Covid-19 Financial Update

Business Interruption Action Steps (BIAS)

 

Update as at 24/09/2020

1. “Pay As You Grow” scheme
• Bounce Back Loans can now be repaid over extended periods from 6 to 10 years to reduce repayments by almost 50%;
• This extension will NOT affect your credit rating;
• Interest only repayments or total loan suspension for up to 6 months where businesses are in “real trouble”;
• CBILS loans can also be extended for up to 10 years;
• New successor loan guarantee programme to CBILS to be announced in January 2021;

2. Job Support Scheme :
• To replace Furlough scheme ending on 31st October 2020;
• Will run from 1st November to 30th April 2021;
• Available to
• Employees working a minimum of 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their pay;
• For hours not worked, the Government & the Employer will pay 33% each towards the “lost” income;
• Businesses will not be able to give redundancy notices to employees whilst on this scheme;

3. Self-Employed Grant :
• To be extended on similar terms to the Job Support Scheme, further information to follow;

4. VAT bills carried forward to March 2021 :
• No longer payable as a lump sum on 31st March;
• Repayable over 11 months from March 2021.
• Repayments will be interest free;

5. Income Tax bills deferred :
• Tax liabilities due on 31st January 2021 of less than £30,000 deferred but not cancelled;
• Can now set up & agree a repayment plan with HMRC;
• Tax debt can then be repaid over 12 months to January 2022;
• The repayments will be interest free.
• Applies to self employed or those with 2 or more sources of income;


Update as at 15/09/2020

1. Covid related Business Interruption Claims – Policyholders win in the High Court

Policyholders of Business Interruption Insurance (“BII”), have won a “significant” victory in a High Court test case to determine whether the Covid-19 pandemic should trigger pay-outs to claimants.

The judgement found in favour of BII policyholders on the majority of the key issues including clauses relating to:
• “non-damage”;
• “denial of access”

According to estimates by the FCA, who brought the case to the High Court to clarify the confusion felt by large numbers of frustrated policyholders, the findings could affect nearly 400,000 policyholders.

However, this could take some time. It is likely that the insurers who lost the case will appeal to the Supreme Court against today’s 160 page judgement.

In the light of the above news, business owners should review their Business Interruption policy to assess whether a claim should now be made.


Update as at 08/09/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Following from the update on 15/06/2020

From September, your furlough reclaim amount will reduce to 70%. The employers NI and pension are no longer included in your claim.

The reduction continues in October by a further 10%.

You can only claim for one month furlough at a time; you are not allowed to carry forward any undeclared furlough claims.

Working from home allowance

You can pay your staff up to £6 per week (£26 per month) to cover general costs, provided you have required them to work from home.

Although not a life changing amount, it is ideal for covering your staff’s ongoing costs for trivial items such as stationary and other minor consumables.

You don’t have to pay it, but it could be a more cost effective alternative to paying larger one off expense claims, as it’s an ongoing payment.

Staff can still claim the tax relief element even if you don’t pay it, by applying on a form P87 or claiming through their self-assessment

Here is the link:  https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

For more information and FAQs, please click here to view our dedicated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme blog post.


 

Update as at 18/08/2020

1. Self-Employment income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Following from the update on 16/06/2020

If you haven’t yet made a claim for the first grant, up to £6,570, the deadline to do so is the 19th October 2020.

You can claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant.

Please click here to read our designated post on the SEISS scheme


Update as at 21/07/2020

1. Stamp Duty Holiday

In a bid to boost a housing market still in shock from the COVID-19 property freeze, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a measure that could save the average homebuyer over £2,000.

The government has removed SDLT up to a £500,000 threshold. The current stamp duty holiday will last for around nine months, and will end on 31 March 2021.

The maximum amount a buyer could save would be if they bought a home worth £500,000 which is the threshold for the exemption. Stamp duty on this would be £15,000!


Update as at 16/06/2020

1. Self-Employment income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Following from the update on 08/06/2020

If you haven’t yet made a claim for the first grant, up to £7,500, the deadline to do so is the 13th July 2020.

The second grant will be open to make claims from August 2020 if you are self-employed and have been adversely affected by Covid-19. You can claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant.

Please click here to read our designated post on the SEISS scheme


Update as at 15/06/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Following from the update on 01/06/2020

CJRS will allow part time furloughing from 1 July and tapering employer contributions from August – see our table below showing a breakdown of the employer contributions vs the governments on the furlough scheme.

Calculating your claim is not straight forward, you need to ensure your claim is accurate inorder to be paid for furloughed workers.

