I hope you are well and washing those hands regularly.
In light of the ever-changing situation around Covid-19, we wanted to share with you what support and help there is available.
We’re happy to support our clients on a case by case basis without charging. So, for example, if you are in an industry that has been severely affected already (for example travel, tourism, hospitality, plumbing and heating) we’d be delighted to help with business development over the phone or just act as a sounding board. Please let us know if you need any support like this and we can chat it through.
Talking to several clients this week it is clear that some are already experiencing cancelled orders/events/contracts, supply chain issues and some challenges with cashflow.
Recommended actions you can take if you foresee experiencing some challenges with your cashflow:
Review Your Overheads
If you are predicting cashflow difficulties it is sensible to review your overheads in the business and pause any spending, you feel may not be necessary at this time.
The first thing to do is categorise expenditure (both personal and business) into “essential” and “nice to have”. Once you have those numbers you can better appraise your situation and we can support you further with short term cash flow forecasts.
Contact Your Bank
Contact your bank, either your dedicated manager if you have one or your business call centre, to discuss your options should you need a new or increased overdraft limit, asset finance, credit cards or other forms of temporary finance.
Other Potential Funding Sources
Please note these are only a few of the options available to you and these do not form a recommendation :-
In the Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that a ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ (CBILS) will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), becoming available over the coming weeks.
It will operate in a similar way to EFG and be provided by the British Business Bank, but will offer more attractive terms for both businesses and lenders, with the aim of supporting the continued provision of finance to UK businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.
As it stands, we do not know any more than this. More information will be available in the coming days and weeks, please click on the link below for updated advice:
HMRC and the Payment of Tax
HMRC have launched a helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Again, this appears to be a “work in progress”. You will find more details below, but if you have any concerns about making payment to the tax authorities please call us immediately for support.
Official Guidance for Employers
For HMRC’s guidance for employers, please follow the link below:
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Support
To support businesses experiencing increases in costs or financial disruptions, the Government will bring forward legislation to allow 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 two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers with more than 250 employees will not be eligible
- The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020. 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, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
- The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
The information above has been taken from the following source:
We have also attached a word document giving further information.
Again, it is unclear how this will be organised and how quickly the payroll software will catch up with the situation.
They have given our specialist details of the deferment procedure, the situation is very fluid and so could change. If you have are having financial difficulties due to the coronavirus then you can apply for a deferment of VAT. Currently they are not checking the validity of any information received.
The HMRC telephone number is 0300 200 3853. You will need the following information to hand:
- VAT number
- Date of VAT registration
- Details of the last VAT returns box 5 figure.
- Name address and postcode of the business.
You will then need to explain that your income has been severely depleted/ceased due to the Coronavirus and that you will not be able to pay their VAT debt/liability. Ask for a deferment of 3 months and when this is agreed you will need to cancel their DD if one is set up. HMRC will not chase the debt if this action has been completed but if no action has been taken then they will proceed as normal.
The specialist unit hasn’t yet been set up yet so any calls on the specialist number are just going through to the normal teams. They are very short-staffed.
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support from HMRC through the Time To Pay arrangement. This will be viewed on a case by case basis. HMRC’s dedicated helpline number is 0800 0159 559.
Other tax options which Together We Count Limited will consider maybe now or if this crisis continues for your business is:
- De-register for VAT
- Make a claim to reduce your payments on account.
- If you have a 31st March/5th April yearend we will look to see if it will help with your cash flow by changing the year-end and bringing forward overlap relief.
- For the self-employed, if there is a loss situation? Can this loss be utilised by setting off against other income in the year or can it be carried back up to 3 years and trigger off a refund? We can discuss this
- We will exhaust areas such as R&D/patent box relief and capital allowances claims for you.
IR35 Private Sector
The Government have announced that they are now delaying the rolling out of the new private sector IR35 regime until 1st April 2021.
This could release those large companies who have not yet or are in the throes of issuing Status Determinations from having to do so.
Assuming there are contracts still to be fulfilled or entered into, it may enable your PSC clients to continue to run these contracts through their existing vehicle. Of course, in theory, the existing IR35 rules could still catch them out. It may cause some businesses to delay going into umbrella companies, if that was the option they were considering.
Those employees who follow the Government advice on self-isolating and have to stay at home and cannot work as a result, will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day 1 even if they are themselves sick.
Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than the average of £118 per week, some working in the gig economy, or self-employed, the Government state they may be able to claim Universal credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance. If someone needs money urgently due to the COVID-19 crisis they can apply for an advance.
SME businesses (fewer than 250 employees) will be refunded up to 2 weeks SSP for eligible employees who have been off work due to COVID-19. The Government will be working with employers to set up a suitable repayment mechanism.
There is a 12-month business rate retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the 2020/21 tax year in England. A £25,000 grant will be provided for these businesses operating from small premises with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000. There will be additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR) by way of a grant of £10,000.
In Scotland, the present situation is that there are 75% rates reliefs for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of £61,000 or less plus a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of £100,000 or less.
Businesses in Northern Ireland will not have to pay rates for the next 3 months and household rate bills will be deferred from April until June.
In Wales, retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% non-domestic relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £10,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction in their bill.
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closures should now be covered, on the grounds that the government and the insurance industry have confirmed the advice given on 17th March would make the claim valid. Businesses should check to see if their insurance policy covers this as many will not.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This will be launched next week by the British Business Bank to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders the confidence to continue to provide finance for SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee. Businesses can access the first 6 months of this finance interest-free.
Those affected by COVID-19 will be able to have a 3 month mortgage holiday. Lenders should be approached on this matter if you are affected.
Further announcements are likely regarding school closure, further help for the self-employed and protection for those tenants in private rented accommodation.
Quite a number of our clients at Together We Count Limited already run their payrolls through our payroll bureau. As these are difficult times, our payroll team currently have spare capacity, if any clients struggle to run a payroll due to the COVID-19 situation we are happy to run it during this difficult period. This will always be subject to spare capacity. This would be based upon the normal fees we charge. If that is of some help to you please drop me a line for a quote.
We are more than happy to discuss your individual circumstances and advise on the best way forward.
We appreciate these are unprecedented and challenging times to be in business and we all face a period of uncertainty. No one can predict the future but we believe we can all pull together as businesses and support each other.
We are here to help you. If you need a sounding board, some advice or a steer in the right direction, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
With a potential self-isolation around the corner I intend to do a daily video to ensure that your isolation time is as productive as possible.