Government support for small and medium-sized businesses, and the self-employed.
We keep this article to date with the latest updates on government support or issues that affect the self-employed as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.
Not sure what COVID-19 support is still available for small businesses and the self-employed? Fear not – Crunch’s Jake Smith and Michael Awuye explain it all in this jargon-free webinar (above). The PDF slides are available here.
Announcements by the government
(Jump to the relevant section)
If you deferred VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can: have the choice to:
– Pay the deferred VAT in full, on or before 31st March 2021 or
– Join the VAT deferral new payment scheme – the online service is open between 23rd February and 21st June 2021 or
– Contact HMRC by phone: 0800 024 1222 by 30th June if you need extra help to pay
27th January 2021 – Northern Irish Minister for the Economy announces Limited Company Director’s Support Scheme which will offer an initial one-off taxable grant to eligible company directors that meet the criteria in Northern Ireland, applications must be made by 6pm Thursday 18th February 2021
5th January 2021 – As a result of lockdown 3, the Chancellor announces additional support through lockdown grants to many businesses in retail, hospitality, and leisure
17th December 2020 – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Furlough to be extended to end of April 2021 at the current 80% support level, and business loan schemes both have deadlines extended to end March 2021
3rd December 2020 – Northern Irish Minister for the Economy announces Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme which will offer an initial one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to newly self-employed individuals (sole traders and those in partnerships) that meet the criteria in Northern Ireland, applications must be made by 6pm Friday 19th February
1st December 2020 – Prime Minister announces £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’
5th November 2020 – Chancellor Sunak announces new extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will remain open until 31st March 2021 and that the 80% cover for usual salary or self-employed profits capped at £2,500 per month will be in place until January 2021 when the level of support will be reviewed. Plus further changes to other support including mortgage payment relief.
2nd November 2020 – Government announces increased support for the self-employed through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
31st October 2020 – As a result of the second lockdown announced for England, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked
22nd October – Plan for jobs: Chancellor increases financial support for businesses and workers
9th October – Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces there will be further support added to the Job Retention Scheme for businesses asked to close as a result of the second wave of Covid restrictions.
2nd October 2020 – Government announces that the last day for making or amending any existing claims for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be 30th November 2020. This covers claims for periods ending on or before 31st October 2020. See our CJRS guide for employers
4th May 2020 Self-employment Income Support Scheme eligibility checker launched
27th April 2020 Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme launched – loans of up to £50,000 to small and medium-sized UK businesses, interest and fee-free for the first 12-months applications accepted from 4th May.
20th March 2020: (Job retention scheme, 80% employee wages promise, deferral of income tax and VAT payments, SSP relief and update to loan scheme)
17th March 2020: (£330bn support package, Mortgage payment holiday, help for renters and Buy-to-Let landlords, changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees, and Employment Support Allowance and Universal credit changes)
HMRC advice about scams
With the wide range of support available from the government, HMRC is asking everyone to be vigilant about potential scams. HMRC is aware many scams can appear to be authentic.
If you’re unsure whether any contact you receive from HMRC is genuine, please go to the government’s website GOV.UK and search ‘scams’. You’ll find information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599.
27th January 2021 – Northern Irish Minister for the Economy announces Limited Company Director’s Support Scheme
A Limited Company Director’s Support Scheme (LCDSS) has been introduced to support company directors in Northern Ireland who have been adversely impacted by Covid-19 . The scheme is not available anywhere else in the UK. The scheme opened on Thursday 21st January 2021 and will be closing on Thursday 18th February 2021 at 6pm, paying an initial one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to company directors in Northern Ireland that meet the eligibility criteria. If you hold more than one directorship, you can only make one application.
The LCDSS scheme is only open to limited company directors who are resident in Northern Ireland and the company/companies are based and operating from Northern Ireland.
5th January 2021 – New lockdown grants for many businesses announced
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new lockdown grants for many businesses. The details are available on Gov.uk, Highlights are:
Chancellor announces one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring
£594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses
comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme
This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4th January 2021 that these businesses will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control the virus, and, together with the wide range of existing support, provides them with certainty through the Spring period.
The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.
17th December 2020 – Furlough extended for a further month and Covid-19 loan scheme deadlines extended
The Chancellor announced that the furlough support from the government – the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would be extended until the 30th April 2020. Rishi Sunak said the government would continue to pay up to 80% of the wages of workers who have been furloughed and is intended to provide “certainty millions of jobs and businesses”.
The Bounce Back Loan scheme (BBL) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) were also extended and businesses will be able to apply for a new loan or a top up loan up until the end of March 2021. Full details in our CJRS guide and our BBL guide.
The Northern Irish Minister for the Economy, Dianne Dodds, announced the Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme, which will offer an initial one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to newly self-employed individuals in Northern Ireland (sole traders and those in partnerships) that meet the eligibility criteria.
The scheme opened on 3rd December 2020 and will close to applications at 6 pm, Friday 19th February. The scheme is aimed at individuals who have not been able to claim on the UK-wide SEISS scheme as they had not started their business in time. Eligibility criteria for the NSESS scheme in Northern Ireland are similar to the UK-wide SEISS scheme. Full details, including a link to apply, are available on the NIBusinessInfo website.
