With the recent COVID-19 outbreak and its subsequent economic impact, the UK government has issued a number of measures to support affected businesses. Read more about the different financial measures taken by the government below. The government has also launced a new central website for businesses impacted by COVID-19 to help them find the right support and advice they need.

The information displayed is correct as of 23rd March 2020 and will be updated periodically.

 

Deferral of VAT and Income Tax payments

The government has announced VAT payments have been deferred for 3 months (20th March – 30th June). This is estimated to inject £30bn back into UK businesses.

All UK businesses are eligible to defer their next VAT payment. For support with PAYE & Corporation Tax payments, you must still contact HMRC. Please ask your main contact at Goodwille to handle this for you if required.

No applications are required for the deferral of the VAT payments. Where Goodwille handle your VAT returns we will automatically apply this. If you are handling your own VAT returns to HMRC, please note the change. VAT refunds & claims will be paid as normal by the government.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 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.

This is open to all UK businesses, and the employee must be on the PAYE scheme. The employee must remain employed by the company, but not undertaking any work.

We have written a separate article, which will give you more detailed guidance on the scheme and how you can submit a claim. Please see it here.

HMRC’s Time To Pay service

All businesses and self-employed individuals who are struggling to pay their PAYEVAT or Corporation Tax due to COVID-19, may be able to receive support via the HMRC ‘Time-To-Pay’ Scheme.

You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

However, note that there are currently no general guidelines for this scheme, but instead, the need for support will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will be tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you feel you cannot pay your tax bill due to COVID-19, please request that your Goodwille contact calls HMRC as soon as possible.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Scheme

SMEs with up to 250 employees will be subject to a Statutory Sick Pay relief for absence due to COVID-19, meaning they are able to reclaim sick pay for up to 2 weeks per employee. Worth to mention is that SSP will be paid day 1 of those affected by Coronavirus, rather than day 4.

All employers based in the UK and who have fewer than 250 employees (as of 28 February 2020).

If your employee has COVID-19 or is advised to stay at home, they can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’).

The rebate scheme is being developed and we will update this section once the legalisation has passed. For now, please notify our Payroll Manager if you think this applies to any of your employees.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Government has announced a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England. For additional support, please see the next section about available grants.

 

All businesses in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector, and based in England, are eligible for this scheme.

Properties that benefit from the scheme include those that are wholly or mainly used as:

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

All businesses in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector, and based in England, will automatically qualify and do not need to take any action themselves. If your business has already received a bill showing a value, this will be reissued automatically by the local authorities. They will do this as soon as possible.

 

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

For businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, will receive a grant of £10,000 per property.

For businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

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

Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant, you do not need to do anything. All communication should go through your local authority.

Small Business Grant Scheme funding

For those businesses who are already eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), there will be a new support scheme offering grants of £10,000 to cope with costs.

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

You do not need to do anything. Guidance and funding for the schemes will be available to local authorities shortly who will contact businesses who are eligible.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

In order to ensure continuous financing support for SMEs during critical times, the British Business bank have guaranteed an 80% payback to lenders of SMEs financially affected by the outbreak. The government will also cover interest rates and any lender-levied fees for the first 12 months so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

Various type of business financial facilities are supported under the CBILS scheme, including:

  • Term loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Asset finance
  • Invoice finance

 The scheme is available through more than 40 accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website.

This scheme will help any viable business with turnover of no more than £45 million per year.

For detailed eligbility criteria:

CBILS is available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders – see the full list here.

Businesses should first approach their own provider (preferably via the lender’s website) but may consider approaching other lenders as well if they are not able to acceess the finance they need.  For more information on how to access the scheme,  please visit the Brisith Business Bank’s website.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

HM Treasury and the Bank of England will launch a Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) to provide additional help to businesses who experience disruptions to their cash flows as a result of COVID-19. The CCFF will provide funding to businesses by purchasing commercial paper of up to one-year maturity, issued by firms making a material contribution to the UK economy. It will help businesses across a range of sectors to pay salaries, rents and suppliers.

The scheme will be operated by the Bank and will run for an initial period of 12 months. The bank will provide 6 month’s notice before terminating the facility.

All UK non-financial businesses that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible.

For further details on how to access the scheme, including application forms, please see the Bank’s website.

How We Can Help 

At Goodwille, we will keep monitoring the current situation and governmental advice regarding COVID-19, regularly updating this post. Once additional information is announced regarding how and when to apply for the grants and reliefs as described above, we will make sure to keep you updated, and support you throughout the application process.

We encourage our clients, as well as other businesses, to get in touch with our team in case you have any questions or concerns regarding your UK operations and the implications of COVID-19.