COVID-19 Business Support

Business Support Information

Up To Date Information For Businesses Effected By Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extended

Due to the increased restrictions enforced to curb the coronavirus pandemic from 05.11.2020 – 02.12.2020, the UK government is introducing additional economic measures to support employers and employees.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The (CJRS) Coronavirus Job Retention or Furlough Scheme, which was due to end on 31 October, will now be extended.

The UK government will pay 80% of wages for the hours furloughed employees do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 for periods from the 1st of November.

Employers can choose to top up their furloughed employees’ wages beyond the 80% paid by the UK government, but they are not required to do so. Employers will need to pay all employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions.

The CJRS was previously due to end on the 31st of October, however, there will be no gap in support between the previously announced end date of CJRS and this extension. 

How It Will Work?

Employees can be furloughed full-time or they are able to work on a part-time basis and be furloughed for the rest of their usual working hours. 

Wages for any hours worked will be paid by the employer as well as all employer National Insurance and employer pension contributions.

Who Is Eligible

Employers can claim for employees who were on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. A PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC must have been made between the 20th of March and the 30th of October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

Employees Who Were Made Redundant In September

If an employee was on an employers’ payroll on the 23rd of September 2020 and was subsequently made redundant or stopped working for the employer, they can also qualify for the scheme if they are re-employed by their employer.

Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS. 

Job Support Scheme 

The new Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on Sunday 1 November, has been postponed.

You can find out more in our blog here.

information updated 05.11.2020

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Extended

Due to the increased restrictions enforced to curb the coronavirus pandemic from 05.11.2020 – 02.12.2020, the UK government is introducing additional economic measures to support employers and employees.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension will be increased from 40% of average trading profits to 80%.

In addition, the availability of the service has been brought forward from the 14th of December to the 3‌0th of November.

How will it work?

The SEISS Grant Extension provides support to the self-employed in the form of two grants. The grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period as follows:

November 2020 to January 2021

The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November 2020 until the end of January 2021. The UK government will provide a taxable grant covering 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ profits, capped at £7,500 in total.

This grant is an increase from the previously announced level of 40% of trading profits for November to 80%.

The second grant is for 3 months from February 2021.

February 2021 to April 2021

The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February 2021 until the end of April 2021. The UK government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

All grants are taxable income and subject to National Insurance contributions.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the scheme, self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships – must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although you do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • intend to continue to trade and either:
    • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
    • where previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.

You can find out more in our blog here.

information updated 09.11.2020

Job Retention Bonus – Currently Cancelled, More Updates To Follow

The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to employers, for each eligible employee that was furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.

Employers will be able to claim the bonus between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021and the money does not have to be paid to the employee.

Who can claim

You can claim the bonus if you’re an employer who has furloughed employees and made an eligible claim for them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Your employee must have been eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for you to be eligible for the bonus.

You can still claim the bonus if you make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme. Guidance on the Job Support Scheme will be published soon.

Employees you can claim for

You can claim for employees that:

  • you made an eligible claim for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • you kept continuously employed from the end of the claim period of your last Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim for them, until 31 January 2021
  • are not serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on 31 January 2021 (this includes people serving notice of retirement)
  • you paid enough an amount in each relevant tax month and enough to meet the Job Retention Bonus minimum income threshold

HMRC will not pay the bonus if you made an incorrect Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim and your employee was not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The minimum income threshold

To be eligible for the bonus you must make sure that your employees have been paid at least the minimum income threshold.

To meet the minimum income threshold you must pay your employee a total of at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the tax months:

  • 6 November to 5 December 2020
  • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
  • 6 January to 5 February 2021

You must pay your employee at least one payment of taxable earnings (of any amount) in each of the relevant tax months.

Get ready to claim

Before you can claim the bonus, you will to need to have reported all payments made to your employee between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021 to HMRC through Full Payment Submissions via Real Time Information (RTI).

There are some steps you need to take now to make sure you’re ready to claim.