The NSESS scheme is only open to sole traders or individual members of a partnership business operating in Northern Ireland.
1st December 2020- Prime Minister announces £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’
The Prime Minister announced extra support for pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than food through festive period
One-off £1,000 grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ across tiers 2 and 3 in lieu of Christmas trade
additional government support for traditional busy Christmas period
businesses can apply in addition to existing £3,000 support
The payment will be a one-off for December and will be paid on top on the existing £3,000 monthly cash grants for businesses. This will cover those in tiers 2 and 3 forced to reduce their operations as a result of the latest regional measures put in place to contain transmission of the virus.
Eligible wet-led pubs across these tiers are invited to apply through their local authority who will be responsible for distributing the grants. The payment will be made once per business for the month of December only. Further details on Gov.uk.
The extended CJRS will remain open until 31st March 2021 and that the 80% cover for usual salary capped at £2,500 per month will be in place until January 2021 when the level of support will be reviewed. further details in our CJRS guide.
Claims for the extended CJRS can be made from 11th November 2020, claims for the month of November must be submitted before 14th December 2020. Subsequent months must all be submitted by the 14th of the following month.
If a business has made employees redundant since 23rd September 2020 they can be re-employed and furloughed.
The extended SEISS support for the third taxable grant covering the three month period from 1st November 2020 until 31st January 2021 period has now been increased to 80% of three months average trading profits capped at £7,500. Claims can be made from 30th November 2020. Further details in our SEISS guide.
The government had previously announced that there would be a £1,000 Job Retention Bonus available to employers in February 2021. This scheme has now been suspended due to the extension of the CJRS. The government has said they will not pay the Job Retention Bonus in February 2021 but instead redeploy a retention incentive at the right time.
The deadline for applying for a Bounce Back Loans has been extended to 31st January 2021 and those who have borrowed less than the maximum can top up their loan if they need to.
Backdated cash grants for those in hospitality, leisure and accommodation if they were in Tier 2 or 3 between 1st August 2020 to 5th November 2020.
Mortgage holiday – if you have never used it, you can claim up to 6 months mortgage holiday from your lender. If you have previously used it, you can top up to 6 months.
Payment holidays for personal loans and car finance – 6 months entitlement.
Universal Credit standard allowance has increased by £20 per week until 31st March 2021.
2nd November 2020 Increased support for self-employed through the SEISS scheme.
The government announced that due to the lockdown the third grant for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) would be increased to 80% of profits instead of the 40% previously announced for November and the payment date would be brought forward.
As SEISS grants are calculated over three months, the uplift for November to 80 per cent, along with the 40 per cent level of trading profits for December and January, increases the total level of the third grant to 55 per cent of trading profits. The maximum grant will increase to £5,160.
And to ensure those who need support get it as soon as possible, payments will also be made more quickly with the claims window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November. More details of the scheme are in our SEISS article.
31 October As a result of the second lockdown announced for England, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.
The government announced a further lockdown in England from 5th November to at least 2nd December with most non-essential businesses forced to close. As a result, the government will be extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The scheme will now remain open for claims until December 2020 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the CJRS extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which was due to end on 31st October today. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.
There will be additional support for business with premises in England who are forced to close. Eligible businesses are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.
To give homeowners peace of mind too, mortgage holidays will be extended beyond 31st October. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to increase this to six months with no adverse impact on their credit rating.
Businesses with premises required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
For properties with a rateable value of between £15,000 and 51,000 grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
For properties with a rateable value of over £51,000 or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
Business grant policy is fully devolved. Devolved Administrations will receive Barnett consequentials which they could use to establish similar schemes.
Job Support Scheme expanded for business in tier 2 and tier 3 areas and update to Self Employed Income Support scheme.
On 22nd October 2020, the Chancellor announced a “Plan for Jobs” which included a further expansion of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to cover businesses that remain open,
The announcement reduces the employer contribution required for any hours an employee does not work to just 5%, and reduces the minimum hours that an employee is required to work to just 20% of normal hours (down from 33%), so those working just one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer will pay wages of £44.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an extension to the Job Support Scheme from 1st November 2020. The changes will see eligible employers in Tier 3 areas who are legally required to close their businesses this winter, to claim up to two-thirds of their employees’ wages up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. They will only need to pay any Employer’s NI or auto-enrolment pension contributions.
There will also be grants available to many businesses based on the rateable value of their business premises. We will publish further details as they are confirmed. The video in the tweet above contains an explanation from the chancellor. We explain these announcements further in our “Winter Economy Plan” Knowledge article.
Crunch’s guide to the new government Job Support Scheme
On 24th September 2020, the government announced a new Job Support Scheme to replace the outgoing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The new scheme will be introduced from 1st November 2020 and is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.
The new scheme is not a direct replacement for the CJRS. Employers will continue to pay an employee for time worked, but the costs of hours not worked will be split between the employer and the government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction). Importantly, the employee will keep their job.
Crunch has prepared a guide with more information about the Job Support Scheme, who is eligible and with worked examples of the financial impact on employers and employees.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces Winter Economy Plan
On 24th September 2020, the Chancellor announced the government’s Winter Economy Plan to support businesses over the coming months as the UK deals with the unprecedented economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. As with previous government announcements, further details are awaited on the implementation of the Plan, which includes the following measures:
Businesses will have more time to pay their VAT bills. Rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end of March 2021, they will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year.
