Over the last few days, the Government has announced a series of measures to support businesses manage their operations and trading during this public health emergency.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sectors - Business Rates Holiday

  • Every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, will not have to pay business rates for 12 months.
  • Local authorities will re issue your bill automatically to exclude the business rates charge

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sectors - Cash Grants

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

Eligibility - You are eligible for the grant if:

  • Your business is based in England
  • Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • As shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • For assembly and leisure
  • As hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.


Cash Grants - For Businesses That Pay Little or No Business Rates

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Eligibility - You are eligible if:

  • Your business is based in England
  • You are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR
  • You are a business that occupies property

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.


Government Loans

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years.

The Government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

Eligibility - You are eligible if:

How to access the scheme

You should apply via your lender’s website or through one of the 40 accredited finance providers offering the scheme (and not the British Business Bank). Please note that branches may currently be shut down to enable social distancing.

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website.

When can I access the scheme?

The scheme is now open for applications. All major banks are offering this scheme


CoronaVirus Job Retention Scheme - All UK Businesses

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage.

This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st if applicable and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary

How to access the scheme

You will need to:

  • 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.
  • Once the new online portal is live, submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings.
  • HMRC are working urgently to set up a system to pay these grants. We expect the first grants to be paid within weeks - HMRC are aiming to get it done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Please see guidance from The Chartered Institute of Accountants In England and Wales (as at 26th March 2020): https://www.icaew.com/insights/viewpoints-on-the-news/2020/mar-2020/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-furlough-guidance

Please see attached guidance notes on the Job Retention Scheme from Peninsula https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.com - Please contact Owen Clarke for further guidance / advice - Owen.Clark@peninsula-uk.com / 07966 112073.


Self Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Eligibility - 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 2018-19 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 this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; 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 to 2021
  • 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 2018/19
  • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.
  • How to access the scheme
  • Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
  • HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020.
  • For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

When can I access the scheme?

HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still be eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans.


VAT Deferral

The government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months -The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020

How to access the scheme

  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required. UK registered Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
  • Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.

HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

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 Scheme. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 024 1222

For more information on late payments, check with HMRC

If you’re worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time.


Statutory Sick Pay Relief Package For SMEs

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 coronavirus.This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus

The eligibility criteria can be found on the Government’s support for businesses website - https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay


Deferral of Self Assessment Payment

The Self- Assessment payment on account, that is ordinarily due to be paid to HMRC by 31 July 2020 may now be deferred until January 2021.

Eligibility

If you are due to make a self- assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 then you are eligible for the deferment. The deferment is intended to assist self-assessment taxpayers, including those who are self-employed, who are suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus.

The deferment is optional and anyone still able to pay their second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 should still do so.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 payment on account until January 2021. HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of coronavirus and have outstanding tax liabilities.

When can I access it? On 31 July 2020 when your self-assessment payment on account, ordinarily due to be paid on that date, may be deferred until 31 January 2021.