For more information click here

Click here to view our blog post designated to new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme rules


Update as at 08/06/2020

1. Self Employment income Support Scheme (SEISS)
(Further to update as at 15/05/2020)

On the 29th May, the government announced it will offer self-employed workers a second and final grant in August.

Those who are eligible will be able to claim a second grant capped at £6,570.

The grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, covering 3 months’ worth of profits and capped at £6,570 in total. This will be paid out in a single instalment.

Further guidance on the second grant will be published on Friday 12 June.

2. Business-Rate Support Scheme – Shared Office Space

Units rented by shared office spaces do not currently have a ‘Rateable’ value so were not eligible for the business rates relief. The government have acknowleged this now so that businesses with premises run by companies such as WeWork and Regus etc are now eligible to receive support.

Because grants are allocated per business property, a single business can receive multiple grants and may receive grants from separate local authorities.

Eligibility
You’re potentially eligible if your business:

  • is based in England
  • has fewer than 50 employees
  • has fixed building costs such as rent
  • was trading on 11 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If you are eligible, you can apply through your local council. Click here to find your local council.

  • Your local council will run an application process and decide whether to offer you a grant.
  • You do not have to pay the grant back but it will be taxable. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

For further guidance, click here


Update as at 01/06/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The following updates were announced on the 29th May to ease employees back into work.

2020 Government Pays Company /Employer Pays Additional Information
June – 80% of employees wages up to £2500.
– All employers national insurance covered.
– All Pension covered
– Nothing – Scheme closes to new entrants from 30th June, therefore the final date for employees to be furloughed is 10th June.
July – 80% of employees wages up to £2500.
– All employers national insurance covered.
– All Pension covered
– Pay for the hours that their  Part Time employees are working – topped up to 80% of full time wage, to total of £2,500 by government – Furloughed staff can be made part time employees
– Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
August – 80% of employees wages up to £2500. – Pay for the hours that their employees are working
– Employers  National Insurance.
– Minimum Pension Contributions
September – 70% of employees wages up to £2,190 – Pay for the hours that their employees are working
– Employers  National Insurance.
– Minimum Pension Contributions
– 10% of furloughed Employee Salary
October – 60% of employees wages up to £1,875 – Pay for the hours that their employees are working
– Employers  National Insurance.
– Minimum Pension Contributions
– 20% of furloughed Employee Salary


Update as at 19/05/2020

1. Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSRS)

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch online on 26 May.

The scheme will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If AEL are your agent, we will be able to make claims on behalf of employers.

Employers are eligible to use the scheme if:

  • they’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • they had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020
  • they had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020
  • they’re eligible to receive State Aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework.

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they either:

  • have coronavirus
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home
  • are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

To prepare to make a claim, you should keep records of all the SSP payments you wish to claim for.


Update as at 18/05/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Following from the update on 13/05/2020

It’s nearly a month since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened and you may be preparing to make another claim in order to receive money by the end of May.

To ensure you receive a payment by the end of May, you need to apply by Wednesday 20‌‌ May.

When you make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you’ll receive the money within six working days.

After making a claim, please keep all records and calculations, in case HMRC need to contact you to discuss these.


Update as at 15/05/2020

1. Self-Assessment Employment income Support Scheme (SESS)

HMRC has opened the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, where freelancers and contractors can apply up to 80% of lost earnings in a £7,500 lump sum.

To qualify for this grant, your self employed income must be below £50k AND this amount must be >50% of total income.

To apply click here.
It is a very quick seamless application process, information required:
1. Personal UTR Number
2. National Insurance Number
3. Government Gateway ID and Password
4. Bank Account Information (where you would like the grant paid into)
The system automatically calculates if you are eligible for the grant and how much you are to receive based on your historic submitted returns.

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to income tax and national insurance.

Money should hit bank accounts by May 25 or six working days after a claim is made.
Only make this claim if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

https://www.aelmarkhams.co.uk/seiss/


Update as at 13/05/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Following from the update on 20/04/2020
The scheme has been extended to October 2020 and will retain the current form and rules until 31st July 2020.
From 1st August :
  • Businesses will be able to have greater flexibility by being able to employ furloughed staff on a part-time basis.
  • For furloughed employees, nothing changes in that they will continue to receive 80% of their salary.
  • However, employers will now be asked to contribute towards furloughed staff salaries.
What we don’t know yet:
Detailed guidance is expected before the end of May – Keep an eye out on this post for updates.
This will include :
  • What percentage of the furlough cost will the employer contribute?
  • Will this be voluntary or mandatory?
  • How will the part-time furlough rules operate?
  • Will employers in different trades have to contribute differing amounts as most businesses will not be allowed to “re-open” at the same time?