Self Assessment taxpayers with payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to pay until January 2022.
Companies House to resume the compulsory strike-off process
The temporary measure to suspend compulsory strike-off action will be lifted from 10th October 2020. From this date, Companies House are resuming the process to remove a company from the register if there’s reasonable cause to believe it’s no longer carrying on business or in operation. For example, if:
company documents are outstanding, and Companies House had no response to their letters
letters sent by Companies House are returned undelivered
a company has no directors.
Companies that do not file their annual accounts or confirmation statement will normally receive two letters from Companies House. A notice is then published in the Gazette to tell the public that the registrar intends to strike off the company.
When compulsory strike-off action resumes from 10th October – if there are no objections to dissolution and the two month period from the publication of the Gazette notice has expired, your company will be struck off shortly afterwards.
From 1st October Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) changes mean HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work
If your company’s employees are furloughed, you should continue to pay at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Employers will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant themselves. Your company will also continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions from its own funds.
If you have claimed too much CJRS in error
It’s important that you continue to check each claim is accurate before submitting it, and we would also recommend checking previous claims to avoid any penalties for claiming too much.
If your company has claimed too much CJRS grant and you have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC immediately and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:
90 days from receiving the CJRS money you or your client are not entitled to
90 days from the point circumstances changed so that you or your client were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
20th October 2020, if on or before 22nd July you or your client received CJRS money you’re not entitled to, or if circumstances changed.
You can let HMRC know as part of your next online claim without needing to call – the system will prompt you to add details if you have received too much. If you have claimed too much and do not plan to submit further claims, you can let HMRC know and find out how to make a repayment online. Go to ‘Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back‘ on GOV.UK.
HMRC understands mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times, and will not seek out innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action.
Claim your second Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant if you are eligible
The second Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant for eligible people opened for claims on 17th August 2020. If you are eligible for a second payment, HMRC will send you a date to make a claim. You can claim any time between your allocated date and 19th October 2020.
The eligibility criteria for the second grant is the same as the first grant – so self-employed people who were eligible for the first SEISS grant will be eligible for the second, so long as their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) since 14th July 2020. This typically means your business has experienced lower income and / or higher costs because of COVID-19 since 14th July. There is no minimum threshold over which a business’s income, costs or activity need to be changed by, but you must keep appropriate records as evidence of how your business has been adversely affected. For instance, you should keep records of how your income has reduced compared to the previous year, an increase in bad debts or a reduction in the number clients your business can serve.
The second taxable grant is worth 70% of your businesses average monthly trading profits, a reduction from the 80% available under the first grant. This will be paid out in a single instalment and will be based on three months’ worth of trading profits and capped at a maximum of £6,570.
Self-employed parents whose income may have been affected if they took time out to have children will also now be able to claim if they meet the eligibility criteria. There’s more information for new parents, including an online form on GOV.UK.
Crunch cannot make an SEISS claim on your behalf. This is because it will trigger an alert and that leads to delays in payment reaching people who need the money to support their business.
If you can apply online, this is the quickest and easiest way to claim. It takes most people less than 5 minutes to claim online using their Government Gateway account.
Job Retention Bonus – one-off payment of £1,000 and other reminders about CJRS
Further details of how jobs will be protected through the government’s new Job Retention Bonus have been announced.
Employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee they have previously received a grant for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and who remains continuously employed until 31st January 2021.
To be eligible, the employee must have received earnings in November, December and January, and must have been paid an average of at least £520 per month, and a total of at least £1,560 across the three months.
Employers will be able to claim the bonus after PAYE information for January 2021 has been filed with HMRC. The bonus will be paid from February 2021. More detailed guidance, including how employers can claim the bonus online will be available by the end of September.
What you need to do now
If you intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus, you must:
ensure all employee records are up to date
accurately report employees’ details and wages on the Full Payment Submission (FPS) through the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system
make sure all of your CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told HMRC about any changes needed (for example if you’ve received too much or too little).
Reminder of changes to CJRS from 1st August 2020
From 1st August 2020, CJRS continues to provide grants for furloughed employees but no longer funds employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions. Employers now have to make these payments from their own resources for all employees, whether furloughed or not. Our guidance has been updated to reflect these changes. Additional contributions will be required from employers until the scheme ends on 31st October 2020. Please see our Updated guidance to claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Claimed too much CJRS in error?
If you have claimed too much for a CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC immediately and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:
90 days after receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
90 days from when circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
20th October 2020 if you received CJRS money you’re not entitled to, or if your circumstances changed on or before 22nd July.
How to let HMRC know about claiming too much
If you have received more than you are entitled to, you can let HMRC know as part of your next online claim. The online system will prompt you to add details on if you have received too much. More information about this has been published by HMRC online.
If you’ve previously filed an application to strike-off your company using Form DS01, then, on 10th September, Companies House will restart the process of removing your company from the register.
You may have received a letter from Companies House stating your company will be struck off within two months if no objections are received, but your company is still listed on the Companies House register. The strike-off action may have been suspended because an objection was made to the strike-off or because of the temporary suspension introduced by Companies House.
