Covid-19 Business Update 1 – Thursday 19th March 2020
As the outbreak of the coronavirus continues to evolve, our priority is to assist our clients with relevant information on the impact of the virus on your business.
Although some of the information is limited, we will try to update you with on-going developments at the earliest opportunity.
This is a summary of key support measures and other notable changes that have been released via gov.uk.
Small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) will be able to claim for a one-off grant of £10,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs.
This will help around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief.
This grant only applies to businesses in England.
If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority, you do not need to apply.
Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April.
The government will introduce a business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to your local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March 2020.
Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch week commencing 23rd March 2020 to support primarily small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
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 6 months of that finance interest free, as the government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
Further details, including the lenders providing access to this scheme will be announced in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from early week commencing 23 March 2020.
Paying Taxes (Corporation Tax, VAT, Self-assessment, PAYE, CIS)
Time to pay arrangements for payment of taxes will be agreed on a case by case basis by HMRC and will be tailored to the individual circumstances and liabilities.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your taxes, please contact us as soon as possible in order for us to be able to assist you in this matter.
Private and social renters
Anyone, affected by coronavirus will be protected from eviction for three months in emergency legislation is to be passed by the government as soon as possible.
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered for COVID-19.
Insurance policies differ significantly, therefore we encourage you to check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and contact your providers.
Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
Support for Paying Sick Pay to Employees
Small and medium-sized businesses employers can now 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 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19, this will be effective from day one of the sick period
• employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible
• employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
• the repayment mechanism for this is still being set up and we expect more information to follow
Changes to Staff Work Patterns due to Temporary Loss of Business
There is employment law in place that gives employers some flexibility to manage staff hours during periods of temporary reduction in business.
As accountants, HR and Employment Law is not an area that we are qualified or insured to give advice on, however we are aware that information on this area will be useful to you and we are looking into it.
IR35 – April 2020 Changes to Off-Payroll Working for Clients – Deferral
Following our communication to you on 3 March 2020 with regards to the new changes to off-payroll working for clients coming into fruition from 6 April 2020, please be informed this has now being deferred for 12 months.Return to our Dedicated Page for Covid-19 Client Updates