Update as at 04/05/2020

1. Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
Following from 28/04/2020 ‘bounce back loan’

  • Scheme is now open for applications
  • Fixed 2.5% interest payable after first 12 months
  • No personal guarentee required
  • If you have an approved CBILS Loan, you cannot apply for this as well
  • Early repayment is permitted at any stage, no repayment fees charged
  • If struggling to pay the loan after 1 year, alert your bank, standard procedures have been set in place
  • The Scheme is open to most UK businesses, regardless of turnover, who self-declare they meet the eligibility criteria

To view our designated BBLS blog updates, click here
For further information and FAQs, click here


Update as at 28/04/2020

1. Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000

  • The government will guarantee 100% of the loan
  • No fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
  • Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
  • No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme will launch on 4 May 2020.

More information about the scheme will be published shortly.


Update as at 20/04/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Job Retention Scheme is now open for submissions.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

You can now claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This scheme will be open until the end of June 2020.

After you’ve made a claim:

  • keep a note or a print-out of your claim reference number – you won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email.
  • retain all records and calculations for your claims, in case HMRC need to contact you about them.
  • expect to receive the funds six working days after you apply, provided your claim matches records that HMRC hold for your PAYE scheme.
  • to receive payment by 30‌‌ April, you will need to complete an application by 22‌‌ April

Update as at 17/04/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Further to point 1 as at 08/04/2020.

-The scheme has been extended from May 2020 to June 2020 (an extra month of employee furlough)

– Employees on the payoll prior to 19th March are now also eligible to be furloughed (not just employees that started prior to 28th Feb).

– A director who is furloughed can only undertake work to fulfil a duty or other obligation arising from an Act of Parliament relating to the filing of company’s accounts or provision of other information relating to the administration of the director’s company.  This is a very narrow interpretation of directors’ duties.

-To claim furlough, the employer and employee must have agreed in writing that the employee will cease all work.  This is significant; the guidance only required notification.  The Direction from the Treasury requires written agreement.


Update as at 15/04/2020

1. Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Further to point 2 on the 26/03/2020

-HMRC plans to contact self-employed individuals by mid-May if you are entitled to a grant under the scheme. HMRC still anticipates this will be paid in early June.

-Losses arising in the years 2016/17 to 2018/19 are deducted from profits before calculating the average profits for the purposes of the grant.

-If you have run more than one business in a year, those profits/losses should be added together as appropriate, to calculate the figure to use for each tax year.

2. Current Bank Loans 

Banks and lenders are expected to offer small businesses and individuals a temporary payment freeze on loans and credit cards for up to three months for those who have been impacted by coronavirus.

RBS, HSBC, Barclays Lloyds, Santander and Nationwide have all said they will be offering payment freezes from 14th April.


Update as at 08/04/2020

1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Further to point 4 under the ‘Dealing with Staff’ section and further to the update on the 3rd April.

-There is a 3 week minimum furlough period, it must be a continuous period. Employees can be brought in and out of furlough as long as the periods are greater than 3 weeks.

-You should only use the furlough arrangements where there is reasonable likelihood of rehiring workers.

-Foreign nationals can participate if on a UK PAYE scheme.

-Employees on maternity leave and some other statutory leaves may be furloughed. Those on unpaid leave may not be furloughed if the leave began before 1st March 2020.

-HMRC may audit claims for up to a minimum of 5 years.

-The JRS reclaim portal is planned to go ‘live’ from the 20th April


Update as at 03/04/2020

1.Business Interruption Loan Scheme (BILS)
Further to point 4 under the ‘Business Funding’ section and the 24/03/20 update below;

The BILS programme is being extended so all viable small businesses affected, not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible for a loan should they need finance to keep operating.

Lenders have also been stopped from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.

The British Business Bank says that businesses that meet the following conditions must be considered for CBILS:

-Be UK-based in its business activity
-Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million, of which more than 50 per cent is generated through trading activities
-Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic
-Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/cbils-faqs-for-smes/

2.Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Further to point 4 under the ‘Dealing with Staff’ section

Employees who have started a new job after the 28 February 2020 will not be able to benefit from the scheme.

Employers can re-hire staff that have already been made redundant and still claim the subsidy. This does not apply if staff left voluntarily.


Update as at 31/03/2020

1. Directors of Companies

Company directors that receive salaries through PAYE can be furloughed and apply for a grant of 80% of their salary.

Individuals who are directors of their own family companies and who are themselves paid via PAYE should be eligible for the coronavirus job retention scheme, although the same rules will apply as to other businesses and their employees. i.e. no work on the business should be undertaken.

Furloughed employees must not perform any work for the employing business –Depending on the size and needs of the company, it may be possible to furlough one or more directors.

A director can furlough and continue with their statutory duties. However, references to these duties only mention certain compliance activities such as filing accounts.