When voluntary strike-off action restarts from 10th September – if there are no objections to the dissolution of the company, and the two month period from the publication of the Gazette notice has expired, your company will be struck off shortly afterwards. If an objection has been made Companies House will follow its normal processes.
The compulsory strike-off process is still paused.
Temporary changes to Companies House filing requirements
The government have announced temporary changes to the deadlines for filing information about your limited company with Companies House. This means, if you require it, you will have more time to file certain information. The full announcement and guidance can be found here.
We’ve pulled together the relevant announcements affecting private limited companies below.
HMRC announced that from 27th June, companies will have an extension to their statutory accounts filing deadline. The filing deadline is extended if it falls between 27th June 2020 and 5th April 2021 (including these dates).
If you’re a Crunch client, we will continue to send you reminders that your accounts are due to be filed with Companies House. We recommend you continue to file your accounts at Companies House within nine months of your company’s accounting period end date.
Importantly, the government has not announced any extension to the deadline for paying your company’s Corporation Tax – which remains at nine months and one day after your company’s accounting period end date. You will need your accounts to be prepared to know how much tax you will need to pay to HMRC.
If your company’s filing deadline falls between 27th June 2020 and 5th April 2021, and you feel it is necessary to take advantage of the extension announced by the government, please contact your client managers and they will discuss this with you in more detail.
Limited companies will get more time to file their Confirmation Statement. The current 14-day deadline (from the end of the review period) has been extended to 42 days. The extension is automatic.
Crunch will continue to file your company’s confirmation statement in the usual way.
Limited companies have more time to file details of certain company events. This includes where a company is required to update its records before filing a confirmation statement as well as changes to details of directors, information on people with significant control (PSC) and company secretaries. You can find out more about the PSC Register a company has to keep up to date.
The period allowed to submit details about an event increases to 42 days.
If you’re a Crunch client, you should continue to contact Crunch about any changes you wish to make to your company’s details.
Next year’s filing deadline
All of the above are temporary measures. The filing deadline extension will not apply where the deadline for the filing falls on 6th April 2021 or later.
The VAT deferral scheme ends on 30th June – you must restart your direct debit to ensure payments reach HMRC
The temporary changes made by the government to allow the deferral of VAT payments due between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 are due to end on 30th June. This means you will need to restart your VAT direct debit and pay any VAT due from 1st July 2020 as normal. You have until 31st March 2021 to pay the amount of VAT you deferred.
Where a business paid its VAT liability to HMRC using a direct debit, we advised these should be stopped to ensure HMRC didn’t try to take a payment you wished to defer.
We recommend you take action now to allow sufficient time to restart your direct debit.
You can only restart your direct debit using your business Government Gateway account. Crunch cannot restart your direct debit on your behalf.
Updated guidance to claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
The government announced important changes to the CJRS on 29th May. The updated guidance, which was published by the government on 12th June, provides details on how the changes will affect any CJRS claim you make from 1st July. Importantly, from 1st August 2020, you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages.
We provided information about these changes in an update we published on 29th May. We recommend you refer to this information before reading the following update.
What you need to do now:
read the information below to see how changes to the scheme impact you, using HMRC’s calculator to understand how much you’ll be able to claim
consider which employees you want to keep on full-time furlough and which employees will come back to work – on what hours – to agree arrangements with them as needed for your business.
What you need to do from July:
start your flexible furloughing of employees from 1st July onwards. You can decide the hours and shift patterns they work to suit the needs of your business – you’ll pay their wages for the time they’re in work and can apply for a CJRS grant to cover any of their usual hours they are still furloughed for. You can still keep employees on full furlough if you need to
claim for periods ending on or before 30th June, by 31st July – this is the last date you can make those claims
claim for further furlough periods as needed – the first time you will be able to make a claim for days in July will be 1st July.
Summary of updated HMRC guidance for CJRS as at 12th June 2020
HMRC published information on 12th June to help you make a claim under the new rules. If you’ve previously used the scheme or already worked out how much you can claim, you can continue to claim for wages online.
The steps you will need to take to make a claim under the new rules are shown below.
Step 1: Check if you can claim on CJRS
You can claim for any employees you have furloughed if you have:
furloughed that employee for at least three consecutive weeks between 1st March and 30th June 2020
a UK PAYE scheme which started on or before 19th March 2020
enrolled for PAYE online
submitted a report under HMRC’s Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system for that employee on or before 19th March 2020
a UK bank account.
For employees that meet the criteria above, the number of employees you claim for in any single claim period starting from 1st July cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending by 30th June.
For example, if you previously submitted three claims between 1st March and 30th June, in which the total number of employees furloughed in each respective claim was 3, 1 and 5 employees, then the maximum number of employees the employer could furlough in any single claim starting on or after 1st July would be 5 employees.
You can only claim for furloughed employees that were employed on 19th March 2020 and who were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19th March 2020. This means a Real-Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19th March 2020.
From 1st July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked. From 1st July, only employees that you have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme. This means they must have previously been furloughed for at least three consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1st March and 30th June 2020.
If you made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 28th February 2020
If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 28th February 2020, you would have been eligible to re-employ them and put them on furlough as long as you did this by 10th June. You can claim for their wages from the date on which you furloughed them, even if you did not re-employ them until after 19th March 2020. This applies as long as the employee was on your PAYE payroll as at 28th February 2020, which means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 28th February 2020.
