Coronavirus Business Briefing
20 March 2020
Whilst businesses are adapting to the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Government have announced a number of measures which have been put in place to provide support to businesses at this time.
The main measures introduced are:
1. Income tax, corporation tax, PAYE, VAT payments – more time to pay
Support is available for any self-employed people or businesses struggling to pay their tax at this time. If you are having difficulty making tax payments you should call the HMRC Time To Pay Service to discuss your circumstances and agree a payment plan with them.
The helpline telephone number is: 0800 0159 559.
We would advise that you make sure you have your unique tax payer reference (UTR), company tax reference, VAT registration number, accounts office and employer PAYE reference on hand when you make the call as HMRC will ask for this information.
2. Reclaiming sick pay for absences due to COVID-19
Small and medium sized businesses (defined as employers with fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020) will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absences up to 2 weeks due to COVID-19. This will be available where employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or where employees are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice.
The self-employed can claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance if they have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to Government advice.
3. Support for businesses that qualify for Small Business Rate Relief
Businesses that currently qualify for small business rate relief will be eligible for a one off grant of £10,000 to meet ongoing costs, your local authority will contact you if you qualify for this – there is no need to apply for it.
4. Support for businesses that pay business rates
A business rates holiday is to be introduced for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
In addition to this a £25,000 grant will be provided to some retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This is for businesses operating from premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
You should contact your local authority for further details on this. Local authorities should have received guidance from the Government on this by 20 March 2020.
5. Supporting businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The British Business Bank will next week launch the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This will allow access to loans and overdrafts. The scheme is open to SMEs and the Government will guarantee 80% of each loan. Loans of up to £5 million in value will be available. The first 6 months of the finance will be interest free.
The Government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that businesses with cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered.
You should check with your insurance provider what your policy will cover.
We expect that as this is an unprecedented situation other measures may in due course be introduced. For further guidance, please see the Government website which we assume will be updated as necessary if additional support is made available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-that-pay-business-rates
As announced in the Budget, the Employment Allowance (available to employers whose National Insurance contributions liability in the previous tax year was under £100,000) maximum will increase from £3,000 to £4,000 from April 2020 meaning that eligible businesses and charities will be able to claim a greater reduction on their Secondary Class 1 National Insurance contributions liability.
Published courtesy of Haines Watts