Directors paid a nominal salary but receiving the bulk of their reward through dividends would only receive 80% of the nominal salary (if they qualify). Payment-by-dividends is not supported by the scheme.

Full details on how the amount of the grant will be calculated for these individuals have yet to be released.


Update as at 26/03/2020

1. Company Accounts Filing Deadline Extension
Companies House are allowing Limited Companies to extend their filing deadline by 3 months. An application has to be made for the extension and the application must be submitted before you filing deadline.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-more-time-to-file-your-companys-accounts

Companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may not be eligible for an extension.

2. Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Proposed statutory self-employment pay which would cover the lower of £2,500 or 80 per cent of a self-employed person’s monthly earnings, averaged over the last three years.

The scheme is open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000. It will only be available to those who make the majority of their income from self-employment and who filed a tax return for 2019.

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 qualify for SEISS.

Claims will be paid out from June directly into your bank account, in one instalment. In the mean time, universal credit can be claimed and paid out a lot quicker.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

Further information

3. Update on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Further to point 4 under the ‘Dealing with staff’ section below

Employers can 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.


Update as at 24/03/2020

1. Businesses in rented properties
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction;

No business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months.

Commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period, the Government is also actively monitoring the impact on commercial landlords’ cash flow and continues to be in dialogue with them.

2. Business Interruption Loan Scheme (BILS)
Further to point 4 under the ‘Business Funding’ section below

Banks have stated they will only provide these loans as a last resort if all other avenues of funding have been exhausted along with the current business rates grant on offer and if the Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme is not enough to help you through this period.

 


Update as at 23/03/2020

Dealing with staff

1. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
Reclaim of SSP for Covid19 = 2 weeks per employee
Eligible if less than 250 employees // Doesn’t require doctors certificate
Rebate access tbc

2. Staff into teams wherever possible so that key functions are covered in each team(s); Separate teams not to meet physically to preserve at least one team if virus spreads amongst staff;

3. Staff payment policy on working from home and SSP to be made clear;

4. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Employers able to reclaim 80% of staff salaries up to £2,500 per month. Staff must be ‘furloughed’. Redundancies not included. 3 month initial period backdated to 1st March 2020.

All UK businesses are eligible.

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 are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

Business Funding

1. Business rates holiday
Reclaim if in Retail / Hospitality / Leisure, Rebate automatically when rates bills come out

2. Cash grants retail/hospitality & leisure
£25,000 grant where rateable value is between £15,000 & £51,000
Claim from local authority – more information to be provided

3. Cash grants retail/hospitality & leisure
£10,000 one off grant to those businesses that don’t pay rates
Eligible rateable value less than £15,000
No need to apply // Local Authority will contact business

4. Business Interruption Loan Scheme (BILS)

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims). 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 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.

Eligibility:

-Business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
-Your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

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

The scheme will be available from week commencing 23 March 2020.

Access via https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

5. Time to Pay services
Eligibility – Outstanding tax liabilities due to Co-Vid19 disruption
HMRC dedicated helpline 0800 0159 559

6. VAT payment Deferral
VAT payments deferred for 3 months to 30 June. This is automatic and no application required and repay by March 2021 • VAT refunds paid as normal

7. Corporation Tax – do not pay as loss relief / time to pay arrangements available; If making a loss this year then don’t pay corporation tax for last year;

8. Equipment leasing – request repayment holiday;

9. Business interruption insurance – are you covered ? Usually excludes Pandemics;

10. Rental holiday – Rent free or pay 1 month at a time (instead of quarterly in advance). Claim from landlord.

11. Utilities providers : Claim for holiday on energy bills;

12. Debt Collection priority – Review credit terms; service / goods without payment on account;

13. Co-Directors / Shareholders of SME’s – to discuss salary / dividends reductions with each other;

14. Cash flow retention : Review discretionary costs such as Directors pension contributions // Marketing costs //

Self Employed/Individuals

1. All payments on accounts due by 31st July 2020 have now been deferred to 31st January 2021.

2. Personal Mortgage holiday.
3 month payment holidays offered to Help to Buy equity loans, Buy to Let mortgages and Residential mortgages
-It is important to remember that you still owe the amounts that you don’t pay as a result of the payment holiday. Interest will continue to be charged on the amount owed.
-Taking a payment holiday will not impact your credit score.

3. Universal Credit
Can be accessed in full at rates equivalent to statutory sick pay

Useful HMRC websites

Business Support

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Guide for Employers

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

Guide for Employees

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

General Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-individuals-and-businesses-in-scotland

As always, if you wish to discuss any of the items above, or simply for a sane voice to talk through your situation, we are all working from home so feel free to call us.

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