If you made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 19th March 2020
If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 19th March 2020, you would have been eligible to re-employ them and put them on furlough as long as you did this by 10th June. You can claim for their wages through the scheme from the date on which you furloughed them.
This applies as long as the employee was on your PAYE payroll on or before 19th March 2020. This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19th March 2020.
Step 3: Before calculating your claim
Before you calculate your claim, you will need to:
Decide the length of your claim period
Know what to include when calculating wages
Work out your employee’s usual hours and furloughed hours
Before 1st July 2020, employees on furlough cannot undertake any work other than training. From 1st July, employers will:
only be able to claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least three consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1st March 2020 and 30th June
be able to flexibly furlough employees – this means you can bring your employees back to work for any amount of time, and any work pattern
still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period.
From 1st July, furloughed employees should continue to receive 80% of their wages up to £2,500 per month. However, the amount of grant paid by the government is gradually being reduced, with the employer paying Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs), auto-enrolment pension contributions and part of the employees’ wages, as shown in the following table.
Employer NICs and pension contributions
80% up tp £2,500
80% up tp £2,500
70% up tp £2,500
60% up tp £2,500
Employer NICs and pension contributions
10% up to £312.50
20% up to £625
80% per month up to £2,500 per month
Employers can continue to top up employees’ wages above the minimum furlough pay amount but this is not mandatory. Employees must not work or provide any services for the business during hours which they are recorded as being on furlough, even if they receive a top-up wage.
HMRC CJRS calculator
HMRC’s CJRS calculator can currently be used to work out what you can claim for in a claim ending on or before 30th June. It can be used for most employees who are paid either regular or variable amounts each pay period (for example, weekly or monthly).
If you are claiming for an employee who is flexibly furloughed, you will need to work out their usual hours before you use the calculator.
Examples of how to calculate your employees’ wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions
You’ll need the Government Gateway user ID and password you got when you registered for PAYE online. If you do not finish your claim in one session, you can save a draft. You must complete your claim within seven days of starting it.
Step 6: Reporting employees’ wages to HMRC when you’ve claimed
If you’ve claimed a grant through CJRS, you should check if you need to report payments on the PAYE Real Time Information system, as this will depend on whether you are using the grant to:
Claim a further grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The SEISS currently allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total. Please read our previous article about making a claim on the SEISS.
If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected you must make your claim for the first grant on or before 13th July 2020.
The SEISS scheme is being extended. If you’re eligible for the second and final grant, and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14th July 2020 you’ll be able to make a claim in August 2020. The second grant is also a taxable grant and worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
If you want to claim the first grant you must make your claim on or before 13th July 2020. To claim you’ll need your:
Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility or make your claim
UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted) including:
bank account number
name on the account
your address linked to your bank account
You’ll have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.
How to claim for SEISS
You must make the claim yourself. Your tax agent or adviser must not claim on your behalf as this will trigger a fraud alert, and you will have to contact HMRC. This will cause a significant delay to you receiving your payment.
Important changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
On 29th May the government announced the following important changes to CJRS:
from 1st July, the CJRS will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working. This is known as ‘part-time furloughing’.
from 1st August, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff. The amount of employer contribution will increase in September and October
the scheme will close to new entrants from 30th June. This means that the final date by which an employer needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough is 10th June. Employers will have until 31st July to make any claims in respect of the period 1st March to 30th June.
Further details are provided below.
Part-time or flexible furloughing
From 1st July 2020, businesses using the scheme can decide to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work until 31st August 2020.
Any working hours arrangement agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, they will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
Employers can make claims for longer periods such as monthly or two weekly cycles if preferred. Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.
If employees are unable to return to work, or employers do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and the employer can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.
Employer contribution towards furlough pay
The following changes are being made to the amount of government grant available under CJRS from 1st August 2020. The changes mean a gradual reduction in the amount of government available and an increase in the amount employers must contribute.
June and July – no changes
The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.
The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.
Throughout the above periods, the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours an employee does not work.
Closure of CJRS to new entrants from 30th June
The CJRS will close to new entrants from 30th June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30th June.
So, if you intend to furlough an employee who hasn’t been furloughed before, you will need to agree that with them and start their period of furlough on or before 10th June – this is the last day on which someone who has never been furloughed before can start a period of furlough and qualify for the scheme – this ensures the minimum three-week period is complete by 30th June
You will then have until 31st July to make a claim for any periods of furlough between 1st March and 30th June – this applies to both employees furloughed for the first time and those you have previously furloughed and claimed for under the CJRS.
Eligible self-employed people will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August; this will be a taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits for three months, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.
The eligibility criteria for the second grant will be the same as for the first grant. You do not need to have claimed the first grant to claim the second grant: for example, their business may have been adversely affected by COVID-19 more recently.
Claims for the first SEISS grant, which opened on 13th May, must be made no later than 13th July. Eligible self-employed people must make a claim before that date to receive the first SEISS grant (a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total).
Next steps on SEISS
The government expects to publish detailed guidance to use the revised scheme by 12th June. We will update our online guidance and tools at that time.