You must:

  • still be enrolled for PAYE online
  • comply with your PAYE obligations to file PAYE accurately and on time under Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees between 6 April 2020 and 5 February 2021
  • keep your payroll up to date and make sure you report the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you before the end of the pay period that they leave in
  • use the irregular payment pattern indicator in Real Time Information (RTI) for any employees not being paid regularly
  • comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims

Using an agent to do PAYE online and claim the Job Retention Bonus

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus on your behalf.

You can find out more by downloading our useful guide here.

Information updated 10.11.2020

Job Support Scheme – Now Postponed

In light of the increased restrictions needed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, there have been changes to Coronavirus Support.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or Furlough scheme, which was due to end on 31 October, will now be extended, with the UK government paying 80% of wages for the hours furloughed employees do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 for periods from 1 November.

The new Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on Sunday 1 November, has been postponed.

Any employees who have already signed agreements for the Job Support Scheme which was due to start on the 1st of November must be placed back on furlough leave wherever applicable. Any agreements for the Job Support Scheme should be put on hold.
Information updated 05.11.2020

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce.

The scheme starts on the 1st of November and employers will be able to claim online on a monthly basis through gov.uk from December 2020.

Update announced 22nd October

If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus you may be eligible to claim under this scheme.

Dramatic changes were announced by the Chancellor on the 22nd of October which mean that:

  • The percentage of minimum hours worked can be as low as 20% (up from 33%)
  • Only 5% of the JSS is to be paid by employer (down from 33%)
  • The Government will now pay a maximum of 62% of hours NOT worked (up from 33%)

The scheme is set to be available for a period of 6 months, however, this will be reviewed by the government in January.

What is the Job Support Scheme

For employees that are working fewer hours than normal due to decreased demand, the government will contribute towards their wages.

In order to qualify, employees must work at least 20% of their usual hours, for which employers will continue to pay wages as normal.

For the hours not worked, the employer will pay 5% and the government will pay up to 62% of their usual wages each.

All claims are subject to checks by HMRC and employers must agree the new scheme with their employees and notify them in writing. This agreement must also be made available to HMRC on request.

Who is eligible?

All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

How to claim

The scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 to the end of April 2021. Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.uk from December 2020. They will be paid on a monthly basis.

Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.

You can find out more about the Job Support Scheme at Gov.uk here or by downloading our useful guide here.

Information updated 23.10.2020

Job Support Scheme Expansion – Now Postponed

In light of the increased restrictions needed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, there have been changes to Coronavirus Support.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or Furlough scheme, which was due to end on 31 October, will now be extended, with the UK government paying 80% of wages for the hours furloughed employees do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 for periods from 1 November.

The new Job Support Scheme Expansion, which was due to start on Sunday 1 November, has been postponed.

Any employees who have already signed agreements for the Job Support Scheme which was due to start on the 1st of November must be placed back on furlough leave wherever applicable. Any agreements for the Job Support Scheme should be put on hold.
Information updated 05.11.2020

The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, as announced by the Chancellor on the 9th of October.

What is the Job Support Scheme Expansion

Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work – protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two-thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns will also be increased to up to £3,000 per month.

Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions.

Who is eligible

Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the Job Support Scheme, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via an HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.

How can I claim?

This is a temporary scheme, available to employers from 1 November 2020 for 6 months and will be reviewed in January.

Employers will be able to make a claim on a monthly basis online through gov.uk from December 2020 and this will be reviewed in January 2020.

You can find out more about the Job Support Scheme Expansion by downloading our useful guide here.

Information updated 23.10.2020

Business Loans

Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

This temporary scheme aims to support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years.

The government has advised that they will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This will mean that smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

“The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.”

Eligibility

You are eligible for the scheme if:

How To Access The Scheme

The scheme is now open for applications.

To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible, to discuss your business plan.

You can find out the latest on the best ways to contact them via their websites. Please note that branches may currently be shut down to enable social distancing.

