Advice for Businesses
For more information there are three key pages that the government have publicised. See below:
This guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:
- the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
- how to help prevent spread of COVID-19
- what to do if someone has symptoms of COVID-19 has been in business settings
- eligibility for sick pay
This guidance also provides details of support available to businesses including:
- a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax
The government recognises the huge challenges faced by many businesses in light of the Coronavirus epidemic. In both the Budget, and statements by the Chancellor on 17th and 20th March 2020, a set of measures to support businesses have been announced. On 23rd March 2020, the government announced that all non-essential shops should close. The package of measures below will help to support all businesses at this difficult time.
Support to pay employees wages
- For the first time in British history, the government is stepping in to pay people's wages. Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month - above median earnings.
- The scheme is open to any employer in the country, and will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st. There is no limit on the funding for the scheme, and the government will pay to support as many jobs as needed.
- The scheme will open before the end of April, for at least 3 months.
VAT and taxes
- The next quarter VAT payments will be deferred, and no business will pay VAT between now and mid-June. Businesses will have until the end of the next Financial Year to repay those bills.
- All businesses and the self-employed in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through the HMRC's Time To Pay service. We all have to play our part in tackling this virus and slowing the spread. As with any new illness, information about the virus spreads is still emerging, but symptoms of Coronavirus include a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.
Government guaranteed loans
- The government is making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees - equivalent to 15% of our GDP. That means that businesses who need access to cash top pay their rent, salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan, on attractive terms. If demand is greater than the initial £330bn, the Chancellor will go further and provide as much capacity as required.
- These loans will be available through two main schemes, which will be up and running by the start of next week:
- For larger firms, to support liquidity, a new lending facility will be created to provide low cost, easily accessible commercial paper.
- To support lending to Small and Medium Sized businesses, the new Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be extended, providing loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first twelve months.
In the coming days, a potential support package for airlines and airports will be discussed.
Insurance, business rate relief and cash grants
- For pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues which have a policy that covers pandemics, the government's closure action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy.
- For businesses which don't have insurance, those with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business to bridge through this period.
- All businesses in these sectors, in addition to private nurseries, will pay no business rates this year regardless of their rateable value.
- The government will provide an additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates, because of Small Business Rate Relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 businesses who currently receive Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their business costs. Local authorities will be fully compensated for these measures.
Statutory Sick Pay
- The government will legislate to allow small and medium-sized businesses (SME's) to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to Coronavirus for up to two weeks.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
Who can apply
You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- traded in the tax year 2019-20
- are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
- intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
- have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:
- having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
- having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period
If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.
HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.
How much you’ll get
You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable):
- 2016 to 2017
- 2017 to 2018
- 2018 to 2019
To work out the average HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.
It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.
We’ll pay the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment.
How to apply
You cannot apply for this scheme yet.
HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.
Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.
You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.
After you’ve applied
Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, we will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.
If you claim tax credits you’ll need to include the grant in your claim as income.
Other help you can get
The government is also providing the following additional help for the self-employed:
- deferral of Self Assessment income tax payments due in July 2020 and VAT payments due from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020
- grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
- increased amounts of Universal Credit
- Business Interruption Loan Scheme
If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.
For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
14.04.20 - Updates
Please see the below sites for updates information.