HMRC does not allow agents such as Crunch to make an application for SEISS on your behalf. You must apply yourself.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme scheme launched 26th May
The Coronavirus Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses launched on 26th May. The scheme allows employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
There’s further information on eligibility for the SSP rebate scheme and making a claim on the Gov.uk website.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended
The Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended by a further four months to the end of October 2020. The scheme, which opened for claims on the 20th April, will continue unchanged through to the end of July, at which point the Chancellor has said that the scheme will become more flexible. Details are to be announced by the end of May.
The government will cover the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. However, the chancellor also said companies will need to ‘start sharing’ the cost of this from August (more details on this will be published in due course). Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.
Employee’s will still have 80% of their regular wage guaranteed, but the flexibility could include allowing furloughed workers to return to work part-time, whilst expecting employers to share some of the costs of the scheme.
Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund for Scottish residents
The Scottish government has established a ‘Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund’. This is for people who are resident in Scotland and who became self-employed after 6th April 2019. The Fund is not available to anyone living outside of Scotland. Update – The closing date for applications to the fund was 10th July 2020.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is designed to support self-employed individuals. This usually means you operated as a sole trader during your period of eligibility for the scheme. If you were employed by your business, or you’re a limited company director, you may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We have prepared a separate Crunch CJRS guide for employers to assist you if this is the case.
HMRC started contacting people it believes are eligible to use the SEISS from the 4th May 2020. The scheme provides a taxable grant worth 80% of the self-employed individuals’ trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500.
The online service is due to be operational on Wednesday 13th May 2020, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25th May, or six working days after the claim is made.
An online checker is now available which will let taxpayers check their eligibility for themselves, as well as giving them a date on which they can apply. You will need your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) and National Insurance number and should ensure these details are up-to-date in your government gateway account.
Please note, tax agents or advisors such as Crunch cannot make a claim on your behalf. We are preparing a guide to help you understand whether you may be eligible for a payment from the scheme and to help you through the application process based on guidance published by HMRC.
You can claim SEISS grant if you’re a self-employed individual and:
you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus
you traded in the 2018/19 tax year and submitted your Self-Assessment tax return on or before 23rd April 2020 for that year
you traded in the 2019/20 tax year
you intend to continue to trade in the 2020/21 tax year.
If you’re not eligible for support under the SEISS, there may still be other support available to you – you can use the government’s Business Support Finder to check.
On 27th April the Chancellor announced a new Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme. The scheme is targeted at small and medium-sized UK Businesses who have been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme should make it easier for smaller businesses to access a loan of between £2,000 and £50,000 to be paid back over up to six years.
The Government will guarantee 100% of the loans and there are no fees or interest to pay in the first 12 months, with no repayments due in this period. The government has also agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans. The loans should be easier to access for many smaller businesses who were struggling to get a loan under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Businesses will be able to apply online through a short and simple seven-question standardised application form.
The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4th May and the cash should be in business accounts within days of an application being accepted. Businesses will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders. Businesses won’t need to pass any viability tests or eligibility criteria for the finance.
Businesses cannot apply if they are already claiming under CBILS, but up to 4th November 2020 they can transfer CBILS loans of up to £50,000 to this new scheme if they would prefer. If a business was classed as an “undertaking in difficulty” as of 31st December 2019 then they will not be eligible for a Bounce Back Loan.
On 20th April the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened for employers to make claims for their furloughed employees. The scheme can also cover the PAYE salaries of sole directors of limited companies who decide to furlough themselves. We’ve produced a CJRS guide for employers.
The government has also launched an online business coronavirus support finder tool to find all the support available to your business. Answer some questions and the tool provides a summary of all the government support available including links to the relevant websites.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended until at least end of June
The Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended by a month so it will now run from 1st March to at least the end of June 2020.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
“We’ve taken unprecedented action to support jobs and businesses through this period of uncertainty, including the UK-wide Job Retention Scheme. With the extension of the coronavirus lockdown measures yesterday, it is the right decision to extend the furlough scheme for a month to the end of June to provide clarity.”
“It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets up and running again when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to review the scheme so it is supporting our recovery.”
The scheme is due to be launched for online applications on 20th April 2020. Crunch will be publishing a guide on how businesses can access the scheme.
Additional Companies House support for businesses hit by COVID-19
Companies House has announced from 16th April 2020 a temporary pause in the strike-off process to prevent companies being dissolved. Companies House believes this support will give businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak the time they need to update their records and help them avoid being struck off the register. This is in addition to treating appeals from companies issued with a late filing penalty due to COVID-19 sympathetically.
Companies will also temporarily be extended greater flexibilities, including holding AGMs online or postponing the meetings.
As previously announced, Companies can apply for a three-month extension to file their statutory accounts if they are affected by COVID-19. The extension will be automatically and immediately granted. The extension is not available if you have already missed the deadline for filing.
Employee eligibility for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
HMRC has updated its guidance to confirm businesses can claim for employees employed as of 19th March 2020, and who were on a company’s PAYE payroll on or before that date. To qualify, the company must have made an RTI submission notifying HMRC of payments to those employees on or before 19th March 2020.
