’t submitted 2018/19 tax return, they will have until 23rd April 2020 to file their returns.
Other options for self-employed: a more generous universal credit (4 below) and business continuity loans (1 above).
Increased amounts of Universal Credit
If you are on a low income or out of work, you can get this. Note that you and your partner will be required to have less than £16,000 in savings between you to be eligible.
It covers benefits such as Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), working tax credit, etc.
If you are receiving any benefit or Universal Credit, you will not have to do anything unless there is a change of circumstances.
You will need to set up a Universal Credit account if you don’t have it yet.
You can try using one of these Benefits Calculators.
For more info: Universal Credit.
Business Rates Holiday for Retails, Hospitality and Leisure – England only, businesses will not have to pay business rates for the 2020/21 tax year.
Local authorities will apply the business rates holidays to your bills. The following properties:
- Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
- Properties used for assembly and leisure,
- Properties used as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation. Holiday homes are included in this category.
These should be used wholly or mainly for trading activities.
This will be applied automatically to your bill for the 2020/21 tax year.
For more info: Business Rates Holiday.
Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – England only, businesses will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
Properties that will benefit from this relief will be occupied properties 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 and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
|Rateable value of business property||
|More than £15,000 and less than £51,000||
|More than £51,000||
Small Business Grant Funding – England only
This is an additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief (as of 11th March).
This will be a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate – this will allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus.
This will allow small and medium-sized (up to 250 employees as of 28th February 2020) businesses to reclaim SSP paid for staff sickness absence due to Coronavirus. It will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.
This scheme is still work in progress to allow the rebate to happen.
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.
Eligible if 1) Your business pays tax in the UK and 2) Your business has outstanding tax liabilities. You will need to contact HMRC on 0800 024 1222 (Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm). HMRC will explore the following options:
- Agreeing an instalment arrangement.
- Suspending debt collection proceedings.
- Cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately.
For late payments, contact immediately. For future payments, contact HMRC nearer the time.
COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) – the Bank of England will buy short term debts from larger companies.
Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries – England only, Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020/21 tax year.
No action needed – providers occupying properties on OFSTED’s Early Years Register and are wholly or mainly used for the provision of Early years Foundation Stage. Local Authorities will apply the business rates holiday in the bill for 2020/21 tax year.
VAT Deferral – businesses can defer Value Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
VAT payments due between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 may be deferred. All VAT registered businesses are eligible.
It is an automatic offer with no applications required. Taxpayers will be given until 5th April 2021 to pay any outstanding accumulated liabilities.
VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as usual.
If you pay by direct debit you should cancel it if you are unable to pay your VAT liability.
Deferral of Self-Assessment payment – payments on account, that would be ordinarily due by 31st July 2020 may now be deferred until January 2021.
Those who are suffering hardship as a result of COVID-19 can defer the second payment on account due on 31st July 2020. Those who are still able to pay, should still do so by 31st July 2020.
Hs is an automatic offer (no applications required). No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 instalment.
You will be able to pay it on or before 31st January 2021.
3-month extension wot file accounts with Companies House
Companies House has announced that businesses can get a 3 month extension to file accounts with Companies House. You can apply online citing COVID-19 to get the extension. The application is automatic and immediate.
For more information, please do click on the links above. If you still think you need more assistance, please visit the government’s FAQ’s section or call the Business Helpline.
Business Advice – other sources of support and support from outside government. Other sources – Business Support. Business helpline: 0300 456 3565 – free.
2nd April 2020