The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.

If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

Information updated 26.03.2020

Support For Larger Firms

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.

Support is available for larger firms via the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Under the new scheme, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

This will support any larger company which has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow them to finance their short-term liabilities.

Eligibility

All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible.

These criteria include:

“Companies – and their finance subsidiaries – that make a material contribution to the UK economy.”

The Bank Of England advise that “firms that meet this requirement would normally be: UK incorporated companies, including those with foreign-incorporated parents and with a genuine business in the UK; companies with significant employment in the UK; firms with their headquarters in the UK. We will also consider whether the company generates significant revenues in the UK, serves a large number of customers in the UK or has a number of operating sites in the UK.

How To Access The Scheme

The scheme is now available for applications, and more information is available from the Bank of England.

Information updated 26.03.2020

Support For The Self Employed

A Grant Is Available Through The Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus you may be eligible to claim under this scheme.

How To Apply

HMRC began contacting self-employed taxpayers whom they believe are eligible for the scheme on 04.05.2020 inviting them to apply online when the scheme opened for applications on the 13th of May

If HMRC contact you this doesn’t mean that you are definitely eligible for the grant. HMRC will use the information which they have about your profits for the years to 2018/19. However, to You  You must also have traded in 2019/20 AND be intending to trade in 2020/21. You can check your eligibility online here

How Much You’ll Get

The First SEISS grant which will be 80% of the average profits from three tax years (where applicable):

  • 2016 to 2017
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2018 to 2019

To work out the average HMRC will add together the total trading profit for three tax years and divide by three (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.

The grant is available up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months and will be paid directly into your bank account, in one instalment. Grant applications for the first SEISS are open up until the 13‌‌th of July

Who Can Apply?

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income must come from self-employment.

This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

  • having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
  • having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

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.

HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.

Find Out More Here

Second Stage SEISS

The second stage of the self-employed scheme will provide a grant of 70% of self-employed workers average monthly trading profits. The eligibility criteria for the second grant hasn’t changed and individuals will have to confirm that they have been adversely affected by Covid-19.

However, you do not have to have claimed the first SEISS grant in order to be eligible for this second grant. 

The scheme will open for applications in August, and as before the money will be paid in a single instalment covering three months’ average monthly profits. However, the cap has been reduced to £6,570, down from the £7,500 cap of the first grant.

Find Out More Here

Information updated 08.06.2020

Support For Small Business Owners

Small Business Grant Scheme.

This scheme is for businesses that pay little or no business rates. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

The government have advised that they will provide this 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.

Who Is Eligibile?

Your business is eligible if:

  • your business is based in England
  • you are a business that occupies property
  • you are receiving small business rate relief or rural rate relief as of 11 March

How To Access The Scheme

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

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. You can find your local authority Here.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

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.

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for this grant.

Who Is Eligible?

You are eligible for the grant if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector
  • your business has a rateable value of under £51,000

Properties that can benefit from the relief are 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

How To Access The Grant

Similarly to the small business grant scheme you do not need to do anything.

Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to your local authority.

You can find your local authority Here.

Business Rates Holiday For Retail, Hospitality And Leisure Businesses.

The government have announced support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates in England by introducing a payment holiday for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Eligibility

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 properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

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

More information on eligibility is set out in the expanded retail discount guidance.

How to access the scheme

There is no action required from you for you, however, local authorities may need to reissue your bill to provide this support. This will be done as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Find more information about the grant funding schemes, including the small business grant fund and retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund here.

Information updated 01.04.2020

Support For Employers & Employees

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Furloughed Workers.

The government have advised that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be accessible to employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

This is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020.

By accessing this scheme, employers will be able to use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.

The scheme is available online and can be accessed here. Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:

  • businesses
  • charities
  • recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)
  • public authorities

Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

To find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme click here

We have also created a:

Furlough Policy Template which can be downloaded here.