Businesses can also claim for employees employed between 28th February 2020 and 19th March 2020 who were on the company’s payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28th February) if between 28th February and 19th March 2020 the company:
made them redundant or they stopped working for the company
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – service to be launched on 20th April 2020
The government has announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be ready to launch on 20th April 2020. The government will contact businesses on what they need to do to access the scheme. While further details are awaited, we understand businesses will need the following information about each furloughed employee:
National Insurance number
Salary, National Insurance and pension contribution information that allows businesses to calculate the claim amount.
At the moment, we understand the following:
The scheme is due to go live on 20th April
HMRC expects a high number of requests to be made immediately after 20th April and it may take longer for the first payments to be paid
The online CJRS service is now undergoing beta testing with a group of selected employers
Applicants will access the system using their current government gateway login
Further guidance will be issued by HMRC in the week commencing 13th April explaining on how to use the system
Following the initial backdated claims, claims can be made no more than 14 days before payrolls are run but will be accepted for the different pay periods
Tax agents like Crunch who are authorised to act for PAYE matters will be able to assist with the claims
File-only agents and payroll bureaus will not be able to access the service “due to data protection reasons”.
The government will contact businesses on what they need to do to access the scheme.
The scheme will be self-serve and Crunch will be here to help our clients through the process with our own ‘how to’ guides and advice when HMRC publishes more details.
Saturday 4th April: Support for limited company directors including sole directors of Personal Service Companies
The government announced further details about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) of particular interest to limited company directors, office holders and directors of personal service companies (PSCs). The CJRS is available to salaried company directors and also to salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company. Directors will be able to furlough themselves and claim support through the CJRS.
The guidance also states that “they should not do work of a kind they would carry out in normal circumstances to generate commercial revenue or provide services to or on behalf of their company.” Directors will be able to fulfill their legal duties such as preparing company accounts.
The support is limited to 80% of PAYE salary, there is no financial support for dividends usually taken from the limited company. This is likely to mean that many company directors will face a considerable drop in income if they have to furlough themselves.
Members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP’s) who are salaried are also covered.
The government also announced that the CJRS will offer support to Agency Workers, including those employed through Umbrella Companies.
We are still awaiting details on how a claim can be made – this is expected by the end of April.
Saturday 28th March: Suspension of wrongful trading rules to help companies trade
Business Secretary, Alok Sharma MP, announced changes to the insolvency rules enabling businesses going through a restructure to continue trading and avoid insolvency. The new rules are backdated to 1st March 2020 and means that businesses seeking a rescue package cannot be put into administration by creditors and can continue to trade without the threat of personal liability to company directors.
Thursday 26th: Self-employed to receive support from the government similar to the employee scheme.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a further package of support targeted at the self-employed.
We’ll bring you more detail as it emerges but the highlights were:
Measures expected to support 95% of self-employed people (also partnerships)
A new self-employed taxable grant of up to 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for at least three months
You’ll be able to claim these grants and continue to do business
Trading profits to be averaged over up to last three years
The scheme will be open for at least three months
HMRC will contact eligible businesses
Eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
HMRC have said that to be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:
Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
File a tax return for the 2018/19 tax year as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018/19 will have an additional 4 weeks from 27th March 2020 to do so;
Have traded in the 2019/20 tax year; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21
Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
Your trading profits and total income in the 2018/19 tax year
Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19
The scheme should be set up and making payments by early June 2020, HMRC will make payments directly into bank accounts. This is expected to be a lump sum payment covering the three applicable months.
For those who do not meet the eligibility criteria, there is still support available in the form of Universal Credit and other measures announced previously.
Importantly the scheme does not cover limited company directors who pay themselves through a combination of salary and dividends. The government has said these people may be covered through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Monday 23rd: Stay at Home – more businesses ordered to close
On Monday 23rd March the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced that the government was introducing further restrictions on the movement of people – urging people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes, and away from others, and ordering more businesses to close.
The moves are intended to curb the spread of the COVID-19. All ‘non-essential’ businesses and premises must shut and gatherings of more than two people have been banned. The government has said it will review these measures in three weeks.
The government has announced a new ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, available for at least three months, starting from 1st March 2020. All UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. All UK businesses are eligible.
To be eligible for the support businesses will need to:
have had a PAYE payroll scheme operating on 19th March 2020 (this date was updated from the 28th February 2020 to allow claims to be made for more workers)
designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify each employee about 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 has said it will publish details on the information required in due course).
The government also stated the following:
A ‘furloughed worker’ is one who has been granted leave of absence or laid off for usually a brief or temporary period
Employers can top up salaries if they choose to
The scheme will be open initially for at least 3 months, but the Chancellor said that it would be extended if necessary
The government will cover the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.
As a minimum, employers must pay their employees the lower of 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month. An employer can also choose to top up an employee’s salary beyond this but is not obliged to under this scheme.
HMRC are still working to implement a system for reimbursement. This is expected to happen by the end of April 2020. We’ll publish more details as these become available.
For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible. Helpfully, the deferral is automatic. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment until after 30th June 2020.