Furloughed Employee Letter Template which can be downloaded here.

Changes To CJRS & The Introduction Of Part-time Furlough

On the 28th of May, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to end the eight-month coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS)  by gradually withdrawing taxpayers’ contributions from August.

The CJRS or furlough scheme will continue in its current form, paying 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500 with no employer contribution until the end of July. However, from August employers’ will be expected to pay a “modest contribution”.

August

Employers will only have to cover national insurance and employer contributions, which is around 5% of total employment costs.

September

The government furlough contribution will drop from 80% to 70%, the employer is obligated to pick up the 10%.

October

Employers will pay 20%, whilst the government’s contribution will reduce to 60%.

After this, at the end of October, the Government contributions will cease and the scheme will come to an end.

Part-time Furlough

The part-time furlough scheme will also be available from the 1st of July and will enable workers to return part-time whilst still receiving a grant for the time when they are not working.

How Will It Work?

Under the part-time furlough scheme, a furloughed 5-day week worker could return for two days and would be paid as normal, whilst the government would cover the other three days pay under the CJRS.

The government will pay 80% of wages for any employees’ normal hours which they do not work up until the end of August.

This means that employees can work as much or as little as the business needs, with no minimum time that they can furlough staff for.

The part-time furlough scheme must apply to a time period of at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. Longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles can also be claimed for.

Who Is Eligible?

Part-time furlough is only available for current furloughed workers, therefore, the scheme will close to new entrants from the end of June.

You can find out more about the second stage of CJRS and part-time furlough here.

Information updated 08.06.2020

Coronavirus VAT Deferment

Support For Businesses By Deferring VAT Payments

Temporary changes to VAT payments due between the 20th of March 2020 and the 30th of June 2020 are now in place.

To help businesses affected by the coronavirus a three-month VAT payment deferment was announced on the 20th March. This means that over two million businesses can defer any VAT payments which were due to be paid between the 20th of March and 30th of June 2020.

There will be no interest or default surcharges due on deferred VAT and any payments which are deferred must be paid on or before 31 March 2021.

All VAT credits and refunds will be paid as normal during the period.

The deferral also applies to annual accounting advanced payments and payments on account, normally due on the last day of the second and third months in any VAT quarter for affected businesses. Consequently, payments on accounts that are due to be paid 31st March, 30th April, 31st May and 30th June can be deferred.

There is also help available to business whom are unable to pay their VAT from previous periods due to COVID-19. HMRC’s Time To Pay system has been enhanced and a dedicated helpline is available.

If you cannot pay your tax bill because of coronavirus then contact the HMRC coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222 as soon as possible.

Who Is Eligible?

Almost all UK businesses that pay VAT are eligible for the scheme. This includes foreign businesses with a UK VAT registration.

However, any businesses filing for B2C electronic services sales or using mini one-stop-shop returns (MOSS) are not included in the scheme. They will have to pay the VAT due as normal.

How To Access The Scheme

The VAT tax holiday will be automatic and taxpayers do not have to notify HMRC if they intend to take advantage of the payment deferment scheme. However, despite payments being deferred, VAT returns must still be submitted as normal on the date which they are due.

Direct Debit Payments

Despite the deferment scheme being automatic, businesses whom currently pay their VAT via direct debit must take action now.

HMRC have advised that they are unable to stop existing direct debit payments from going ahead.

Businesses must take immediate action and contact their banks to cancel the facility or can cancel it via on line banking if registered, otherwise the VAT will automatically be withdrawn.

MTD For VAT

HMRC has now postponed phase two of Making Tax Digital for VAT. This means that the new rules on maintaining digital links from original transaction to tax return will not be enforced until 1 April 2021. Businesses now have until their first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2021 to put digital links in place.

However, the regular VAT penalty regime for missing any Making Tax Digital  obligations will still come into play on the 1st of April 2020 when the one-year soft-landing phase of MTD ended.

Information updated 07.04.2020

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