Businesses will be given until the end of the 2020/21 tax year (5th April 2021) to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
Until further details of the scheme are published by the government, including a full list of the VAT periods covered, there is no official guidance on how HMRC will manage this, currently, our advice to our customers is:
continue to submit your VAT returns on time – HMRC’s regime for late submission will likely still apply
plan to have sufficient cash available in your business to settle any deferred payments by the end of the tax year (or whichever future date HMRC specifies when the detailed guidance is published)
if you are due a refund, you don’t need to do anything, this should be provided in the normal way
If you pay by direct debit, and you wish to defer your VAT payment, you should cancel your direct debit and reinstate it after 30th June 2020
if you wish to keep paying VAT during the deferral period, it’s likely HMRC will allow you to do so. You can pay using HMRC VAT payment systems
For Income Tax Self Assessment, payments on account due on 31st July 2020 will be deferred until 31st January 2021. The deferral is automatic. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment. No penalties or interest for late payments will be charged in the deferral period.
The deferment is optional. You can still pay your payment on account on 31st July you’re able to do so.
Our advice to our customers is to submit your Self Assessment by the deadline date. If you haven’t yet submitted for the 2018/19 tax year (due on 31st January 2020) you are already incurring fines and penalties – do not let these mount up. Ensure you submit your Self Assessment for the 2019/20 tax year (due on 31st January 2021) in the usual way.
The Government announced it will introduce 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 is as follows:
the refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as at 28th 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 and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
the eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home 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.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
The government announced a new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), delivered by the British Business Bank, launched on 23rd March 2020 to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
The scheme is for businesses with viable borrowing proposals, up to £5 million in value, that the COVID-19 outbreak has ‘interrupted’. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest-free, as the government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments. Businesses are eligible for the scheme if they:
are UK based, with a turnover of no more than £45 million per year
meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.
When the scheme was announced it was not open to businesses who could access loans on commercial terms. However, the government agreed these businesses can access the scheme if they self-certify the impact coronavirus has had on them and they have a viable borrowing proposal. Another change to the scheme means lenders cannot ask directors for personal guarantees on any loans under £250,000. Businesses with loans over £250,000 will have recoveries capped at 20 percent of the outstanding CBILS facility amount.
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. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. You are eligible if your business pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities.
Our advice to any of our costumes who have missed a tax payment, or who believe they are at risk of missing the next payment due to COVID-19, is to call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. If you’re worried about a future payment, call HMRC nearer the time.
If the COVID-19 outbreak has taught us anything, it’s that all those unexpected eventualities which we thought would never happen to us can happen to us after all, and we should all be prepared for any eventuality.
Crunch offers a free Business Continuity Plan template, which you can find out more about in our “Save your bacon with our free business continuity plan template” article.
The government has announced financial measures amounting to £330bn to support businesses through the COVID-19 emergency from 16th March 2020. This is in addition to a package of measures announced in the 11th March 2020 Budget.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the huge package of measures on 17th March 2020 and said that the UK had “never, in peacetime, faced an economic fight like this one” adding that we faced an “economic emergency” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government have already announced support by way of loans, cash grants, business rates holiday and other measures, targeted at the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
Mortgage holiday announced for some homeowners – help for renters and buy-to-let landlords also announced
The government announced a three-month mortgage payment ‘holiday’ to help those in difficulty as a result of COVID-19. Personal credit ratings for delaying payments for up to three months will not be affected. The repayments would still need to be made in the future and interest would still be payable.
On 18th March 2020, the government announced emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place.
No new possession proceedings will commence during the crisis. Landlords will also be protected as the three-month mortgage payment holiday includes Buy to Let mortgages.
Additional measures to support jobs and incomes are expected.
If you qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you have employees, they should be covered by Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). There have been a number of immediate changes to Statutory Sick Pay for coronavirus (COVID-19) self-isolation:
you can now claim SSP from the first day you’re self-isolating and cannot work.
the government will cover the SSP payments of all businesses with under 250 employees for up to 14 days per employee
employees who need to be off work to care for those within the same household who have been told to self-isolate will also be eligible for SSP. In these circumstances, the normal ‘fit’ note will not be required by a GP – there will be a temporary alternative available from NHS111.
The Chancellor announced “quicker and easier” access to Universal Credit for the self-employed and those working in the gig economy, as well as to ‘new style’ ESA. The government will also be temporarily relaxing the requirements of the minimum income floor in Universal Credit for those directly affected or self-isolating according to government advice for the duration of the outbreak.
Government-backed loans for small businesses
The government has also announced a new coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank. The scheme will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest-free, as the government will cover the first six months of interest payments.
Cash grants for small businesses
The government has announced that there will be a £10,000 cash grant to around 700,000 of the UK’s smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. This was initially announced as a £3,000 grant in the Budget, but was increased in the Chancellor’s 17th March announcement.
Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority – they do not need to apply. The funding will be made available to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
Delaying tax bill payments
A dedicated government helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, to receive support with their tax bills.
Through this, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC. During the coronavirus outbreak, the usual 3.5% annual interest on deferred tax payments should be waived. If you’re concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Other measures announced include:
giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
providing a further £25,000 in direct grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000
Ensuring pre-payment and pay-as-you-go customers remain supported with energy through challenging times and supporting all customers in financial distress. An industry-wide agreementwas signed by all UK domestic suppliers and will come into force immediately.
We’ll be keeping this article up to date with new information as it becomes available. You can also follow us on Twitter @TeamCrunch for the latest updates.
Use our Take-Home Pay Calculator to work out your true earnings and see if you could save money with a different company set up.
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